Monday, April 06, 2020

COVID-19 thoughts

Watching the numbers creep upwards doesn't feel quite so alarming as it once did—of course they're going up. Where else would they go? The United States broke 300,000 cases yesterday and we're tends of thousands above that number today. We've had 9,618 deaths so far. Tomorrow we will break 10,000 deaths for sure, which is mind-boggling considering on March 5 (one month ago (or 17 years ago, depending on how you're calculating your time)) we had only 12 (twelve) confirmed deaths from COVID-19.

Let me take a minute to say that I had friends—at the beginning of March—comparing this pandemic to the swine flu outbreak in 2009. Now, to be fair, I missed experiencing how the US dealt with that pandemic because we were in Egypt. Schools were cancelled (including classes at AUC, though his semester was technically only "postponed," not cancelled) and they rounded up all the pigs, slaughtered them, and then burned them (because why not?). But I hear that things happened in the United States. In fact, after watching the movie Contagion where they joked about doing too much for the swine flu pandemic, I looked it up and that was the general consensus—that the government did too much, that they caused too much panic for something that ended up being not a big deal.

But fast forward a decade and I have friends talking about the botched handling of the swine flu epidemic and saying—again at the beginning of March—that the coronavirus had only killed a few people (48, to be exact, on March 13, the day we started social distancing) but 12,000 people died of the swine flu (though there were "only" 3,433 confirmed deaths). And how horribly the government handled that pandemic and what a great job they're doing with this pandemic. And I just...guys...we're going to get to 12,000 confirmed deaths (to say nothing of the unconfirmed deaths) in about one month (not a full year) so I think we can agree now that this virus is a little more aggressive than the swine flu? Please? Like...come on.

A friend of mine had their baby today, at 33 weeks (as early as Benjamin). His mom tested positive for COVID-19 and is so terribly ill that they took the baby via c-section because they were worried they would have to intubate her (or, alternatively, let her die). Her body simply couldn't fight the virus and harbour a baby any longer. So they delivered the baby and rushed it off to the NICU so that the mother's body could concentrate on getting better. But she can't go to the NICU because she has the virus, so she's in isolation, away from her baby (which I imagine is the worst). My friend (her husband) also tested positive for COVID-19 so he also cannot go see the baby. So now their brand new baby will just be raised by NICU nurses until the parents get two negative tests in a row. Thank goodness for wonderful NICU nurses...but what an awful situation!

They have other children, too. And I'm just exhausted thinking about it.

Another friend's parents just arrived back from New York after having "rescued" their daughter, son-in-law, and week-old grandbaby. The mom had had to deliver the baby in a room by herself—with just her doctor and a nurse (no other support people)—and though they'd planned on moving to Georgia  this summer they decided to just move down here early because it's not like they had any job or anything going on in New York and the sweet new mom needed some support after having her baby, but there was no great way to get her the support she needed without just swooping in and extricating her from New York City entirely. So now their family is doing a quarantine period and my friend is doing all their grocery shopping for them in addition to shopping for her own family.

All of this is not to say that I'm entirely without hope. It's just to say that this is a pretty serious thing we've got going on here. A lot of people are taking it seriously (now) but a baffling number are not and I just wish they would...


  1. I hope your friend who tested positive (and had the new baby early) is doing better now. How sad for them!