I had another post set to go live tonight but this topic is too important, I had to write about it immediately. I am sure it’s a topic on everyone’s mind right now, the Coronavirus or COVID-19. When we first starting to hear about the virus I’m going to be honest, I thought the media was doing what they do best, blowing things way out of proportion. I thought it was a fear tactic, some political agenda and that it wasn’t really as bad as they were portraying it to be. Now I think I was very wrong about that. It seems that people fall into two polarizing sides, those that think how I used to think and that it’s not that big of a deal and those that are hysterically buying all the toilet paper they can. In my opinion I think we need to fall somewhere in the middle.
If we look to what is going on in Italy and Spain and now France we can look towards what the future holds for us if we are not extremely careful and start to protect ourselves and our healthcare systems now. I have read firsthand accounts from people living in those countries, and many also thought that it wasn’t that big of a deal until it was too late. Their countries didn’t act quickly enough to stop the spread of this virus and now they are in total lockdown, with their hospitals at capacity.
I know you have heard the same rhetoric as I have, that it’s not as deadly as the common flu and that young healthy people will survive it easily. Let’s think about that for a minute. What about the fact that we all have older people in our lives that we love and don’t’ want to see die from this disease? What about those of us who have compromised immune systems that could also die from this virus? The, “I’ll survive I’m young,” mentality needs to stop! We need to protect everyone and in order to do that we need to act now.
I also want to point out that the numbers are not accurate. The amount of people in Canada who have the virus is unknown. How do I know that? I have firsthand experience and I’ll explain. I went to a conference with 3000 women (It was an absolutely amazing experience, but honestly it was stupid to attend something like that right now and I should have listened to my Mom.) I had a sore throat when I returned which quickly became a full blown flu. I had a fever, shortness of breath and my body felt like it was run over by a truck. I gave the flu to Mckenna as well and she had similar symptoms but seemed to be battling it much better than I was. On day 3 I called Telehealth and they told me to go to the ER as quickly as I could. When I arrived I put a mask on and they ended up quarantining me. I asked to be tested for the COVID-19 and they basically said they had very limited supplies and that seeing I was young and healthy they wouldn’t be testing me. They assumed it was a flu and told me to go home, rest and drink lots of water, and take Tylenol for the fever.
I called my doctor the next day and she told me I should call the local health authority as she felt I should have been tested as well. I called them and they said something similar to the ER that they just did not have enough testing swabs and that they would call me back….that was 5 days ago and still no call back. I am not upset by this, I truly feel they should keep those tests for people that really need them! My point here is not to say, “Oh poor me,” my point is that myself and others could have had COVID-19 and not know it or and will never know. I exhibited all the symptoms including the tight chest and difficulty breathing which honestly I have never experienced with any other flu. How many other people out there are experiencing those same symptoms or worse? Without allowing for everyone to be tested the actual reported cases and numbers will never be accurate. So don’t let the low rate of cases fool you.
So what can we do? I’m not writing this blog to scare you, I’m writing it to move you into action.
I think our government has made some good moves to slow the spread of this virus but they could be doing more. Everything but essential services should be closed. Period. And people need to stay home. I know the hugely negative impact this will have on small business and it really saddens me, but public safety needs to take priority here. My office has already informed us to stay home. They are not taking this situation lightly and I’m very grateful for that. There is a new term being thrown around “Social Distancing”, but what exactly does it mean? It means not spending time with anyone outside your immediate family, and staying home. That means, no group gatherings, no play dates, no church, no going to malls or the gym, and don’t have visitors over to your house. If you have to leave, for example going to the grocery store, stay a minimum of 6 feet away from other people. The goal with all of this is to slow the transmission rate so that our hospitals will not be over capacity. Currently in Italy the healthcare workers are having to turn people away and make decisions on who to save. How incredibly sad and scary is that? This is real life people, please wake up if you are still thinking this is nothing more than a flu. We need to be smart and keep each other safe.
For the next few weeks you will find me working from home with my husband and keeping our daughter home with us. If you think I am being paranoid, fine, but I’m going to continue to do my part to not only protect us but to protect others in our community. I know not everyone is being granted the option to stay home, so if you are working please do everything you can to distance yourself from other people in your work and while commuting.
Stay safe everyone! We are all in this together, I know isolation isn't fun but it's necessary.