Social Distancing Day 2

Though the title says “Day 2”, don’t be fooled: this is the first day I haven’t left the apartment. After some amount of freaking out over the last two days, I’ve calmed down and am settling into the reality of the situation. I woke up late, didn’t quite eat proper meals, did shower and get dressed and get some work done. It’s a work in progress.

Yesterday I said I’d write about why I’m distancing myself in the first place, so here we go. At this point, I assume most people reading this post know about flattening the curve. The gist is that even though for most people COVID-19 is not life-threatening, there will be a lot of people who do need hospitalization, including intensive care. There is simply not enough capacity in the medical system to deal with those numbers. If a lot of people come down with COVID-19 all at once, it will overwhelm the medical system. There will literally not be enough places in hospitals for everyone who needs a bed, and medical professionals will be stretched thin, heavily exposed to the virus, and overworked, many to the point of death themselves. This stress on the medical system means that people who show up to the hospital for other unrelated reasons are less likely to get the treatment and care that they need.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. The medical system can probably handle a smaller number of severe COVID-19 cases. The point of social distancing is to keep that number down. The fewer people who are infected by the virus at once, the fewer people are likely to need hospitalization, and that means that doctors and nurses have a better change of actually saving those who need it.

I’m a male in my early thirties, with no pre-existing conditions, and in reasonably good health. (Ok, I’ve probably been eating one too many girl scout cookies lately, but who hasn’t?) If I get COVID-19 I will probably be fine and not need hospitalization, though I may be miserable and pretty incapacitated for a couple of weeks. For most of the people in my immediate social circle, the same applies. But some of my colleagues currently have elderly parents staying with them. They are at substantially higher risk, may require hospitalization, and may not survive if the medical system is too stressed. I really do not want to pass the coronovirus on to them. And that is the crux of why I am distancing myself.

(Aside: Many of these parents are helping provide child care, tying the issue of COVID-19 containment and general healthcare to that of access to affordable child care.)

Now, I have no idea whether or not I have the coronavirus. I have no symptoms and haven’t been in contact with anyone I know to have been exposed. I was pretty social up until last weekend. But there currently seems to be pretty much no way to actually get tested where I live, so I’m in the dark. In this case, I would much rather be safe than sorry, especially since my work and lifestyle is actually conducive to social distancing.

And that leads to tomorrow’s entry: what am I doing to stay productive and sane while being at home. Till then, stay safe, stay sane, and take care of each other.

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