Coronavirus 2020

COVID-19 Getting Real for Americans

By Robin Postell

Since January, I have been following the coronavirus and posting about it here on my website.

My international friends give me daily updates and advice about how we as Americans should prepare.

My lifelong friend Ornella Nocentini, who lives in Italy, has been sending me daily reports about what life is like being quarantined inside their homes. Her children are having to do online classes, and Ornella is telecommuting from home.

She tells me that the intensive care units are having to choose who has the best chance of making it, another way of saying, they have to pick who dies.

Italy’s intensive care units are overwhelmed. Ornella is horrified.

The hospitals there are so compromised that the healthcare workers are forced to continue working even if they are sick.

Ornella Nocentini has been working from home since Italy has been on lockdown

Several of my friends live in the hardest-hit countries, South Korea and Italy

Ornella Nocentini’s daughter attending school online while Italy is on nationwide lockdown

Michael Cavada, an American ex-pat now living and working as a professor in Degau, South Korea, has been keeping me up to speed on everything going on there.

With his parents living in Athens, Georgia, Cavada has as much interest in how we are handling it as they are in South Korea.

Daily, he marvels at how most in the U.S. don’t seem to be taking it seriously, even though entire countries are shut down because of it.

Georgia man, Clay Bentley, does interview from hospital talking about what it’s like having coronavirus

Cavada saw a video this morning of a Georgia man, Clay Bentley, who is hospitalized in Rome (GA) recovering from COVID-19 and had these observations (see video further down in this post):

Man in Rome (GA) gets infected, goes to the hospital, didn’t meet the CDC guidelines for testing, gets sent home, goes back and says he feels like he is dying, then gets tested and is properly quarantined. He lives with his wife and asks that she be tested, but they say no and just tell her to self-quarantine. Epidemiological tracking stops there. Nobody asks her who she has had contact with or follows the trail to test all people she came in contact with. The day before he shows symptoms he was at a church singing in the choir. Nobody follows up to test all people in his choir or church.

Not only do they (U.S.) have the tests, but they don’t have people on the ground to do the viral tracking. I imagine this local story is repeating itself all across the country. And where’s the technology to aid in this viral detective work? I’m betting the farm that Rome, Georgia isn’t equipped or trained to deploy technology either.

Michael Cavada from South Korea

The Georgia Dept. of Public South Health South District released a statement today saying:

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) South Health District has one new presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Lowndes County. The individual is currently hospitalized, and the source of the exposure is unknown.

Georgia Dept. of Health South Health District statement, March 11, 2020

For more information on COVID-19 from the Georgia Dept. of Health South Health District click here.

From a local perspective, my area of South Georgia has been slow to take the virus seriously.

Word circulates on backchannels in Lowndes County that the hospital, South Georgia Medical Center, officially has coronavirus exposure and held a press conference to address it. Missing was mention of testing.

An SGMC ER nurse says they have morning huddles to discuss it, and there is testing.

One current patient at SGMC who has been suffering from various bronchial afflictions for over a month says she was tested through nasal swab and blood test and tested negative for COVID-19.

Moody Air Force Base reports someone in the chow area was positive and might have exposed many to it.

Writer and photographer since age 7, I took it pro when I turned 21, freelancing for newspapers and magazines internationally. Now, I'm shifting gears looking for new adventures, both personally and professionally - the two have, frequently, been synonymous. A writer must adapt to the tsunami of technology and information in this brave new world. I'm game. R


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