Don’t send grandma to intensive care for a respiratory virus (Opinion)

Editor’s note: Allison Hope is a writer and has published articles in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Slate, and other outlets. The opinions presented in this article belong solely to the author of it.

(CNN) — It started with a person letting out a long, productive cough without a mask into the stale, recycled air of the train at rush hour.

The fluids hung in the air like a certified Christmas wrecking ball. In a matter of days, that single exhalation had morphed into a chorus of reverberating viral aerosols, rampant coughs and sneezes, and gargled throat clearings that worked in some kind of raw, sick harmony backed by a nose-blowing percussion that I imagined infecting everyone. passersby, including myself.

There’s not a place I’ve been in the past few days—public transportation, supermarket, school, office—where someone hasn’t been puffing, teary-eyed, congested, or hoarse.

Forget about Rudolph, there’s a new red nose coming to town this holiday season.

Everyone and their mother are sick.

And it’s not just about colds.

The hospitals are overwhelmed. A trifecta of infections — influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and covid — have joined malevolent forces and are wreaking havoc among the population.

Babies and young children in particular have been caught up in the tidal wave of RSV. What’s scarier than worrying that your child can’t breathe? And that the hospital that could save his life is too overwhelmed to help him? Not to mention that the Covid-19 infections are on the rise again, sending tens of thousands of people to the hospital, and thousands to the grave, every week.

“Multiple respiratory viruses are in high circulation right now… On top of that, there’s an immunity gap after two winters in which few people — including children — have had many of these viruses,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst, emergency room physician, and professor of health policy and management at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Adding insult to injury, instead of facing the onslaught of disease armed with everything we’ve learned in the past three years: proper handwashing, mask wearing, social distancing, it seems a lot of people have crossed enemy lines. It’s like we haven’t learned anything from the global pandemic which has claimed more than six million lives; as if we don’t understand that the death toll continues to rise.

The “fatigue” from vaccines it is contributing to the exponential rise of diseases that plague our schools and workplaces, towns and cities. It seems that we are not capable of doing what we are supposed to do even though we know it.

“After being physically and mentally exhausted by circumstances, people start to ‘switch off’ to protect themselves and function during a high-stress situation like the current flu/RSV/covid surge,” Dr. Miriam Davis explains by email. , therapist and clinical director of Newport Healthcare Virginia.

“‘Switching off’ is similar to denial, a common psychological defense mechanism in which one refuses to acknowledge objective facts in an unconscious effort to ward off anxiety or discomfort.”

So few people wear masks, even in epicenters like New York City that had to install ice chests in hospital parking lots to pile up the overflowing corpses of loved ones, neighbors, and friends that carried the first waves of the pandemic there. by 2020.

The blatant disregard—for taking simple steps to stay well and stop the spread of viruses that are life-threatening at worst, and downright disruptive at best—seems like we’re challenging the universe to test us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to face Mother Nature. I want to open my presents in my pajamas without a debilitating disease involved.

Why would you want to gift Grandma a trip to the Intensive Care Unit this Christmas? In my opinion, a dragonfly brooch, a tea service or a box of Agatha Christie books are much better options. Speaking of grandma, nursing homes aren’t up to the task of life-saving preventative care. Only 50% of nursing home residents and only an appalling 25% of nursing home workers have received their covid boosters.

What’s happening to us?

Cover your nose behind a mask if you have to go out. Better yet, stay home if you can. Last time I checked, pretending disease isn’t in the air (or in your body) doesn’t make it go away. Plausible deniability doesn’t have to be our legacy, because it will be our downfall.

“There are simple things that can reduce the spread of viruses,” Wen says. “Many of these infections are spread via droplets, so coughing or sneezing into your sleeve or tissue would help reduce droplet spray.”

“Wash your hands frequently, even after touching high-traffic surfaces, such as shared computer keyboards or elevator buttons. “Stay home if you have a fever or cough a lot. And people at high risk of serious consequences from viral illnesses should wear an N95 or equivalent mask while indoors.”

How to overcome the psychological trauma of surviving a pandemic while remaining socially responsible and not leaving caution (and the N95 mask) aside? It helps to practice moderation, according to Dr. Mirela Loftus, chief medical officer for Newport Healthcare.

“We can exercise our individual rights when it comes to making decisions about our own health, while not forgetting that we often do things to protect others: driving at the speed limit to avoid an accident, shoveling snow off the sidewalk so our neighbors don’t fall off,” he says.

It’s reasonable for people to take small steps to care for others, but I’m not going to hold my breath. (Well, unless you’re not wearing a mask.) For now, I’m thinking of trading my regular Christmas presents for hazmat suits and gas masks so my loved ones can get through this winter without catching or spreading anything can kill us.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *