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Virus Journal Entry- March 19th, 2020

Coronavirus Journal Entry- March 19th, 2020

When did you first hear of the coronavirus? What were your initial thoughts about it and how have they changed as the situation has evolved?

 

I have already written about how the coronavirus originally affected me. That post can be found here – Is The Coronavirus Freaking You Out Too? So today I am going to write about how my views have changed as the situation has evolved.

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**

In The Beginning The Virus Felt Very Far Away

In the beginning, it felt very far away. My heart ached for the people experiencing it in Wuhan, China. I remember seeing it through the lens of the news and YouTube clips. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Nurses would risk everything to put out these videos showing the true horror of what was happening inside hospitals and on the streets while Chinese media insisted they had it under control. The people were desperate for help. They needed supplies and equipment, they needed more workers, they needed to be saved. But help wasn’t coming. I watched as nurses and doctors with imprints from face masks and safety glasses embedded in their faces frantically begged for someone to get the information out that it was far worse than it appeared. Next, videos of sick people collapsing on the streets of China were circulating. I mentioned in my previous post how horrified I was to see people in white Biohazard suits pulling these two women from their homes and forcing them into these vans as their children were screaming in the background. Watching them fight to get back out of the van was awful. It shook me. I prayed for them. I ached for them.

The Virus Expands Across The Globe

Then it started moving our way and soon it was in South Korea. Again, I watched in horror but though it devastated me it still felt so very far away. Then we started getting reports from Iran and then Italy and Spain. Now, today, the virus is in 178 countries and territories around the world.

CDC's World Map showing spread of Covid-19
Map Source CDC.gov March 19th, 2020

The Virus Attacks Italy

Mr. Wonderful and I had planned on visiting Italy in August because it is our ten year anniversary. All of my life I have loved Italy. I have formed relationships with bloggers in Italy and I cook Italian Food and have a giant poster of Venice hanging next to my bed. I have dreamt of gondolas and quaint bistros as long as I can remember. Italy has always been my easy answer to where would you go if you could go anywhere.  T often calls me Mama Maria with his best Italian accent.  We joke about my inner Italian.

So, when this virus hit Italy it felt a lot closer to home. I was seeing the posts my Italian friends were making and they frightened me far more than what I was seeing on the news and in those YouTube clips. Within a week their entire worlds were turned upside down. They were getting sick. Young and old. Before long their hospitals could not handle anymore and they had to make hard decisions about who they would treat. One of my online friends was terrified when she received news that her chemo treatments were canceled. Hospitals switched to critical patients only. Parking lots were turned into makeshift hospitals.

When the total number of infected reached 10,149 these guidelines were released by the Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care. These recognized that Italian doctors were forced to face decisions that belong in the field of ‘catastrophic medicine’ – wartime triage. It included recommendations on whether an age limit should be placed on which patients they would care for?

Those who are too old to have a high likelihood of recovery, or who have too low a number of “life-years” left even if they should survive, would be left to die. This sounds cruel, but the alternative, the document argues, is no better. “In case of a total saturation of resources, maintaining the criterion of ‘first come, first served’ would amount to a decision to exclude late-arriving patients from access to intensive care.”  – SIAARTI  -Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care (source: The Atlantic)

To benefit the most people and stretch supplies the furthest, should they only treat those likely to survive and recover more quickly, making resources available for the next? It was decided that these guidelines were to apply to every patient, even those that were there for cases that had nothing to do with the virus. If your situation required a lot of resources, you could not be treated. Every piece of equipment had to go as far as it possibly could.

These guidelines were released back when they had just over 10,000 cases. As I write this the country is in mandatory lockdown and the total number of cases is 41,035. The death toll in Italy has just exceeded China’s.

Headlines read, “There’s a high level of contagion and we’re not even counting the dead anymore.”

Coronavirus in Italy: Health care workers stop counting bodies

Italy’s death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed China, with so many dead that soldiers were brought in to haul away coffins and health care workers said they stopped counting bodies. Officials said Thursday that 427 new deaths were recorded over just 24 hours, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 3,403, nearly 200 more than China, where the virus originated.

Two days ago I read an article by The Washington Post titled- In an Italian city, obituaries fill the newspaper, but survivors mourn alone.  It left me sobbing. My heart just shredded as I read about these people dying alone. Families being separated. Funerals could not happen because there were just too many. Churches filled with coffins. And I thought of the family members at home waiting in horror for the call that there father or mother or grandparent or sibling or child had passed alone, gasping for their last breath in an empty room. I can’t stand it. It broke me. It was my first full breakdown since this whole thing happened. I could not stop crying. And then I got angry because when I finally pulled myself back up and went into the living room the news was on and the headline read – Springbreakers still show up on beaches in America. 

Washington Post Article on Coronavirus impact on Italians
Washington Post Article

The Virus Arrives In America

And now is it here in America. It has shut down our entire country. For us, universities were the first to extend Spring Break or close their open doors. I received an emailed cancellation from NorthEast where we were going to tour and get T set up with dual enrollment. Soon schools were closing. Then businesses. Now restaurants are almost all carryout and delivery only. My husband is working from home. My sisters and my niece still have to go in but today they finally passed a mandate that only 25% of employees could be working at the same time. No public gatherings of more than ten people.

CDC Guidelines to Prevent Coronavirus Spread

CDC Coronavirus Guidelines

Truck drivers are working overtime to supply grocery stores. Medical Professionals prepare for a war against the virus dubbed ‘The Invisible Enemy’. The Defense Act has been put in place so that we can produce more face masks and ventilators. We have become painfully aware of our reliance on China for antibiotics and other medical supplies. We work to set up places here in America where we can produce the supplies our people may need. The Stock Market keeps falling and falling taking with it our savings and our hard-earned Italy Anniversary money that we have spent five years saving for. But honestly, that feels like the very least of our concerns right now. Life is surreal.

I have to go and fix lunch for the guys now. I’ll keep posting as this goes on and creating my own record of my own personal experience and I encourage you to as well. I am offering both the full 20-page journal and the writing prompts for download at no charge in my shop. You can find them right here.

I am thankful for…

I want to close each day with one thing I am thankful for. Honestly, I am thankful for a lot. We are all still healthy. We are home together. We have plenty to eat.  But today I want to share something really cool that God did for me. He knew this situation was going to freak me out and so in December, I received a gift from my sweet Kelly. It was a Bible Study Called The Prayer of Protection and it covers the promises in Psalm 91. T and I began using it in our homeschool in January when we came back from break. It is the absolute perfect study for times like this. I encourage you to take some comfort from Psalm 91 too.

Here it is I encourage you to read it daily, to claim it firmly, and to memorize it. There is so much power here, my friends.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the [a]fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

– Psalm 91 NKJV

Psalm 91:9-10

Stay well,

Gwen

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