I can clearly understand why so many people are optimistic regarding the most recent news coming out of New York.
The number of confirmed cases and deaths have decreased slightly over the last couple of days. We may be plateauing. This decrease is evidence that social distancing measures and emphasis on good hygiene actually worked. Science and epidemiology are actually not bullshit. We may come out of this sooner rather than later. This is all good news.
But there is still skepticism around this crisis as well.
The decrease in numbers show everything was a massive overreaction. Jobs and the economy were sacrificed, not lives. A traveling nurse on Instagram who believed herself an authority and stated people are getting better and not dying because she took care of some COVID-19 patients in a tent.
So I have reason to be cautious. Yes, because of peoples stupidity. But also, because of the overall situation.
Not optimistic. Nor skeptical. Just cautious.
The number of cases that are being admitted into the hospital may be getting lower, but that number is still much greater than the number of people who are being discharged from the hospital... at least alive. We continue to add patients to a census that doesn't get smaller, and we continue to expand, and we still don't know when this is going to end.
And even once the numbers do truly start going down, we will still have to continue practicing social distancing and good hygiene. And even once things start opening again, we cannot go back to the way things were. At least immediately... if ever.
This evening I was texting with my friend who is an ER physician in Brooklyn, and she texted me the following:
"I thought things were improving and now I'm not so sure... I though(t) we saw a small reduction in volume but today seems to have picked up."
And then a short time after I received that text, a friend of mine who is a CRNA and works in the Bronx, texted me this:
"Dude the shit today was sobering... No codes are being even run on hypoxemic arrests, and there is a 24 yo who's not gna make it thru the night."
So yeah, I'm going to take whatever improvement the numbers show with a grain of salt.
On a separate note, the outpouring of support for my posts is truly humbling, and I cannot put into words my appreciation. It is an amazing thing to get support and encouragement from people around the world.
Many have told me they appreciate the honesty in my words, that I represent those on the front-lines and can speak honestly about what is going on here in New York City.
But I've also been cautious about what I've posted. I do not throw caution to the wind.
I'm not sure how many noticed, but I've been intentionally vague when it comes to my place of work, and I've avoided any engagement in conflict or politics altogether. This has been a personal choice.
I am one of the lucky few in NYC who works in an institution where I overall feel supported and protected. And because of this, I believe the best way for me to be an effective voice is by being able to focus on what I love most - taking care of others - and not wade into the politics and heated emotion that are nearly inescapable in the midst of such a crisis. But even amongst all of this privilege, I've still seen awful things amidst this crisis.
So you can only imagine what the rest of the city must be enduring.
There may come a time when erring on the side of caution is not the optimal strategy, but it is for me at this particular moment. I know I can be most effective when I am using my skills to treat the sick, and I can use my words to heal the heart and mind. I want to be on the front-lines taking care of you. Not making headlines in the media.
But like I said, I have this luxury because I am working where I am. If I was not in my situation, knowing me, I would be screaming louder than anyone else. Those in more unfortunate positions deserve to have their voices heard and have their anger and frustration with their working conditions be respected. They should be angry because it is happening all over the country.
It is flattering to be called a hero, and many who state it genuinely feel an immense appreciation for what we do. And we know who you are and we appreciate you. But some who say it do not have the same intentions. Many believe being called a hero and being thanked for our service is a way to justify death. Many are wiling to sacrifice for what they consider their calling, but there are some who use hero in a patronizing way.
I want to thank the many of you, the majority of you, who are sacrificing your livelihood to help control this virus. You are donating incredible amounts of your time and money to keep us safe. You are staying home with your young children, home-schooling them and trying to keep them sane while maintaining your own sanity.
So, I guess, let's be honest: those parents staying at home with their young children are the real heroes 🤣🤣🤣.
And on that lighter note, time to go to bed. And I thought I'd share a screenshot from a Zoom virtual hangout with my family from this evening because, well, even in the midst of all this ugh, family and friends are still everything.
Especially my cousin Anuj's semi-bald ponytail. So epic.
Much love, everyone.