Many of you have probably seen the graphic below that has become second nature when talking about all the quarantines and school closures along with bans on public gatherings. I want to explain what it means, but first a little mea culpa.
I penned a blog in February downplaying the significance of a new variant coronavirus called COVID-19. But I also ended the blot with these two sentences:
“We have not quarantined Americans since the early 1960s for then smallpox out breaks.
What does the CDC know that they are not sharing?”
What CDC knew, that I did not, was that Iran, Italy and South Korea were being inundated with wide spread coronavirus, or COVID-19. Hospitals in those countries, along with China, were flooded with the virus’ victims and unable to care for the daily medical illnesses that don’t take a break during a pandemic.
They have even shut down restaurants and grocery stores, and their hospitals have no respirators available to keep people suffering from other pulmonary illnesses alive.
What we are experiencing with all the closures being called for by government officials is an attempt to slow the spread, to flatten the curve.
What we will probably not see is a decrease in actual number of victims but will see their diagnosis spread out over a longer period of time.
That means if you get sick with COVID-19 you might be cared for in a hospital’s ICU instead of a tent out in the parking lot.
What that also means is that if you are in a car wreck and collapse a lung, there might be a ventilator available to save your life.
There is a lot of misinformation out there, and I was a part of it. There are also a lot of unknowns, like how long will this last?
My state’s governor announced all ski resorts had to shut down and that “will save thousands of lives.” I doubt that but it might have helped flatten the curve.
Our President said it is all some other country’s fault and we will soon have a vaccine. I also doubt that but hope I am wrong.
If you are feeling a bit slighted because you cannot buy toilet paper, think of the thousands of kids who counted on a school breakfast and lunch that are now hungry.
Think of the working moms who now have kids home from school.
Talk to an ICU doctor in Seattle, Wash., that disputes the common phrasing when reporting on the virus that for the average healthy American it is no more than the common cold. They are seeing healthy 40-year-olds going into ventricular fibrillation and dying.
I went to my local grocery store Fri., March 13, only to find the meat section empty except for plant-based “hamburger,” no soup available and all canned fruits and vegetables gone.
I did not even look in the TP or hand sanitizer sections.
The last time I saw impulse buying like this was when a bartender yelled “last call.”
I was active in the public health arena when we had SARS, MERS and Ebola. Those outbreaks remained fairly regional. I thought COVID-19 would also, but it is truly a global disease and the final numbers may be staggering, like in really bad.
by following the advice of the experts and to put up with the inconveniences that will come with closures for the good and well-being of the masses, and maybe make some contributions to your local food banks.
I miss sports on TV and my public library. The days are long. But I consider myself safe and have canceled my winter trip to Scottsdale, Ariz.
It is not the risk of exposure that has caused me to change plans, but the risk of one single person in the complex coming down with COVID-19 and the rest of us quarantined for 14 days right when they announce all restaurants will close.
Not worth the risk as this unfolds.
We have to keep hospitals able to care for the common heart attacks, car accidents and baby deliveries.
We have to “flatten the curve.”