June 18, 2020

Failing the test

You may have read that the United States is not actually done with its first wave of COVID-19, per Dr. Fauci. Or depending on your news source, you may think the first wave is going away. The data shows that the R0 is above 1.0 in many states and rising in several states rapidly. Already, more than 2 million infected and we are closing in on 120,000 deaths. Some parts of Florida are running out of ICU beds and numbers are increasing in Texas, Arizona, and other states. The theory about the warm weather making coronavirus disappear is not bearing out. Sadly, the methods that work to lower infections have been politicized, which means people choose between behaviors that can help or hurt, depending on their news source. Reading through the Washington Post’s live Coronavirus feed for today was disheartening.

That breaks my heart. It really shouldn’t be that way. We are all in this together, more than people realize. Choices people make will hurt themselves and their families, and risk the lives of healthcare workers, who have already paid so much. I understand that people believe what they do, they get influenced by their friends, family, and leaders. Changing minds and educating is not easy or always the answer. Trying to figure out how to talk to people about these things is challenging and a big learning curve, for me especially. There are resources out there to guide us. Although I am not optimistic, we have to try. The answer can’t be yes if we don’t ask the question.

I really want us to slow the virus down again with distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing, so we can get through this without the loss of many more lives. We need to remind everyone that we still don’t understand why some people get sicker than others. We already know that older people, and, especially, older men are at risk. People with conditions like heart and lung disease, people who smoke or used to smoke, or obesity have higher risk. And we cannot predict when or why younger, healthier people get deadly ill.

Lots of research and studying trying to figure it out. Now new data is pointing to Blood Type A as having more risk, but Blood Type O being protective, Type B and Type AB are average. Lucky for Jamie who is Blood Type O, but this is a test I failed. I have A positive blood, so add that to my list of risk factors. I will double down on the mask wearing and hand washing and be super careful at work, but the denial out there feels so much more personal, when I consider the risks being taken by others. On the good side, I live in Seattle where our governor and mayor take the pandemic seriously, as do my co-workers. My neighbors are helpful, as well. I worry about many of you and others that live in areas where wearing a mask becomes a symbol that puts you at risk for other things, not just COVID-19. We are failing as country.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, stay as safe as you can.

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.washingtonpost.com/health/the-ultimate-covid-19-mystery-why-does-it-spare-some-and-kill-others/2020/06/16/f6acc1a0-ab35-11ea-9063-e69bd6520940_story.html

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/study-ties-blood-type-to-covid-19-risk-o-may-help-a-hurt/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/06/18/anthony-fauci-interview-first-wave/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/15/despite-trumps-claim-increase-new-coronavirus-cases-isnt-just-function-testing/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/coronavirus/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/health/healthcare-workers-death-coronavirus/?itid=lk_interstitial_manual_9