It is now December, the start of the Christmas season, and the last month of an incredibly long and difficult year. A year full of more trials than successes, more pain than joy, and so much fear and anxiety, 2020 has been a year that no one could have imagined outside of a novel or a horror movie. Every day, some of us worry that we will hear a loved family member or a dear friend has tested positive for COVID-19, aka a novel coronavirus. An off day becomes a day of terror, full of fear that one will suddenly lose the senses of smell and taste followed by a slight difficulty in breathing. A cough is no longer an allergy but a harbinger of worse to come. Every day, more cases are registered, more people are hospitalized, and more deaths are reported.
One very frustrating point is that many people still slough off the warnings as a complete and utter hoax. “It’s no big deal, no worse than the flu.” “I only had a little cough and a slight headache.” “I tested positive but never had any symptoms.” Yes, it’s all a little inconvenience until one can’t breath, goes to the hospital, is admitted into the ICU, and needs a ventilator, a machine that breathes for the patient who is struggling to take in air through COVID-damaged lungs and allows the body to rest and heal. Some need the help for a few days, others perhaps for weeks. However long the process, it won’t be pleasant, and the patient is sedated and alone, leaving family members to worry whether they will ever see their loved one alive again. Most do, but many have not.
Fathers, mothers, siblings, aunts, uncles, husbands, wives, so many have succumbed to the virus, with loved ones left behind to grieve for the rest of their years. Some families have lost multiple members, some both mothers and fathers, leaving younger orphaned children behind to mourn. Most people have at least heard of someone who has tested positive or has gotten somewhat ill. Others know of friends that tell about family who have been admitted to the hospital, and some weep for those who have passed alone in nursing homes.
Today, December 3, 2020, there were 210,161 new cases reported and 2,706 deaths, with over 100,000 patients currently hospitalized in the United States. Each one of those numbers is someone’s mother, father, spouse, or child, and according to Johns Hopkins University, “the U.S. death toll currently stands at 275,550.”*
Don’t become one of the statistics. Follow the CDC guidelines and do your best to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Distance and isolate this holiday season so you can celebrate together in the future.
*Stats from https://abcnews.go.com/Health/live-updates/coronavirus/?id=74456908