April 6, 2020

Boil some water

In many older movies, we often hear the directive “boil some water” when a character goes into labor. What do they do with all that water? I am a doctor and I don’t even know. But I do know that everyone wants to help, but often they don’t know what to do. Jamie thinks that is why they are told to boil water. It gives them a job when other wise they feel pretty helpless. And that is the state a lot of us are in right now. We want to help, but for many reasons just aren’t able to feel we can.

But we can help and we are helping. Just today UW’s IHME says COVID-19 in Washington has passed its peak. Amazing, just a few weeks ago we were expected to be in the middle of an overwhelming surge of hospitalized patients with excess deaths and not enough ventilators. And now this data analysis says we are passed the peak. Our governor sent back an extra 400 ventilators because we don’t need them. This is proof that our (your) hand washing, staying at home, and physical distancing is working. Make no mistake, we can’t let up yet, but pat yourself on the back (since no-one else can). It is working in other states too. The projected number of deaths has fallen for the country as whole. Still heartbreaking situations in New York, Detroit, and New Orleans, but there are slivers of hope they are near their peak as well.

But we all need to understand that if we ease up to early, we will have a rebound. There is good article in the New York Times about when to know when it is safe to re-open the nation. Part of that will be when we can actually do more testing for SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, which is slowly being realized.

This is hopeful news and can help us all stay sensible, since we are in it for the long haul. We will all ultimately be affected by this, we will have dear friends or family with the illness that may not survive, many of us are suffering loneliness, others the fear of losing their income, or more. But make no mistake, your behavior and sacrifice has made a difference.

And you can keep helping. Just today Governor Inslee cancelled all Washington Public Schools for the rest of the year. There will be families that will need emotional, social, and financial support. Find ways to help them. Donate time or money. There are so many people who have lost their jobs and are scared and lonely. If you know anyone that might possibly be there, reach out. If you can spare money or time, find ways to help. There are lots of options. Nothing is too small. Sharing a laugh, a photo, a funny cat video will all make a difference.

The thing for me through all of this, despite the weariness of poor leadership and failed policies, is that so many people have been helping and looking for that job to do that can make a difference. They are boiling water and sharing stories, music, ideas, a laugh. Keep it up.

And don’t forget to keep washing your hands.

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.