As if sucking air through a straw, I gasp, my trachea burns, my lungs compress and I can’t breathe.
But don’t worry about me, focus on your fellow man.
I am not sick now, but the way coronavirus reacts in the body seems eerily similar to the way my body reacts when exposed to environmental toxins.
If you have never suffered from a severe asthma attack or respiratory illness, it’s hard to understand what it feels like to struggle to breathe. I do!
Don’t underestimate COVID-19. Show solidarity even if you are not infected other people will be.
With its easy transmission, lack of a treatment and invisible asymptomatic carriers living among us, this disease becomes a formidable foe.
We are past containment. Our best hope: “flatten the curve” which means slowing the acceleration enough that national health care systems can cope without collapsing.
Most cold viruses, infect the nose and throat. COVID-19 spreads directly to the airways and lungs without warning setting off a war between the virus and immune system
“The virus hijacks the cell and reprograms it genetically to make more copies of virus,” said Dr. Otto Yang, a UCLA expert on infectious disease.
First it strikes the lungs and impairs breathing.
The body fights back causing more inflammation. This damages blood vessels, which can leak fluid into lung tissues, clogging the tiny air sacs. Pneumonia results limiting one’s ability to deliver oxygen to the blood and remove carbon dioxide.
Next it attacks the kidneys, which can no longer remove waste from the body fast enough.
If the disease progresses, cell damage occurs throughout the body. Organs fail from the virus’ attack or because of septic shock.
No country has enough resources (intensive care units, isolation rooms, ventilators) and medical staff to accommodate hundreds of thousands of people getting sick at the same time.
That’s the crisis happening in Italy right now in a wealthy region with one of the best health systems in the world.
“In Milan, in Bergamo, in Padua they are having to choose between intubating a 40-year-old with two kids, a 40-year old who is fit and healthy with no co-morbidities, and a 60-year-old with high blood pressure, because they don’t have enough beds. In the hallway, there are another 15 people waiting who are hardly breathing and need oxygen.”
Our too little testing, too late policy failed. Misinformation and lack of testing accelerated the spread of the illness by delaying our reaction. We are ground zero. In France, in Switzerland, in the USA.
Social restrictions are enforced. Countries shut down. Everyone must comply in a united effort to slow the progression.
Stop pointing fingers and blaming others — the Chinese, the Italians, the French, the Democrats, the EU.
Don’t think that this doesn’t concern you.
You may not fall into the vulnerable elderly age bracket or high risk category, but someone you know does. Dialysis machines, insulin pumps, pace makers, and other medical equipment and modern drugs keep many of us ticking. If infected with COVID-19, thousands more will need access to artificial ventilation and the best medical technology available to beat this disease.
Heed the medical advice. Wash hands. Stay home. Stop complaining.
Overreacting? Don’t think so.
With every breath you take
Remember this caveat.
Human beings everywhere
Share the same air.
There is no life.