52,000 US deaths, now.

2020.04.24, by Bedivere
Filed under COVID-19, Journal

Let me give you a taste of the times.

The other day, on the Thursday daily [presidential] press briefing, Trump suggested light and surface disinfectants as a possible treatment for COVID-19. His words:

“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous—whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light—and I think you [Bill Bryan, head of science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security] said that hadn’t been checked because of the testing… and then I said, suppose you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too… I see the disinfectant knocks it out in a minute one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

Let me describe the hospital for you. We don’t get many calls about COVID-19 anymore. We have an extra line added to the answering machine, directing them to the county helpline on COVID-19. All outpatient visits have been cancelled, except those deemed medically necessary. Nurses have been furloughed, and nonclinical workers like environmental services (housekeeping) have been forced to flex (leave shifts early). Occasionally we get phone calls from panicked relatives, asking if it’s safe to bring their family member to the hospital because they’re so afraid of exposing them to the virus. For the COVID rooms here, we have one designated nurse. They don’t go in bunny suits, just a yellow gown with a shrouded face shield. They don’t double glove.

We [personally]’ve stopped wearing the N95 masks as we’re convinced that we’d contracted the virus and recovered from a COVID-19 infection. Paper one-use surgical masks, now.

Some weeks ago there was a young guy here, who walked out as soon as he saw his PA was Asian.

Outside the hospital are handmade billboards from local groups and private individuals, praising our healthcare workers and letting them know how loved and appreciated they are. Some are funny: “Drinks are on us!”

I haven’t seen many people outside. I’m hoping that people realise that their efforts at social distancing are working. It is impossible to know what people really think without talking to them, but this is normal for this place [prepandemic]. Everyone drives, no one sees each other for long, or at any frequency, except for at grocery stores and restaurants.