The Night America Woke Up to COVID-19

In the span of 30 minutes tonight after President Trump gave an address on the coronavirus, actor Tom Hanks announced himself and wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for COVID-19. This was followed by basketball player Rudy Gobert’s testing positive for COVID-19 and the NBA announcing an indefinite suspension for the rest of season. I was just about to publish this post when I saw the U.S. Department of State has issued a Global Level 3 Health Advisory and is now telling US citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19.

Image Source: NY Times

I have been closely following this story since mid January. Lately I have felt like I am living in a movie with an unbelievable plot. From the first whistle blower in China, Dr. Li Wenliang, being diagnosed and dying of the virus and to citizen journalists Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin going missing after sharing videos from hospitals in Wuhan these men, along with many more reporters, deserve the entire worlds thanks and gratitude. If not for them the world would not have known about this virus or its severity.

In the United States testing is still widely unavailable. Without mass testing capacity there is limited data available to show where the virus is spreading and how many people have it. I live in Arizona, population 7.172 million, and at the time of this post being published we have tested 100 people. At this point we all need to assume that it is rapidly moving among all our communities. The lack of testing and limiting testing criteria shouldn’t have happened. Crucial time was wasted.

Tonight proves to all Americans who have not been paying attention or brushing this off as “just the flu” that this needs to be taken seriously. The United States has recently started exporting cases to other countries which means that the virus has been active and undetected in multiple cities for several weeks.

Two weeks ago the world started seeing a large number of cases that were linked to recent travel from Italy. Today Italy reported 2,313 new cases and 196 new deaths. In total Italy has reported 12,462 cases, 827 deaths, with 1,028 in serious condition and 1,045 recovered. Scientists have been saying that the United States is two weeks behind Italy in regards to virus spread.

If you have not started preparing you need to. The CDC recommends having a two week supply of water/food and extra prescription medication. Social distancing is going to be something we hear for awhile. No more handshakes, cover your coughs and sneezes, don’t go out when you are sick, and stay home as much as you can. Now is not the time to panic. Make a plan and start getting prepared. There is only so much at this time that we can control. If you feel anxious start making a list of what you can control now. I will have a follow up post to help with this soon.

Know that you have a voice. Be positive and be kind but speak up. We need to hear how our local governments are trying to flatten the curve. Use your voice to encourage and use your voice to inform others. We need to hear from first responders and healthcare workers at the front lines of this pandemic. And yes, it is officially a pandemic as of today, the World Health Organization finally made the announcement this morning.

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been diagnosed and to their loved ones. Stay safe!

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