Is the Ceiling Caving In or Is the Sky Falling?

 

My natural state is a sluggish ball of anxiety, but I’m not someone prone to panic. Definitely not for medical related issues. But at this moment? Yeah, I’m…not panicking, but I am worried. And pissed off.

Yup, I’m talking about coronavirus, covid-19.

It isn’t ebola, but it is a big deal. A very big deal, for all of us. For some of us, the big deal will be in the form of disruption to daily life, economic repercussions, which are important. Not just vague ideas of stock market losses (I’d be the least qualified to even offer an opinion on the stock market). Lots and lots of us live on the financial edge. And if, like me and mine, you’ve already taken a financial hit this year because of medical mayhem or anything else, you can’t afford another. And for some of us, it’s a very big deal for health reasons, either for us individually or for loved ones who are vulnerable.

I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff, watching the spread of this virus over the last weeks, but still, the ground under me felt pretty stable. Be careful, do what’s within your control (have whatever supplies you can that you’d absolutely need in the house, wash your hands until they’re cracked and bleeding, etc). Yesterday, though, well. I am appalled at the number of comments I saw blowing this off, saying it’s no big deal, and who some of those comments were/are coming from. I mean sure, the red hat wearing folks who swallow whatever snake oil being sold by nutty televangelists and our vile, inept administration. Why would they believe in a highly communicable virus? A percentage of them believe the earth is flat. But I definitely wasn’t only seeing lol, look at the libs panic posts from that quadrant. I saw comments of this nature from people I generally respect as practical, thinking, caring human beings.

For most who contract this virus, it won’t be a big deal. No symptoms, mild symptoms, sick and miserable for a week or two and then all better. For anyone who is vulnerable, ie: seniors and or people with underlying health issues, it’s a very, very big deal. The truth is regular flu is a big deal for people who are immunocompromised. But the regular flu has a vaccine that many take, our systems are prepared for it, and it’s less communicable. I have three immunocompromised people in my immediate world. As in, living with me and/or I feed them, people who can’t just put off their annual checkup until this all gets under control, because they have to get to (and I take them to) multiple  ologist offices (usually in hospitals) and labs every week. And when you live in a city– like oh, say, New York–you can’t avoid crowds as long as life is still happening. Social distance of 6 feet? Hahahahahaha! Any of my readers ever been on the subway here? The bus? A doctor’s office? A grocery store? A freaking elevator?

Nerd Child is in his senior year of college. Last night I received notice the school will basically be shutting down until who knows when. They explained their reasoning, and it’s frustrating and in some ways infuriating, but above all it’s fucking terrifying. His school is one of many finding themselves in this position. Does anyone think these fancy shmancy private colleges and universities would be shutting doors, switching to remote classes if there wasn’t such a good, science based reason it overrode both their mission and financial interests?

Italy is closed, for all intents and purposes. Closed. An entire, democratic, modern, western country. Closed. No travel in, out, around. My understanding from people there who live in northern Italy (people I know irl, not tweets from who knows who) are telling us they’re running out of hospital beds, ICUs are over capacity, the system has been overwhelmed. This isn’t some super secret insider info I’m getting. Read the papers, watch the news, listen to the damned scientists. Forget Ireland, Boston canceled its Saint Patricks Day parade (if you aren’t familiar with the demographics, this action would have been unimaginable up until two days ago).

But here? Once again, American exceptionalism overrides logic for too many. Ever been to an ER here during regular flu season? Overflowing, literally. More than once, twice, three times, I’ve been in various city ERs with a loved one for days, waiting for a bed. The extra fun part of this is that you’ve technically been admitted, so the ER staff is no longer responsible for the patient (keep in mind the ER staff is already overloaded with patients who are their responsibility), but you’re physically in the ER, so the staff that is? Not physically there on a regular basis. So sick enough to be admitted, yet treatment and attention is less than minimal.

Ever have someone you care about on a ventilator? It’s frightening. Scary to see, scary to think about the need for it, scary to think about what that machine is actually doing to keep your loved one alive, and then more frightening still every day they’re on it, because the longer someone is on a vent, the more difficult it is to get them off of it. You know what’s downright terrifying? The possibility of someone you care about needing to be on a vent and there are none available. Now multiply that one person by many.

Covid-19 is worldwide now. Even our lying American government admitted yesterday we are past the point of being able to contain this, it’s become about mitigation efforts, trying not to overwhelm our healthcare system with too many getting sick at once. America has 330 million people. Not everyone will get sick, and of those that do, again, for most it won’t be a big scary deal. That still leaves thousands, tens of thousands, maybe more, getting very, very sick, some fatally. Diabetes is a risk factor. Last I saw, there were something like 30 million people with diabetes in the US. Heart disease is a risk factor. 120 million people in this country with some form of heart disease. Being a senior citizen is a risk. 47 million seniors. Asthma. 25 million. Autoimmune Disease. 20 million. Cancer. About 600,000 people receive chemo each year. The umbrella of rare diseases and disorders. 25 million. Again, not every senior and/or person with underlying conditions will get Covid-19, and of those that do, not all will become need-a-hospital sick. And you can’t just add these numbers, many who have one risk factor are in several groups. But that still leaves us looking at a very large number, with finite, limited resources.

Because guess what? While this coronavirus is spreading, people will still get sick with cancer, pneumonia not caused by this particular virus, the flu, have heart attacks, strokes, need pacemakers, need new heart valves, develop pancreatitis, need amputations because of diabetes, have serious accidents, have babies, all the million and one things that land people in the hospital, requiring emergency treatment and admission on any given day.

There are fewer than 1 million hospital beds in the US. There are 62,000 ventilators. I’m no math wizard but…

Our government, here in the US, has not done us any favors by fudging the numbers by not testing, being slow to develop tests, and focusing solely on the economics (and here, mostly for the corporations and wealthy, this administration couldn’t be more clear they don’t give a shit about the dish washer in back of your local diner who doesn’t have sick days, health insurance, and will be afraid to go to the hospital and find themselves in the custody of ICE) and not the health and human factors. Hell, we have elected officials who were making jokes and blowing this off who are now self-quarantined.

You can tell me not to panic, and you’d be right. Panic helps no one and nothing, and much of this is out of our control. Scientists are doing their thing, working on developing a vaccine, and it will take time. Time and a toll on many.

But don’t you dare fucking tell me it’s no big deal.

 

 

8 comments

  1. COVID-19 is a very, very big deal. If R’s scheduled epilepsy monitoring weren’t so important, we would not be going anywhere near a hospital, unless we absolutely had to. Spring has sprung early in the PNW, so tree pollen is hitting us hard, and everybody is sniffling and coughing. I just keep reminding myself that people have allergies, and to stand back as far as I can from them. Then I get in my car, use a gallon of hand sanitizer, and wash up to my elbows when I get home. :/

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    1. I get it, and yes, it’s a big deal. We have appointments that cannot be avoided, nothing to be done, and the girl just had to increase her immunosuppressants. The economics also will be felt by all of us. Wishing you and yours health and peace for the admission and the coming days. ❤

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  2. My absolute zero confidence in the current administration to handle this crisis only adds to the stress. I tend not to be a panicky type of person, but I do believe in science. At this point, my husband and I are fully prepared to self-isolate as we take care of his 91-year-old mother with many health issues. If she contracts COVID-19, she probably won’t survive. We’ve stocked up on groceries and will ride things out as long as we can. We’re looking at cancelling her next appointment. We’ll see.

    On a side note: We live near the community of Loma Linda, CA, which is one of the five global Blue Zones for longevity. The population is filled with nonagenarians and those over 100. I’ve wondered what they will do if COVID 19 hits there–it could be devastating.

    People who aren’t taking this seriously are putting the rest of us at risk.

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    1. YES! to the zero confidence in this administration. The fact that they’ve muzzled the CDC is beyond nightmare. I’m going over what I’ve stocked up on now, just called in the pharmacy scripts I’ve been waiting to refill until insurance will pay (don’t get me started on people blandly and blindly saying “just stock up on any prescriptions” obviously people who never have to fill more than an occasional antibiotic).
      I hope you and yours stay safe, as well as the people of Loma Linda–what a disaster that would be, on so many, many levels.

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  3. We are fortunate that MIL’s Medicare pretty much covers her prescriptions. We have to pick up her testing supplies today (thank you for the reminder). I put some thought into shelf-stable kinds of things. I grew up in a household where we bought what we needed for the week, so I’m not used to having to think far ahead.

    We’re stocked up on lentils, peas, beans, bullion, dollar spices we might run out of, canned tomatoes, a kielbasa for flavoring, chicken thighs for the freezer, pasta. I also bought some almond milk, since it has a much farther out expiration date. If things don’t go awry, it’s all stuff we can use anyway.

    I hope you and yours stay safe and well, too. And peace as much as possible. ❤

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    1. Medicare is great for that, covers MIL, but Husband and Art Child, a whole other story.
      Honestly it’s rare I shop for a week. NY, we shop for a couple of days at a time, if for no other reason than lack of storage and eight zillion stores right outside our buildings. I’ve stocked up on some stuff, hallway now close to impassable with a week and a half’s worth of TP, lol.

      Peace and health to you and yours,

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  4. Yes it is a big deal and we should be worried but not not overly worried take precautions not to expose ourselves to sick people but not go nuts having 6 months of toilet paper isn’t going to protect us

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