I was surprised to get a big response to my Tuesday posting about the coronavirus. There is clearly considerable interest in the subject, especially local angle reports. I like the human interest stories that this situation is causing.
Somewhere along the line, the media has switched from calling it coronavirus to COVID-19. When I became aware of this, I also became aware of the fact that I had no idea what COVID-19 means. As near as I can tell the CO stands for Corona, the VI is for virus, the D is for disease, and 19 identifies when it was introduced. It was first released to the world in Wuhan, China, in December, 2019.
Local focus. Yesterday COVID-19 claimed its 3rd victim here in Vancouver, WA. The common connection among all 3 was age. All 3 were over 70. The first 2 were a married couple both in their 80s who lived in separate long term care facilities. Washington now leads the USA in # of deaths from COVID-19. As of yesterday, there were 1,187 cases in this state, 2 of them doctors. A single nursing home in Kirkland, WA has experienced 35 deaths, which is part of the reason why Washington leads the nation with 67.
Government leaders seem overwhelmed with this situation. Our Governor, Jay Inslee, has banned getting together in groups of 50 or more. Shortly after he announced this, the Vancouver Navigation Center announced its closing. This place was helping the local homeless population by offering showers, laundry facilities, and other hygienic services. It was averaging 160 walk-ins per day, far more than the Governor’s ban allowed. Earlier in the week, Inslee restricted visits to people in care facilities to one per day unless the person is dying and emergency personnel and family members are going in and out of the room. The Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, has announced that she intends to put the homeless in public buildings. Los Angeles, at last report, had 60,000 homeless to help in this crisis.
Human interest. Yesterday I heard about a woman married 49 years whose husband had spine surgery. The only way she was allowed to see him was once a day through glass. They could not speak to each other. Today I heard a man report that he and his wife had been tested for COVID-19. He was told that they would only be contacted if they had the virus, so they could not return to their jobs or leave their house. 40 million Californians are temporarily forbidden to leave their living quarters and could be charged with a misdemeanor if they do. I suspect that Washington will soon issue a similar order.
PS Ruth thinks the roaring bear above expresses everyone’s current frustration.