The Unknown Future After COVID19

As our world faces a pandemic, we realize that these eerie days have not been seen in our lifetime. During this stressful and uncertain time, I can’t help but to be a wallflower on occasion. Initially, I watched as many people denied the unfolding events. First, I heard from a majority of people, “only old people or those with underlying conditions are dying. I’m not worried!” People were not concerned as this virus did not affect them personally. Then, others jumped in and said, “hey, these old people are my loved ones!” Others stood up and said, “I am immunocompromised.” As days slowly passed by, more and more people started to realize that this was not a conspiracy or hype and others were being shamed for their selfish and inconsiderate opinions. People have slowly come to terms that this is a serious matter, whether they take it calm and lightly or are anxiously buried in the stress of it all.

The beautiful part of this scary mess is that, oftentimes during a disaster, people do come together. In this case, distantly or even virtually. The stages of grief apply to a pandemic. People are initially shocked and in denial. Then, people become angry; whether it is over the empty shelves, the media, or the behavior of others… people get angry. Next, we begin to realize the inevitable and reality of the situation and bargaining takes place. Depression may follow for many as they lose their income and their daily routines fall apart. Acceptance, the most important for a clear mind, is when we finally prepare and consider others.

For the first time, I am seeing the world in my shoes. Not just my shoes, but the shoes of those with invisible illnesses, chronic illness, compromised immune systems, and underlying conditions. People are taking measures to protect themselves and others from possible risks and exposure. Every day for people with underlying conditions, we fear the unknown. People recklessly come to class sick, bring their ill child to a hair appointment with me, or stop by for a visit with sniffles and a cough. The thought is ALWAYS in the back of my mind that their ignorance could harm me.

Last year in May I had pneumonia. I was very sick and my primary-care doctor prescribed the wrong antibiotics. After a week, I didn’t get better and with my heart conditions I decided to go to the ER for a chest xray and possibly more meds. I knew something was very wrong and I could not breathe well. Before I even sat down on the bed, the doctor already walked in and glanced over quickly, smirking and announcing to the nurses and techs in the room that he suspected I had whatever was going around. He quickly writes a script for antibiotics and steroids and sends me out the door. I never even sat down in the room, nor did I have any tests. Okay, I thought, maybe this will help; he knows best. Days went by and meds didn’t kick in like I hoped. My breathing was not improving. I wondered if going to another ER would make me look crazy. I kept seeing the ER doctor’s smirk and imaged he would roll his eyes and send me out with a suggestion of chicken noodle soup. Again with my cardiac history, I went with my gut and drove to an urgent care facility. The doctor initially seemed hesitant but after understanding that he was the third doctor I’ve seen, he kindly ordered a chest xray for my peace of mind. He walks in with a large shot, and tells me that I have pneumonia. If things didn’t improve after this hefty dose then I would need to be admitted. Fortunately I did improve. I share this incident as a glimpse into the reality of how our healthcare system can be at times.

I can only hope that when this passes, people will be more compassionate and cautious about risking the lives of others. I can hope that people will stay home when they are sick and consider the risks that they are taking that involve another’s life. I can hope that our government will now consider that sick paid leave is important, as well as universal healthcare. I can only hope that one day the rich and the poor can be equally able to fight for their lives in the same hospital. I can only hope.

After every storm, the rain eventually stops pouring and the sun slowly comes out to shine. It is then when we take a deep breath and exhale the weight of the world. When we fall, we shouldn’t just get back up but we should learn what caused us to fall in the first place. We should learn how to be stronger, more experienced, and wiser, all while helping our community. Disasters, failures, mistakes, trauma, and unhinging should all evoke growth. As this historical time is abruptly shattered, let us write the future in a way that can change the world, and put the pieces back together stronger than before. Let this be the moment that shifts us toward an improved direction.

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  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name of the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, viruses are named separately from the disease that the  virus causes (think HIV and AIDS).
  • NIH, or National  Institutes of Health, announced March 17th, 2020 that SARS-CoV-2 is stable on surfaces for hours.
  • According to the CDC, the Spanish Flu pandemic infected 1/3rd of the world’s population (500 million people), causing 50 million deaths in 1918-1919. Approximately 1 million people worldwide died in 1957 from H2N2 and in 1968 from H3N2. The 2009 swine flu (H1N1) caused 12,469 US deaths and 575,400 worldwide. Source:
  • You can view updated stats of COVID19 here.
Health, Unveiling Invisible Illnesses

Coronavirus Hype or Not?

It must be lovely to be a healthy individual during a health epidemic such as the Coronavirus COVID-19. Those in general populations may be at a lower immediate health  risk; however, those in larger populations with international locations, such as airports, may have an elevated risk. Elevated risks also include those who are in the healthcare industry and those who have family or friends that have recently traveled. The Coronavirus is an infectious respiratory illness that has symptoms similar to the flu, yet it is a different virus.

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Yes, the flu does have a significant amount of cases and deaths in comparison to the Coronavirus, though numbers are dramatically increasing. Many healthy people will exclaim that they “don’t buy into the hype.” Media can create hype to increase website traffic and viewers. Hand sanitizer and protection masks are sold out everywhere online.  People become scared and start to panic. The smartest thing you can do is always just be a little prepared in general, epidemic or not. Make sure your medications, water, nonperishable foods, and other amenities are stocked to avoid contact in high traffic locations. Unfortunately, when you go out to eat at a restaurant or retail location, most employees are not able to call out sick if they are short staffed. Decreasing your chance of  exposure is one thing, but if you are sick, please avoid exposing others.

What healthy individuals fail to consider is that a flu may knock them on their ass for a few days or weeks, but they get over it. They continue to go to the store, to work, the gym, out to eat, etc. They continue to spread the virus to an unsuspecting passerby that may have a compromised immune system. This person already feels like they have the flu 24/7, 365 days a week. A simple flu could put them over the edge and kill them. So may be you are not buying into the hype and you’re be cool as a cucumber, at least just consider others.

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Hand washing is claimed to be the hope and savior for preventing illness, but it’s not going to do shit in reality, so stay home. Viruses are typically contracted through droplets up to six feet away, being inhaled into the lungs (CDC). Washing your hands is very important since the virus can remain stable on surfaces for days and enter your body just simply by you touching your eyes or nose. The virus can attach itself into the epithelial layer that lines your nostrils and other inner cavity surfaces. According to WebMD, you are contagious from 1 day before symptoms occur to up to 7 days after you feel sick. We are talking an entire day (or longer) before you even realize you are sick that you are spreading germs, and then again for the rest of the week. For someone who could potentially die if I contract the flu or Coronavirus, I not only have to worry about the common seasonal flu that is rampant this year, but a double whammy: another virus. Though you may not be worried about the Coronavirus per se, factor in the number of hospitalizations and deaths from the flu as well. I would say when you factor in both deadly viruses, we should worry a little. Numbers add up.

Once again for those in the back: if you are healthy, good for you. Please keep those who are not into consideration. Remember that invisible illnesses exist. There are people like me who are not elderly or obviously compromised. There are people with heart conditions, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, weakened immune systems and other chronic health issues that may not be apparent to you, hence the term “invisible” illness.

Hype or not, it’s kind of a big deal.



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