Five Stories That Will Share the Dangers of Covid-19
Like most of my friends and relatives, I am carefully following the unfolding events related to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Although I don’t think of myself as someone who panics, I have put aside extra medicine and food in case I need to be at home for two or more weeks. I am now using disinfecting soaps and wipes that I haven’t used for years. I wash the doorknobs and chair backs a couple of times a week. I wash my hands far more than usual. I’ve begun to enjoy making up new lyrics to Happy Birthday as my grandkids wash their hands.
But as I look at social media, I am struck by the number of people, (mostly conservative) who are claiming that our precautions are a huge overreaction. They blame our worries on the “liberal media”.
Some of them boast about how brave they are. “I still shake hands with every customer,” they claim. “I am still going out to meetings and parties and concerts. I refuse to let my life be changed by this stupid sickness. It’s no worse than the flu!”
Well, I disagree. And here are five stories that show why I do.
1. My Mom is turning 90 this week!
Aren’t we lucky? My siblings and I are so happy that our mother is still healthy and happy at the ripe old age of 90. She is strong, for a 90 year old. But if she contracts this particular virus, she may very well not see 91.
We understand that reaching her age is a gift in itself, and we know that something is going to come for her sooner rather than later. But why should we increase her risk just because we refuse to stop shaking hands with strangers? Why should we refuse to avoid big crowds, knowing that we’ll see her a couple of times a week?
2. A Little Girl With a Weak Heart
I know a young Mom with two beautiful twin daughters. The girls are about six years old. They are both funny, bright, joyful and adorable.
One is perfectly healthy and could easily get through the Covid-19 illness.
Her sister, though, was born with a heart defect. She has been through multiple surgeries and will likely need a heart transplant. She’s been in the hospital twice in the past month for pneumonia.
This virus might very well kill her. Like the flu.
I don’t know about you, but if skipping a concert, washing my hands, maybe elbow bumping instead of handshaking would save her life? Yeah. I’d do it.
I do it now, not knowing which adorable kids I see in the grocery store have unseen health issues.
3. Waiting for a Bone Marrow Transplant
A very good friend of mine is the mom of a young adult woman who is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant.
This young woman is everything you’d want to see in a fellow citizen. She works in the medical field, as does her Mom. She is hardworking, kind, generous, smart, frugal.
She got sick. Out of nowhere, completely because of some strange random strike, she has contracted a very rare blood disease. She’s tried every known medication, every known intervention. She receives care from one of the best hospitals in the world.
Still, she has been told that she must have a bone marrow transplant in order to live. Her siblings, unfortunately, were not matches for her. But she was lucky enough to find a donor in Germany.
She is only a couple of weeks away from her potentially life-saving procedure.
But what if she gets the virus? She won’t be able to go through the procedure. What if the hospital is hit by an overwhelming onslaught of patients? Or what if the supplies needed to carry out the procedure are not available because of the disruption to the supply chain?
Why would we risk this young life, just so we can say that we aren’t afraid of the virus?
4. My Daughter is About to Deliver a Baby
I am the devoted Mom of a fabulous young woman. She is vibrant, strong and pretty much the epitome of what someone should do to live a healthy life.
But she is also 36 weeks pregnant with her third child. She is set to deliver in our local hospital, which is a very small community hospital. I know that there are already some items that are lacking there. Her doctor is telling her not to worry, but to do her best to make sure that she and her immediate family don’t get sick.
I hope that the people I know and love will go to the fist bump, the crowd avoiding, the hand sanitizer, just to make sure that my girl and her baby will be safe.
Doesn’t seem like it’s asking that much!
5. All Those People I Don’t Know
I went to the grocery store the other day. Everyone was friendly, relaxed and pretty much just normal.
But. For the first time ever, I actually grabbed the little “sanitizer wipe” and cleaned the handle of my cart. I thought about not touching my face as I went through the store.
I shopped like I always do. But I was aware of the people walking around me. I noticed the gray-haired man carefully guiding a cart for his obviously very old mother. I watched him carefully showing her each item and asking her what she wanted to buy. I was happy that I wasn’t sneezing, but I worried about her health.
I smiled at a sweet little girl, maybe aged three, who sat in the front of her Mom’s grocery cart. She was pale blond, wearing a hot pink knitted hat. Her blue eyes were huge as they met mine.
She was very frail. As a long time special education teacher, I recognized that the sweet little one had some developmental issues. I had no way to know whether or not her health was as fragile as it appeared.
But it didn’t matter to me.
As I smiled at the little girl and her pretty mom, I was very happy that I hadn’t been out in big crowds. I was delighted that I hadn’t been shaking hands with strangers and that I had cleaned my doorknobs and my cart handle.
It seemed like a pretty small thing to do to try to protect the people who share this little space on earth with me.