As I sat watching the president’s recent press conference on the coronavirus, I listened to a health expert say that sunlight and humidity was a bad thing for this pesky virus. These two things can suppress and kill it. Earlier the same day, the governor of my fine state extended the stay-at-home order to the end of May. I get confused easily, so stay at home but go outside? It’s not safe to be on a golf course or out with my family on a boat, but it’s okay to go shopping for flowers at a big box store with my family?
After weeks of hearing that masks were no deterrent to the virus, now the government is telling us that masks are a good thing. Where do we find these masks now? Most people I know are now making their own and wearing these self-made fabrics when out in groups. Social distancing up to 13 ft., wearing masks in public groups of six to 10 (i.e. supermarkets), proper handwashing, etc., are all effective ways to prevent the spread.
But here’s the thing: After more than a month of being cooped up indoors, I could see this coming from a mile away—people are getting restless. Half want the country to gradually reopen, now. The other half wants to heed the advice of scientists. And there are those that still think this is a hoax, or not that big a deal as portrayed by the “fake media.” The early retort was, “Do you even know anyone that has this disease?” Actually, I do. A few neighbors and a good contractor friend of mine had it. He is healthy, and he said it kicked his ass for the better part of 10 days. He had never experienced an illness like that.
While I tire of hearing of “bending the curve” or “flattening the curve,” especially in my state where we still are hearing about thousands of new cases per day, from what I understand, the shelter in place order is really about keeping the hospitals from becoming inundated with incoming patients. But the “Why can’t the immune-compromised and elderly stay home and let those ‘healthy’ people return to their normal lives” discussions have dominated some circles. Yet the caution here is that people who have it can be asymptomatic for a few days before showing symptoms and could be carriers unknowingly. Again, the dilemma. What to do? What to do?
But, you see, we Americans can be spoiled. You can’t infringe upon our constitutional rights and civil liberties. I can’t say I completely disagree with this. The collapse of the U.S.—and global—economy could have more lasting detrimental effects on families, jobs and mental well-being.
Nevertheless, huge props go out to all of the healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store employees, all of those who still get after it daily. We work in an industry where tradespeople are considered essential, and they continue to go to work every day. Yet, most contractors and service techs tell me they don’t need the accolades, they just want to do their job, and do it well, and safely, of course. Some contractors are adjusting by wearing facial coverings—masks and eyewear—and practicing safe social distancing to keep themselves safe and give the customer peace of mind. Supply houses are adjusting protocols to offer curbside or parking lot pick-ups or letting a few people in the building at a time.
My hope is that we find a cure or some mixture of drug therapies that, if we contract the virus, there’s a very good chance we won’t die if we take the drugs. I’ve been reading success stories regarding plasma infusions that contain the corona antibody, an Ebola drug Remdesivir, and the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine. All have shown promise in some cases, but potentially deadly—or with debilitating side effects—in others. Some of these controlled trials may take months to fully understand the efficacy, or to issue as an FDA-approved drug therapy.
And another thing. I keep hearing about not enough ventilators: Hospitals are running low on ventilators to help keep people alive. However, in a recent report, nearly all COVID-19 patients put on ventilators in New York’s largest health system died. In fact, a friend of mine recently wrote a piece from the University of Chicago that shows “remarkable” success using ventilator alternatives as a way to treat critical care patients. Something to think about. (https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/uchicago-medicine-doctors-see-truly-remarkable-success-using-ventilator-alternatives-to-treat-covid19)
All signs point to a vaccine as the only way to fully get past this. I recently saw a headline that read “Vaccine Coming Soon.” When I clicked on the story, it mentioned that the vaccine will be here by next spring. SOON?! There will be rioting in the streets if progress isn’t made as early as this summer—or at least opening up the economy in gated stages, which in some parts of the country are starting to implement.
How the world has changed over these past few months. So, where do we go from here? That’s the question we all have been asking ourselves. Information, misinformation, rumors, fake media, etc. all can play into education, and fear. I’ll continue to maintain safe and healthy procedures, heed the advice of people that know more than I do, and always support and commend those that are going above and beyond.