He starts the nightly countdown at 258 … 257 … 256 … 255, and so on.

“I never get to 220 before I’m out,” Brad Myers, R’86, said. “Sleeping, thank goodness, is not my problem. Although I recently had a dream that I was dreaming about work, so that should tell you something.”

As director of communication services for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and co-lead of the Joint Information Center for the 2019-nCoV Response, Myers’ work has been all-consuming in recent months. It’s a challenge that three decades at the CDC has prepared him for.

“While COVID-19 is, undoubtedly, the most disruptive event any of us will face, we and the scientific community have been here before, and there is both hope and practical, achievable steps we can take to reduce its burden on us,” Myers said. “What’s very different this time is that there is an awful lot of misinformation and misdirection out there. This is a time to embrace, not distrust science.”

In both his professional and personal life, Myers deals with some version of the same questions every day. “When will this be over? (Not soon). Do I really need to wear a mask everywhere; I hate it (I know it’s a bother, but they work). Are you going to get the vaccine? (Yes).”

“We don’t need to live in fear, but we can’t be careless either,” he said. “Don’t try to guess where the virus is and is not. It’s lurking everywhere. Protect yourself. Protect each other. Don’t let up. Wear a mask — if not for yourself, for those that you care about, for your community, for the concerts and family reunions you miss, for Spider basketball games, and for our country.”

And the big question — “Will things ever get back to normal?”

Myers is unwavering.

“It will. I promise.”