South San Francisco, CA March 19, 2020 by Kamala Silva Wolfe, Founder/Editor EverythingSouthCity.com
I personally consider this pandemic dangerous enough to warrant my stringent isolation, mostly due to the age of my Dad, of whom I am his sole caretaker, and others over 65,and those with health issues, which are the groups hit the hardest.
Rambling thoughts in my brain make me wonder why ‘we’ are not using all our resources to isolate the most vulnerable and allow the rest of the world to continue to carry on.
Why are we bringing the world economy down?
Isn’t it nature’s way, this survival of the fittest, to keep a balance in the world?
To believe that thinking is cold, cruel, callous is understandable, yet do we think of nature as cold, cruel, callous when it is simply being what it is…. nature?
Another thought circling through this grey mass in my head, is this banter of what we must call this pandemic. It is not PC to say it is a Chinese Virus, but OK to say Zika Virus, or Hong Kong flu, and yeah, I get it, the correct name if COVID-19 and is best used.
But to hear elected officials, on all levels of government, have this debate yet no talk, at least from what I’ve heard, on how to hold the Chinese Communist Party responsible for their consistent opening of wet markets, or the fact they delayed releasing information to the rest of the world. THAT, to me anyway, would seem to be where the focus should be. Not on semantics. But on the fact it is the continued wet market practices that is bringing the world down.
I’ve heard there has been backlash against some in our Chinese communities, and that deeply saddens me. I had thought we were more evolved than that, more tolerant, embracing diversity. Isn’t this 2020? Or was that only wordspeak?
We have a label for that abuse, it’s called hate crimes, and they carry additional penalties, which MUST be enforced.
And hateful words are simply that, hateful words, which only have power IF we allow them to. We cannot rid the world of bullies, only bully proof ourselves to withstand the ignorance of others. Who else was raised with ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’?
It is heartbreaking to see more divisions open up at a time when we need to come together, for a bigger purpose, our collective future, as humans, one blood binds us together…..
…. well, expect for the blood of the infected….. we work to isolate them, treat as we can, cross our fingers when we can’t.
And that brings me back to the fact those most vulnerable are people over 65 and/or with other conditions that compromise their health.
These are some stats shared to me earlier, and while I haven’t researched them specifically, they do seem to follow the general narrative:
‘One thing we know is that this virus is most lethal in attacking the elderly. The rate of fatality among those ages 70-79 is 21 times that of people under age 60. The fatality rate among those 80 and above is 39 times that of people under 60.
One reason Italy has been hit hard is it has the oldest population in Europe, with 23% over the age of 65.
In the U.S., there are large age variations among the states.
Among the youngest, Utah has a median age of 30.5, and 10% of its population is over 65. Texas has a median age of 34.5, and 13% of its population is over 65. Among the oldest, Maine has a median age of 44.3, and 21% of its population is over 65. Florida has a median age of 41.8, and 21% of its population is over 65.’
So, knowing this, again I ask, why are we bringing the world economy down, turning lives upside down, putting such a HUGE hit on the next generation(s), rather than using every single resource possible to isolate, and care for, this vulnerable population?
I admit, my myopic focus is on the care of the elderly/ sick who are suffering from this virus, how they are being separated from family/ support system at a time when they need that support the most.
As someone who works with those in hospice care, it is heart breaking to know this is how it will end for far too many.
We all must make that final curtain call and exit stage left…. yet to be left alone, frightened and without those they love, is just devastating, to me. Death can be cruel, and death by this virus is just that, a cruel death.
I remember holding my infant daughter as she was going through an asthma attack, her eyes rolling back in her head, her tiny ribs extending far beyond what I thought her skin could hold in, her gasping and struggling to breathe before the doctors rushed in, grabbing her while strapping her to a ‘papoose board’ and whisking her away into another room, pushing me out of the way. An eternity later, they opened the door allowing me to rush in to reclaim my baby, blood spurts on the wall – I don’t know, nor do I want to know, what transpired on the other side of that door. I only know I never want to see/know that she, or anyone else must endure that life struggle. Today she is one of those in the vulnerable categories.
A few months ago, I sat at the bedside of my dear (younger) cousin as she struggled to breath, while intubated, knowing her exit would take place shortly after the breathing tube was removed. The exhaustion, acceptance, were clear in her eyes. But at least she had family with her, those she chose to be by her side, she was not left alone.
Having witnessed the passing of many, those fighting for breath are the ones that continue to haunt me, personally. The breath of life we all take for granted, is so precious!
We all know one day we’ll die, it’s a fact no one gets out alive. And we get one death, and I strongly believe we must help those who are moving on, to have a ‘good’ death, a good passing, as it is part of nature, this dying. And part of human nature to help others, even in this process.
The Sun, out of the UK shared this earlier, and speaks to the heart break I am feeling;
‘ “Dr Cortellaro, in Italy, is quoted as saying,: “You know what’s most dramatic? Seeing patients dying alone, listening to them as they beg you to say goodbye to their children and grandchildren.”
She added: “They are lucid, they do not go into narcolepsy. It is as if they were drowning, but with time to understand it.’
So, again I ask, why are we not using every single resource to attend to the most vulnerable in a more holistic manner? Why are we using our collective resources to shutter our world, to bring our economy to the ground? To turn upside down the lives of those who are not in danger, beyond a flu? Those who have been infected, and healed, may now be immune, with some having a pretty easy go of the flu, and others a more difficult time, yet are not in a high-risk category, and have recovered.
There is so much I don’t know, and with additional knowledge as it comes forward, I am sure my thoughts will change accordingly.
But in this moment, these are some of the loose strands circling my mind, and if anyone has read this far, and has thoughts to share, I am really interested in this side of the conversation.
With respect and good health to all.