Dr. Mukkamala looks back on ‘opportunity to be useful’ during year of COVID-19

He’s not only keeping the community safe, the Flint doctor is also helping them stay calm and informed.
Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 5:51 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (3/12/2021) - He’s been a steady voice of wisdom throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for so many in Mid-Michigan. This time one year ago, Dr. Bobby Mukkamala immediately went to work and has not stopped.

He’s not only keeping the community safe, the Flint doctor is also helping them stay calm and informed.

Dr. Mukkamala spoke one-on-one with ABC12 to reflect on this extraordinary year and the role he’s been grateful to play.

“I was maybe a glass half full sort of perspective, a year ago, thinking that well, you know, we’ll see,” Dr. Mukkamala laughed.

He now says he was “foolishly optimistic” about how the coronavirus pandemic would pan out. But, that optimism has pushed him through this last year.

The ear, nose and throat doctor in Flint slowed down his practice last March to focus on how he could help in the moment.

Worried about the low supply of face masks, Dr. Mukkamala started making them.

“So I had about twenty 3D printers going on inside the house,” he explained. “And my son, who’s a bioengineering student at the University of Michigan, we started cranking out masks. Gave one to a neighbor’s kid over here.”

And then he said, his driveway became filled with people in need. They sent several masks to area hospitals and even shipped hundreds across the country.

That entire time, Dr. Mukkamala was still performing necessary surgeries at the hospital.

And as President of the Michigan State Medical Society, he also guided the Governor’s Office, lawmakers and physicians statewide.

With the little free time he had, Dr. Mukkamala volunteered at COVID-19 test sites. In recent months, that’s turned into vaccinating the community.

“Luckily for me, there was an opportunity to be useful and fill that void,” he said. “Otherwise I don’t think I would be as balanced and as happy as I am now, having gone through that.”

For those who haven’t come across Dr. Mukkamala in-person yet, you have likely read one of his data-driven Facebook posts. It’s an added effort he said to stop the spread of misinformation surrounding COVID-19.

Responding to comments and questions on social media and the texts or calls Dr. Mukkamala said he receives about every 5 or 10 minutes throughout the day, frequently keeps him up until 3 or 4 a.m.

“It’s a pleasant sort of fatigue,” he shared. “In that it’s fatigue from being useful.”

Useful is how Dr. Mukkamala sees himself. The humble guy, like many of our healthcare workers, believes he’s simply doing his job.

“Everybody has contributed,” he said. “And so, I guess I don’t feel like I’ve done anything that anybody else hasn’t done, or gone through anything that anyone else hasn’t experienced.”

And make no mistake, Dr. Mukkamala does not believe the pandemic is over just yet. But he’s remaining optimistic we’re on the right path to get to the end soon.

He’s asking everyone to continue practicing the proper safety measures and get in line to receive the vaccine when it’s your turn.

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