How many Coronavirus memes have you posted in the past month? Come on now–be honest. I’ll admit it. I did share a video from a Memphis news source that showed a frightened citizen sporting a homemade hazmat suit that was pretty hysterical. We’re talking Dollar Store bags tied on her shoes, a yellow raincoat with a hood, hospital gloves probably snatched from the doctor’s office, and a face mask that totally left her nose exposed, as it was applied to only cover her mouth. It was a train wreck and did temporarily lighten the heaviness of a subject that has the whole world in a tizz right now.
So regardless of your stance on America’s response to the latest pandemic scare, it definitely has everyone talking with one common denominator. FEAR.
What?! You say. I’m not the one who’s afraid! It’s Susie Q. She’s always been a drama queen and is scared of her own shadow. She’s already cancelled her trip to California this summer and is buying the local Food Giant out of water and toilet paper! Doesn’t she know we only have a few cases of that God-awful disease in our state? Talk about overreacting! She probably bathes in Purell. Pop a xanax already and chill the heck out! Good grief!
Susie Q. perceives your response as nonchalant and rebellious towards a disease that is shutting down entire countries, killing thousands, and highly contagious. She thinks you, Jim Bob, are SO afraid that the government is going to cramp your lifestyle and pull off the biggest “hoax” in history that you don’t give two sh*ts about anyone but yourself. You and your freaking conspiracy theories! You better wake up before you end up dead! And don’t be coming trying to bumm some t.p. off this overreacting friend ’cause it ain’t happening. You keep your dirty lil’ paws over there ’cause I don’t want no part of your contagious self!
So admit it. You can probably relate to identifying with either Jim Bob or Susie Q. Either way, though, who’s right and who’s wrong?
That’s what makes Coronavirus the novel disease that it currently is. The uncertainty. All of those question marks that come with the virus, which has left China and Italy as one big petri dish. The world has been watching like a reality TV show gone bad. Some of us are catching every episode on repeat and others of us are only catching the episodes’ headlines and not grasping the overall plot of the show.
Here’s the thing. I’m not an immunologist or infectious disease physician or working for the CDC. I am a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree and a background in public health. I’m a nurse who was hauling H1N1 vaccines all around Christian County at the peak of the scare to give one to any healthcare provider who would take one. I don’t claim to be an expert but I have a general understanding of disease processes, contagion, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and the risk that a pandemic especially places on those who are medically fragile and immunocompromised.
I am not here to chastise anyone for being more concerned about how the Coronavirus may upset their daily routine versus attempting to prevent its spread, but I am concerned when I hear people blow it off as nothing more than a cold or a typical flu. We should be alarmed. I’m not talking go live in a bunker for the next year while you wait this thing out, but please listen to the experts because I’m 100% confident that they know more than you and I. And I’m sorry, I’ll just say it. I don’t consider Dr. Drew “the sex expert” the leading guy in his field to be taking advice from. If you have penile or vaginal discharge, absolutely but otherwise, keep moving right along.
We need to be listening to those on the front lines who are going through it, have studied it (and no, your Google search doesn’t count), and are responding to it firsthand. Their stories are the ones that hold value because they’ve actually seen what a slow response can transform into, and it ain’t pretty folks.
Sana Sales from Bergamo, Italy posted on Facebook:
“I am writing to you from Bergamo, Italy, at the heart of the coronavirus crisis. The news media in the US has not captured the severity of what is happening here. I am writing this post because of each of you, today, not the government, not the school district, not the mayor, each individual citizen has the chance, today to take actions that will deter the Italian situation from becoming your own country’s reality. The only way to stop this virus is to limit contagion. And the only way to limit contagion is for millions of people to change their behavior today.”
She went on to say that people who have been getting really sick there often need weeks of ICU and that ICUs are at past compacity in Lombardy. There aren’t enough rooms to house the severely ill and that one doctor there reported they are beginning to have to decide who lives and who dies when patients flock to the emergency room.
She reports many healthcare workers are falling ill with Coronavirus. The ones left are working without ceasing for days on end, which they won’t be able to continue long-term. It’s also now affecting younger adults more aggressively, causing them to need hospitalization.
It’s no joke, guys. From here in the states, a gentleman in Georgia was ill for weeks and never tested for Coronavirus. He said he felt that the hospital sent him home to die because his symptoms were worsening each day. He went back to the hospital again and they discovered he contracted the disease while singing in his church choir. He is severely ill and is under 60 years old with a long road ahead of him. On another note, a priest from D.C. served communion to hundreds of parishioners recently. He’s found out he has Coronavirus. See the ripple effect?
When Governor Brashears asked churches not to have services, it’s not because he’s a Democrat and the anti-Christian like some would like to believe. It’s church–people hugging, shaking hands, communion, close proximity of a large group of people. It’s being proactive to protect people, especially when most services can be streamed online to watch from home.
Colleges and universities closing is not an overreaction. They would have to have a plan in place on how to deal with a campus full of sick students and have the resources to have them quarantined on their watch and their care, not to mention the students who could potentially die. Why would they continue classes under those circumstances when most have the technology to allow students to do coursework online?
SEC tournaments, concerts, conventions, cruises, international travel–I get it. It sucks for many people. It’s disappointing, but that’s life. Remember the ice storm of 2011 in Western Kentucky? It was an inconvenience but we got through it. It’s the same with the CDC’s and government’s guidelines. We will get through those too; because if we don’t, we may be the next China or Italy.
The long and short of it for me is this–it sucks but it’s our reality. When can follow the recommendations and guidelines of the true experts or go rogue and make matters ten times worse than they have to be here.
I have a 72 year old mother with Pulmonary Fibrosis who can’t get Coronavirus without severe consequences. I have a 40 year old friend who has recently had open heart surgery, and is now recovering from another surgery to remove a kidney and a cancerous tumor. She can’t get Coronavirus. I have to take an immunosuppressant medication for my autoimmune illnesses. It puts me at risk too. There are millions of people that fall in this category; and undoubtedly we all have people we know we know and love that are at risk.
Unlike flu, there is no antiviral treatment for Coronavirus.
People can be contagious without having any symptoms for up to two weeks.
There is no vaccine available to prevent the illness or lessen the severity of it at this point.
A major complication that can happen with patients with Coronavirus is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. It is very serious and usually requires intubation and going on a ventilator, for sometimes weeks on end.
There are a limited number of ventilators in our country.
There are a limited number of ICU beds in our country.
The percentage of death for patients with Coronavirus far exceeds that of influenza.
If we continue to live our lives without making some changes RIGHT NOW, we could be the next Italy or China.
FACT: We can listen to what our friends in China and Italy are trying to tell us so that we can learn from their countries’ mistakes and be informed on what they did right. All that takes is a Google search bar.
I hate to write a more serious post but it was on my heart, as I’m concerned about everyone’s safety and well-being. At this point, to all the naysayers, we get it. You’re brave and cool as a cucumber, which is great; but please take the guidelines and recommendations seriously. It’s not a hoax. It’s not a joke, and more lives will be lost. Even if you’re not worried about yourself, please be considerate of those who are at high risk from complications and death from Coronavirus. It’s every bit as important as getting your child routine vaccinations. Since we don’t currently have a vaccine, reducing exposure and good handwashing are the next best thing. And please, PLEASE use good judgement and keep your children and self home if you or your family is sick.
Till next time! xo, Christy