Ever notice how hard it is to find the right words sometimes? We try to communicate a thought or feeling and the person on the receiving end misses the point or misinterprets what we are trying to say. It is highly frustrating for everyone involved. I notice this happening a lot right now. Over and over again I read news stories about how lethal or non-lethal Covid-19 is. We argue about it and shout at each other brandishing actuarial tables. But the number of casualties isn’t the point. It isn’t a particularly deadly virus, it IS a particularly contagious one.
Remember those recent Christmas shopping tales where a large volume of people try to push into a department store? Everyone is intent on purchasing that perfect holiday gift. They are focused, they are clear headed, they are on a mission. Unfortunately, putting a large number of intensely focused people in a commercial space creates chaos and leads to violence. Angry words are exchanged, tempers escalate and violence ensues. We watch these events unfold, feeling helpless, overwhelmed and embarrassed.
The current crisis is not all that different. It isn’t about the number of fatalities the Covid-19 virus will cause, it’s about the sheer volume of people who could become infected all at once and need help. And while this large number of people flood our medical establishments desperate for interventions, the folks in line already waiting for an appendectomy, diverticulitis surgery or emergency surgery post car accident…, wait. They wait and they wait and they wait. Our local hospitals deluged by hundreds or thousands of folks needing everything from a prescription, to an oxygen mask, to an inhaler, to an antibiotic are overwhelmed by the colossal number of sick people. Infected folks are pushed to the front of the line. It makes sense, right? But in this scenario, all other health issues become secondary. In this situation an appendix unnecessarily bursts, a diverticulitis infection turns septic and a simple un-obtained trauma surgery leads to death. In this profile there isn’t a bed or an operating room to be had. It isn’t just the Covid-19 infections putting us at risk, but every common illness or malady has the potential of becoming lethal.
It’s NOT about how deadly Covid-19 is, it’s about how very contagious it is. And when you have a highly contagious pathogen that infects a large volume of people all at once, our already taxed medical system won’t be able to meet the tsunami of folks inundating the system looking for help. A tsunami kills not merely because it is comprised of water. A tsunami kills because of its enormous volume.
I don’t have any statistics to fling in your direction. I don’t need or want to argue with anyone. All I want is for you to have access to medical interventions when you need them most. I want the infection rate slowed, giving everyone a fighting chance.