My Husband Is A Firefighter, Please Stop Saying COVID-19 Is “Just The Flu”

In January I began to follow what was happening in China. Then I followed what was happening in South Korea. I came across this tweet from a local reporter…

She later went on in the thread to state that around 40 doctors had signed up to help in the hours after the email was to 5700 of Mr. Lee’s colleagues.

And now I am reading about Italy. And I am so concerned for the United States.

If you have not read about this parade and how we can flatten the curve of pandemics by cancelling public gatherings here is an excellent article from The Smithsonian. Philadelphia Threw a WWI Parade That Gave Thousands of Onlookers the Flu.

As of the time of this writing on March 14th the United States has 2,499 cases, 51 deaths, and 49 recovered. Many experts are saying we are days behind Italy. Italy has 17,660 cases, 1,266 deaths, and 1,433 recovered.

UPDATE: As of March 15th the United States has 3,083 cases, 60 deaths, and 56 recovered. Italy has 21,157 cases, 1,441 deaths, and 1,966 recovered.

My husband is a firefighter. We are not wanting to spread panic or to live in fear but we are making decisions with the information we have seen from experts. We are staying home. He is going to work. We are praying for his safety and for everyone who is on the frontline for this pandemic.

Please I am begging you to stop spreading misinformation about the coronavirus. This isn’t the flu and it is not a hoax.

HERE IS WHAT IS HAPPENING ACROSS THE UNITED STATES

Here are just a few stories of those who are at the frontline. These men and women are being exposed to this virus they can’t see or readily detect. Across the United States healthcare workers are literally weeks, some even days away, from running out of supplies and unable to order more. 

The City of Kirkland, Washington currently has 1/3 of the Fire Department under quarantine because of known virus exposure. First responders were tested to see if they were positive but because it took so long to test the samples they expired. 

EvergreenHealth a hospital at the heart of the outbreak in Washington last night reported that they only have a 4 day supply of gloves left. UPDATE: EvergreenHealth doctor tests positive for coronavirus, in critical condition.

You can read more about what is happening in Washington below..

In Maricopa County Arizona where I reside, the county no longer will quarantine healthcare workers and 1st responders for 14 days if they are exposed to the virus and are asymptomatic. Instead they will check your temperature and monitor symptoms of workers before each shift.

Transmission of the virus can happen from a person who is asymptomatic. When those with known exposure return to work without being tested they may potentially be exposing others to this virus also.

My husbands department is not able to supply crews with surgical masks to place on a patients who are exhibiting signs of a respiratory illness. The Recommendations for EMS Clinicians and Medical First Responders provided by the CDC states that patient contact should be minimized until a facemask is on the patient. What happens when you don’t have surgical mask available to put on a patient?

More concerning is that due to the limited supply of N-95s crews are being asked to reuse their masks.

When a captain on my husband’s department asked about ordering surgical masks for patients he was told “Have you checked Home Depot?”

I am not trying to point blame because there is enough of that going on right now. But what is being reported by our federal and state governments isn’t even close to what is happening to those on the frontline of this pandemic.

San Jose Fire Department in California is, slowly through testing, showing they may have a cluster that has developed undetected. They currently have 8 members who have tested positive with 1 in the hospital. There are 43 under quarantine. Update: The sick firefighters also have multiple family members who have tested COVID-19 positive, the union added, while other family members with symptoms of the virus were waiting for their test results.

In Georgia a fire station in the City of South Fulton is temporarily closed because three firefighters were exposed to a patient who tested positive for the coronavirus.

FDNY has two members who have tested positive, and 33 additional Firefighters are self-quarantined and the firehouse is being decontaminated. Currently, 99 total FDNY members are self-quarantined.

In New Jersey “We had a patient that we were thinking about releasing — he seemingly was recovering — and then, two days later, he was put in the ICU. The flu isn’t like that. People need to know this”

Spokane, Washington is reporting that more than 30 members of the Spokane Fire Department are in self-quarantine. Eight of the firefighters are showing symptoms and one of those eight is hospitalized.

CONVERSATIONS WE ARE HAVING & WHAT OUR FAMILY IS DOING

“So what happens if you get exposed to this at work?” I ask.

My husband answers, “I won’t come home. I would stay at the station. I couldn’t bring that home to our family.”

This then brings up another question, “But then you are increasing the risk to others on the department.”

There are really no answers. We have none. He has yet to receive any form of communication on what would happen in the event of an exposure from his department.

Our school district has made the decision as of yesterday to remain open. We know that can change. If it doesn’t and it remains open we will not be sending our son to school. Children can be asymptomatic carriers of this virus. With Josh’s job we know our family is at a higher risk of exposure and we do not want to unknowingly spread the virus in our community. UPDATE: On March 15th, 2020 Governor Ducey announced the closure of Arizona schools from 3/16/20-3/27/20.

Several weeks ago we made the decision to stop attending services at our church. This was not made out of fear but in an abundance of caution. There are many who attend our congregation who are considered at higher risk and so we decided to distance ourselves.

We have also greatly increased our time spent at home. Our kids are going slightly stir crazy but that is ok. Yesterday we had to go to our accountant and sign for our taxes and the kids got so excited to drive up to the top of the parking garage.

Our visits to see grandparents and great grandparents are non existent at the moment. My mom calls her parents daily to check in and make sure they are ok. We are staying away and while this is hard we know it is necessary for this time.

Text messaging has taking on a sobering tone with the information that is being shared in our circle. We are staying connected and reaching out to family and friends to see if they have any needs and they are doing the same for us. Most importantly it is just nice knowing that we are not alone in this.

Needless to say this has made us more thankful for the simple everyday blessings like being together as a family and driving the car to top of the parking garage.

If you are unsure how to talk with your kids our daughters preschool supplied this link on Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource. A great resource if you aren’t sure where to get started.

BE INFORMED

We all have our part to play in this to help flatten the curve and give our healthcare workers, doctors, hospitals and 1st responders a fighting chance.

We don’t want to overwhelm our healthcare system.

There is so much misinformation floating around and that can cause panic. Be informed and go to trusted sources of information. My friend Dani over at KidNurse is offering free live webinars next week to teach parents what they need to know about Coronavirus Disease, how to take care of children, and how to avoid misinformation online. Please sign up here: https://kidnurse.org/masterclass!

MedCram has awesome updates on youtube with realtime information from a doctor. Please subscribed and follow. The latest video: Coronavirus Pandemic Update 36: Flatten The COVID-19 Curve, Social Distancing, Hospital Capacities

The International Association of Firefighters is updating their website twice a day to share the latest information to protect those on the frontline. They are asking that all 1st responders visit this website in the morning and evening for updates. https://iaff.org/coronavirus/

We are all in this together. Let’s all do our part to help flatten the curve and slow down the spread of this virus in all our communities. Stay safe!

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