Stay Home: Protect our vulnerable, slow the spread of COVID-19 and support workers ability to care for critically ill

Photo by Washington State Capitol by Samantha Craft

Seno means“Okay, All together now, 1, 2…” Comes from the abbreviated pronunciation of “issei no” (一斉の) which means, simultaneously in Japanese. It prepares everyone to do a particular action at the same time.

I entered the social media world after being offline on bedrest for over a week. I entered informed and concerned for the wellbeing of not just myself and my loved ones, but the world citizens. Even as several states have mandated a ‘shelter in place’ initiative, to date, the officials of the state of Washington have not. Even so, I am actively choosing to ‘shelter in place’ to help decrease the COVID-19 virus spread. If you are an individual who is able to shelter in place, please do so. If for no other reason, do it out of respect and honor for the 100s dying each day. On the same note, if you are actively choosing not to stay at home: please don’t promote others not sheltering in place, nor underscore the global crisis. Don’t consider those that are taking measures to ensure the wellbeing of our neighbors a mindless act or an overreaction. Unless you are able to predict the future and see what will take place here in the US, and elsewhere, in the next 30 days, then please don’t misinform others.

There is a time for logic and reason and there is a time for fear and anxiety. Both are instrumental during a global crisis. Combined they assist us to prepare and decipher best modes of action. Anxiety is not always a bad thing. In fact anxiety is a biological response to pending danger and uncertainty about the future, how to control the future, and if we have the means to survive the situation. We should be fearful of a virus that is spreading rapidly and storming through the medical facilities. That’s plain common sense. Please don’t shame people for having anxiety. And don’t shame yourself. For tips on managing anxiety during these times see Think about the best-case scenario’: how to manage coronavirus anxiety

Thirteen Italian doctors have already died. In the state of Washington top officials are discussing the cold truth that they might need to turn away some of the critically ill if the medical staff reaches capacity of who they can help. In my backyard, my sons and I were having a serious discussion about who in our family the hospital wouldn’t turn away.

If you need more evidence, turn to Italy. My relative relayed in an email her friend’s message: “It’s so good to hear from you! the situation here in northern Italy is terrible. thousands of people are sick and dying. the army had to transport dozens of truck deaths to other regions last night because they can’t bury them. people who get sick are taken away to hospitals hundreds of kilometers away from their families, and if they die you are not allowed to give the last farewell. I hope you don’t have to get to this situation! I sincerely wish you to learn from our mistakes and do not think that it is just a banal influence. we are also open even if I think for a few more days. we are working in shifts to not meet, then at home there is a ban on going out. we embrace you strongly and hope and pray for everyone!”

Please note I am not a medical practitioner. But do consider if you are having common cold symptoms (unless you are in a life threatening situation, having difficulty breathing, elderly, or high risk) whether or not it is wise to get tested for COVID-19. Weigh the pros and cons. In the US we are vastly under-staffed and under-equipped to support the critically ill through this pandemic. It has been written and advised to assume you have the virus and to self isolate, that standing in line to get tested or visiting a medical facility puts you at risk of contracting the virus, spreading the virus, and wasting valuable medical time and supplies; e.g., masks, gloves, gowns, shields, antiseptic gel. The exception would be (and hope) is if our nation starts making testing screening widely available, in drive through options, through avenues that don’t put added stress on the overworked healthcare workers and added deficit on medical supplies.

In the article In hard-hit areas, testing restricted to health care workers, hospital patients a doctor explains that negative tests could also provide false reassurance as covid-19 has become widespread. When one of his patients with symptoms got a negative result, “Daskalakis told the person to presume he had the disease anyway and to isolate himself…”

The health order intent is to:

#1 protect the most vulnerable,

#2 slow the virus’ spread, and

#3 preserve the ability of front-line workers to care for severely ill patients.

It isn’t a perception or hunch or guess that there are 1000s more US citizens infected than we are able to test. It is fact. Some estimate for every 1 individual that tests positive, 10 more untested are active carriers. It is reported that up to 80% of asymptomatic carriers are responsible for the spread. We know that you can have the virus and have little to no symptoms. There is evidence it lives on surfaces. We know it spreads through sneezing and coughing and feces. Just because some tests are coming back negative for some individuals, that does not mean that a week later that the same individuals won’t become positive carriers. Just because the infected numbers are low today, doesn’t mean they will be low in a week. 

Have compassion. Practice basic empathy. As you are enjoying your takeout order over a Netflix binge remember that based on current data most people will likely recover, but a vast majority will suffer. Don’t underplay that there are 1,000,000s that will suffer either personally or from news of a loved one, or news of the world. We are suffering and mourning. People are dying alone without last visitations and without last rights. Bodies are being piled with no burials. The virus for some is the worst discomfort they’ve experienced in their lifetime: whether physically, spiritually, or psychologically. Some 40% under the age of 50 are being treated in hospitals. This isn’t an old-age virus. And even if that were the case, our elderly dying makes the crisis no less tragic. Yes, the youths’ fatality rate is low–zero, by some accounts. But what happens when we run out of equipment, beds, and energy to treat patients? Who then is set aside and not receiving help because someone else decided their health was worth the risk? Youth keep this in mind, and know there are reports of the lung damage that the virus can have on young adults and the price to the nation in medical supplies and treatment. We can easily avoid transmission and illness by staying home. Think of the sacrifice that every health worker is taking: their life.

As of last night we are in lock down in our home. No one in and no one out. I meet my extended family in our backyard, and we sit at least six-feet apart. After two weeks of being mostly bedridden from a flare up of my chronic health conditions, which left me with shortness of breath, extreme exhaustion, excruciating chest pressure, chronic dry cough, low-grade fever, body aches and chills, and digestion issues, I was just at this moment ‘officially’ informed by a doctor named Jennifer that my COVID-19 test came back negative.

Remember this “is the most dangerous pandemic in our lifetime.” (source) As it is, I’ve already passed the worst of my illness. Being bedridden in pain, thinking perhaps I had COVID-19 for a week, provided ample opportunity to surmise what is important in my life and how I might avoid contacting the virus and avoid spreading the virus to others. Being ill afforded me the opportunity to take inventory on the best measures to safe-guard my own health and the wellbeing of others: by staying home.

 

The doctor who helped defeat smallpox explains what’s coming

 

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