April 5, 2020

Counting

My world is topsy turvy from a month ago, as I know most people’s worlds are in the second month of the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, I am amazed at how much Seattle has been able to slow the virus down. The data will be interesting to review when things slow down. Seeing what is happening in the hot spots of New York, New Orleans, and Detroit is alarming. I see that many places just don’t take the outbreak seriously, magical thinking is often the reason. That magical thinking can be due to religion, from reading biased reporting, believing they are young and invincible. It doesn't really matter what the reason is and I am not blaming, but I am sad and puzzled by this disbelief in data.

And my thoughts turn to many areas that are least able to deal with an explosion of infections. Granted, some of these smaller places will not have the numbers seen in New York, due to the population size alone. But they will see a relatively high number of deaths due to underlying conditions, since many of the southern states and rural states have poor health with high rates of diabetes and hypertension. The toll in those places will be worse than people are prepared for, even in younger people. We may also never know the true tally of deaths from COVID-19. I have lived in the south and I am originally from West Virginia, so I know and love these areas and my heart aches.

And then my heart goes to the Native lands, and I weep for fear of losing them. As many of you know, I worked and lived on the Hopi reservation in Arizona for 3 years in the mid 90’s. I love the Hopi people with all of my heart and pray they stay safe, but it may be devastating for them and every other tribe. I fear they will not get the help they will need from the federal government in time.

These are tough times with heartbreak. Those of us who are able to stay in our homes and be physically distant are truly helping. There are other wonderful stories out there about people being innovative to solve issues, including a wonderful story of a Seattle company called Dusty Strings that used its 3D printer and other machines to make amazing face shields for the ER’s at SwedishHospital here. Even just donating money to a helpful cause is a good thing. And don’t forget to reach out to those living alone, a kind word goes a long way. I know you all have your masks now too. I see them. Thank you. Keep up the good work and these acts of love. And dream of what kind of world you want to come out of this.

I know you are washing your hands, but just a reminder, don’t forget.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/05/us/coronavirus-deaths-undercount.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/04/coronavirus-unique-threat-south-young-people/609241/

https://www.livescience.com/genes-for-covid19-coronavirus-severity.html