I’ve discussed the current lack of PPE in healthcare and the risk to the frontline providers and the healthcare system at large. There is, however, another contributing factor that could lead us over the precipice and into unmitigated disaster if we don’t get the spread of Coronavirus under control real soon. And that’s the people who continue to selfishly interact with others when it’s not necessary.
None of us like being stuck at home 24/7. My 88-year-old best friend and second mom usually spends an hour or more daily with her great-grandchildren. She lives alone and hasn’t had an outing or visitor for three weeks. Just virtual hugs over Facetime. Is she hurting? Yes, but she’s bucked up and is doing the right thing.
There is an elementary school and playground near my house. They were once teaming with little ones and are now closed and desolate. Parents and children are staying home and staying safe. In contrast, there are several ballfields and batting cages on the other side of the street where adults and teenagers (too many to be a single-family unit) congregate, interact and generally ignore social distancing. The same dads who might “glove up” to gas up sit on the bleachers, move the pitching barriers and play baseball with groups of teenagers – all sharing the same, possibly contaminated equipment. Then they drag their gear bags to their SUVs and drive home for dinner.
We need to stop the insanity of self-selecting who we believe is safe. Every time you come into contact with one person you come into contact with everyone they’ve been in contact with. One asymptomatic COVID-19 individual can unknowingly infect countless others. Entire families have already contracted COVID-19. Would you want to be responsible for a preventable fatal infection for even one other human? I didn’t think so.
Groceries and other supplies can be ordered online for delivery right to your doorstep (good luck finding toilet paper and anti-bacterial wipes though). We’re learning how to celebrate births and birthdays creatively with the people we love. We’re also learning how to go outside, walk and enjoy the outdoors again – all while keeping our proper social distance.
It’s time we all take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. If we do not protect our frontline healthcare professionals by staying healthy, not only do we put them at risk, we will also flood the healthcare system and the entire system will collapse. Then where will we be?
Can we do the right thing? Yes. Remember the early cavemen? If they lived out their whole lives without sports, concerts, parties, theater and restaurants we can do it for two months. Do your part – buck up and stay home so healthcare providers can do their job for you.
I invite my RN colleagues to share this blog with all of your non-nurse friends and family members. They may not understand how important their role is in keeping you and our country safe.
Be safe and stay healthy,
Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD
P.S. Comment and share your thoughts on what Americans can do to buck up and stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19.