Madam Speaker, delegates, and APTA members, I am grateful for this opportunity to address you tonight in these unprecedented times. The presidential address and the House of Delegates are longstanding rituals in our association’s history, but never have we conducted them like this.
I am delivering this address from our media center at LSU Health-Shreveport to the sound of silence. You are receiving this address wherever you are — spread across the country and time zones, staring into your computer in a quiet workspace, or just as likely from the kitchen table of a hectic home, surrounded by family members doing the same thing we’re all doing right now: adapting to our unusual new normal.
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in America was reported on January 21. Less than two months later, there were confirmed cases in all 50 states, President Trump declared a national emergency, large public gatherings were canceled, schools were closed, and Americans were instructed to stay at home in most instances.