Life after school

Day 49 of the Coronavirus (Part 2)

We weren’t the only family picnicking in front of the school on the last day of school.

No one was panicked. Everyone was calm. A day like any other. Except that we all knew that this was the transition from collective schooling to e-learning.

At the time of this post 2882 cases have been reported in France.

Don’t take it at face value. France’s policy has been to only test severe cases. Those presenting as colds and carriers need not be tested. You’ll never know if last week’s cough was a light case of the coronavirus or just a cold. (source)

Let me catch you up. Before this week everyone who is hospitalized was tested. Today they are saying there is no point in testing, so if the numbers don’t rise exponentially don’t be surprised.

Our region has no tests available, but that’s okay because Level 3 crisis mode turns attention from reporting to treating the symptoms using ventilators when necessary, etc. all the while keeping them safe in the hospital so that they don’t catch pneumonia or bacteria infections while they’re weak.

We heard rumors last week that the hospitals were empty, people were avoiding them like the plague. Three days ago we heard that there were only 66 serious cases requiring recovery room care around France and France has 5000 recovery rooms — reassuring us that hospitals are not saturated. (source)

Today those numbers have probably gone up, and they tell us that the reality is it will get worse before it gets better. But today we are still maintaining balance. Those who need treatment get rooms. And as long as everyone follows protocol:

Monitor your temperature
Watch for symptoms of respiratory infection (see below)
Wash your hands regularly
Avoid contact with fragile people
Avoid places where fragile people are present.
Avoid unnecessary outings (source)

In case of signs of respiratory infection (fever or feeling of fever, cough, difficulty breathing) :
US call 911 — France call 15
Avoid contact with people around you
Do not go to your doctor or emergency room to avoid potential contamination
Limit travel to what is strictly necessary

Stay calm. Taking precautions is not giving into fear. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? (source) If today is the last day of our lives there are a ton of more statistically probable ways to die. Taking precautions today is being a steward of resources and energy.

Wuhan is still under strict containment. It has been a long and grueling quarantine. Colleagues there say they are emotionally exhausted. It wears on you.

Italy is five days ahead of us in exponential growth. Already past the saturation point. Ventilators are in short supply, age limits and comorbities are factored in deciding who gets treatment and who is left to die. (source) How did it get so bad so fast? Leading Italian public health expert Nino Cartabellotta says “Italian citizens have been completely undisciplined.” (source)

Living here is like living in a sci-fi movie. It’s all so surreal. You look out the window and see the daffodils thriving and the cherry tree blossoming happily. Then you remember that you’re living in a pandemic. The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) weighs his words carefully when he makes a media briefing stating, “we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled.” (source) Quarantine protocol is being revised and updated daily as we learn what it takes to contain both the contagion and fear.

You do the math, if 80% of people don’t require medical attention. 20% may require hospitalization. (source) Do your hospitals have room for 14% of your town to be hospitalized simultaneously? If not, hold a town meeting choose to follow the example of countries that have contained it. Choose to embrace the draconian measures before symptoms break out.

But Parisians think they’re invincible. Thousands of asymptomatic people are still taking the metro, still going to work, still staying “as long as I don’t have symptoms I’ll continue life as normal. I’m not hurting anyone.” They don’t take into account the psychological pain of the doctors who will be doing catastrophe level triage in a week. The only way to slow the spread is to stay home.

True intelligence is learning from other’s mistakes before you have to live the same outcome.

We dwell in the secret place of the most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty. We shall not fear. (source)

Cancel everything. Not tomorrow. Today.

Because it is the loving thing to do.

Do so with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness. It may be your greatest act of self-control.

I write this because some of you are wondering if your precautions are premature. They are not. May your hearts be at peace for the things you cancel. May you live to share the hope that we have.

The story continues in my Coronavirus log here.

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