To the Editor:
I have been a physician in Bristol for over 35 years and it continues to be a pleasure to serve the community and be the beneficiary of living in a town where we care for each other.
I currently provide for the patients at the Community Health Center on North Main Street. There I have had a front row seat to the devastation to our community’s physical and mental health and its economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the past 30 years I have also been a university professor, teaching courses in evidence based medicine. In that role I teach future doctors how to access and critically assess scientific literature. For any that believe that Covid is not real, that masks don’t work and that the vaccine is deadlier than the disease, you are wrong. The literature is clear. I do not know when we will be able to declare victory in the war against such a deadly and very invisible enemy but it does seem there is reason for optimism.
In a war anything can happen and the tides can change quickly, especially if we let our guard down and act like we have already won. The path to successfully beating this enemy rests squarely on making sure everyone is united in the common cause. Achieving that goal rest squarely on leadership.
Here in Bristol we have reason to be more optimistic. Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu has demonstrated outstanding leadership during this pandemic. She has brought together state, city and community resources in a unified strategy to test, vaccinate and protect our citizens and neighbors. By making sure that our city Health Department, Board of Education, Bristol Housing Authority, Bristol Hospital, Bristol HealthCare, Community Health Center, Wheeler Clinic, the faith community, the Senior Community Center and many other agencies, community groups and health care providers were effectively communicating, coordinating and sharing resources, Mayor Zoppo-Sassu has made Bristol a state leader in the response to Covid-19 and a safer place for all of us.
Through Ellen’s continued efforts and the hard work of our current city council we will come out of this pandemic a stronger city. The thoughtful and dynamic leadership by our mayor will continue to serve Bristol well in public safety, economic development, education and a better quality of life for us all.
Dr. Richard P. Saporito