Friday, I had a minor outpatient procedure. My wife dropped me off. I wore a mask the entire time. The temperature check was done before I entered. And I was asked multiple times whether I had or was around someone who had the Covid. I got some great drugs. The procedure was done. I came home and napped.
The procedure was put off from April because they couldn’t do it then. I almost put it off again.
Because of the Covid.
Had I done that, I wouldn’t be alone. According to a letter sent by 600 physicians to President Trump, 150,000 Americans per month who would otherwise have cancer screenings aren’t having them right now. Calls to suicide prevention hotlines are up 600%, at a time when 38 million Americans, more than 10% of everyone who lives here (including kids and retirees), have lost jobs and millions of others have had pay reduced.
The number of severe heart attacks being treated at nine major US hospitals is down 40%. That’s not because we’re suddenly more health conscious. Sales of alcohol have risen as much as 50%. (The WHO, one of the bodies we’re supposed to uncritically take direction from, has issued guidance saying alcohol sales should be restricted.)
There are predictions of mental health issues not only for front-liners, but for children, teenagers, and young adults for years to come.
The letter calls this a Mass Casualty Incident.
Marilyn Singleton, one of the physicians who signed the letter (and an apparent Trump fan) adds these statistics:
- 80 percent of all Covid-19 deaths occurred among people aged 60 or older.
- 25 percent were residents of long-term care facilities.
- 90 percent of those who are hospitalized have underlying conditions.
To be clear, this isn’t a call to sacrifice Grandma so the stock market can go up. It’s a call to understand where the primary risk lies and to act accordingly.
It’s also a call to understand that if grandma has “the worst headache of her life” and doesn’t go to the hospital because of the Covid, she could die of a stroke caused by a brain bleed. If your diabetic brother is sent to the hospital and no one can visit, his recovery will be affected by the enforced lack of visitors. Or if your uncle lives out in the sticks, that hospital that’s sort of close might not survive financially, meaning when that heart attack occurs, he’s more likely to be screwed.
It’s a call to wear your cockadoodie freaking mask and don’t be an ass, so we can mitigate some of this. It’s a call to stop treating every Covid-related limitation as the climactic battle scene in Red Dawn.
The hardest-core governmental proponents of the shut down everything movement (in particular Andrew Cuomo and the perfectly coiffed Gavin Newsom) have greatly mitigated that approach in the past few weeks.
Finally, it’s a call to not treat every loosening of restrictions as a battle against the worst caricature of soulless capitalism.
We all have free choice and responsibility for ourselves. If you’re diabetic and you don’t feel comfortable going out, don’t. If you’re over 60 and you don’t want to go someplace, don’t. In saying that, I accept that it’s grossly unfair.
Nothing about this is fair. But we have to stop acting like everyone is equally at risk. We simply aren’t.
Full disclosure: I live with someone who’s at risk. I fully understand that what I’ve said may keep me at home and largely alone until early next year and that’s the best-case scenario.
We have to stop acting as if this is the only medical problem out there and ease toward a cautious return to something approaching normal. Because this threat isn’t likely to disappear.