Each day during this pandemic we are bombarded with numbers. We start and end the day with the number of people who have tested positive for the virus, how many are hospitalized, and how many have died. We hear about “the curve”.
In a way, the current situation reminds me of the Vietnam War, when the American media reported the running daily tally of U.S. deaths, and the early days of the AIDS epidemic. In the early days of AIDS no one knew what it was, how it was transmitted and who was at risk. It was an invisible killer hitting clusters of people around the world. The longer we were aware of it, the wider we understood its spread and how broadly based the infection was.
The problem with only focusing on numbers and the inconvenience of staying home as nation after nation, continent after continent are locked down, is the risk of overlooking the devastation to those who died and those who have/had the virus.
I have grown short tempered with those who have nothing better to do than question whether the way governments have reacted was necessary. And who constantly question whether deaths are properly reported. On social media one person posted the same question every day for two weeks, challenging mortality numbers. His position was that older people would die anyway, so how can we say their death was really due to coronavirus vs their heart condition or cancer?
My position is, like a war, we do what we have to do now to save people and the economy, then we can question and second guess and challenge what happened, when and why. But first we have to limit the spread and pain and death as quickly as we can.
Coronavirus is not a theoretical issue for me. One of my friends and work colleagues came down with and was hospitalized in New York with coronavirus. He survived. But it was a trying time. His friends around the world were concerned. His parents are in Australia and couldn’t get on a plane and be with him. No one could. It was hell for him and worrying for his family and friends.
Here is his survivor’s story: