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Dr. Rebecca Hicks Says Oregon 20-Somethings Have to Stop Partying so Children Can Return to School

Oregon doctors seek a full-court press against the virus. They want Gov. Kate Brown to follow the same strategy she’s used to control COVID’s spread but intensify it.

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

Amid a pandemic that shows no signs of ending, Dr. Rebecca Hicks has reached an inescapable conclusion: In order for Oregon children to return to school, Oregon 20-somethings must stop going to bars.

Hicks, a Bend pediatrician, is one of 150 physicians who are also mothers who signed an open letter to Gov. Kate Brown last week. The headline-making demand in the letter was for Brown to prioritize education over business, and reshutter bars and restaurant dining rooms until COVID-19 case counts dwindle enough to allow children to return to classrooms.

But Hicks notes that the letter asked for more than closures: The doctors seek a full-court press against the virus. They want Brown to follow the same strategy she's used to control COVID's spread but intensify it. That means more testing, more contact tracers, and a more aggressive public outreach campaign.

It's that last part that Hicks feels is especially urgent. The novel coronavirus is being spread mostly by people in their 20s who continue to hold parties and hit bars. In an interview with WW News Editor Aaron Mesh, Hicks explains what messages might get young people to stay home long enough to let the next generation go to school.