Not too long ago, I had a call from my doctor’s office telling me that my doctor was setting up Zoom appointments with all his patients while we’re in this self-quarantine state of affairs.
My doctor is not treating me for anything, but likes me to check in at least once or twice a year for check-ups. However, considering the best advice for everyone is to stay at home except for getting groceries and for really essential outings, even he is only seeing those patients who believe they are in need of emergency care.
While we were getting set for our Zoom appointment, his assistant called me to say that they couldn’t get the zoom to work so we’d have
to just make do with a phone call, which was okay with me. After the doctor was all through asking me the usual questions, he then said, “I hope you’re not watching all the newscasts about the coronavirus.”
Well, I watched some, naturally wanting to know what was going on, but a lot of the information on one channel seemed to contradict the information on another, and even on another.
Anyway, I asked him why he’d say that, and he said, “Because you can’t really believe everything you hear and I don’t want you getting all upset about it.”
Well, as we’ve all found out, statistics easily change from day to day, and even the story that we heard weeks ago about the whys and wherefores of the pandemic changed from one website or online video to another.
While I know people who spend a great deal of time watching everything, reading everything, and listening to everything, and then telling others all they’ve found out is not the truth about what’s going on, I believe that we may never know the complete or true story; and even then I’m sure there will still be two or more “true” stories, depending on who is telling it and what their connection to it is.
I assured my doctor that I wasn’t going to be glued to the TV watching the latest news about the progressively worsening and disheartening statistics, but I was also not going out nor being careless about my contact with others. He was happy to hear that and told me we’d probably have our in-person visit around the end of July.
Several friends had been emailing me horror stories about individual statistics regarding the devastation of the coronavirus in various hospitals and various states, and even varying stories about how it “really” started, and it is pretty much impossible to not be made aware of what’s going on, no matter which story one is choosing to believe .
So allowing for the fact that all the deaths are real, no matter what started this pandemic, people are dying and many are spreading it to
others without even knowing that they are infected. So right now, it’s not about how it all started or who started it or why, it’s about dealing with it to keep the death toll to some kind of an absolute minimum of what it might otherwise be.
But it is about the death toll and apparently no one can predict where it will strike next. No matter what you believe about how it started or how real it is, it’s hard to ignore the actual deaths that are connected to the coronavirus.
We hear about the rising death toll of the elderly in nursing homes, those who would be among the ones least likely to be able to ward it
off; and now, even about all those veterans in the VA homes back east.
We’ve already been hearing about those dying in the hospitals, whether for lack of being diagnosed in time, or being exposed to those who were already infected when they came in for something else, or any other “official” reason connected with the coronavirus in any way.
And one category of victims that has not been in the news that much is those who never had the option to wear a mask and practice social distancing in the first place. That category of victims — the already incarcerated — seems to be presenting another kind of would-be problem to society-at-large: the very real possibility of having inmates released who may still be a threat to polite society, even if they may be in the category of those most susceptible to becoming ill from the virus. I have no statistics and they would be different tomorrow anyway, but one suggestion would be to not incarcerate so many people in the first place. Let the punishment fit the crime, and that often is not the case.
Maybe this unfortunate, unimaginable, and unexpected pandemic that has befallen the world — and right now I’m speaking of how it’s affected this country in particular — will in some way bring about some good that we desperately need. Perhaps we’ll all be more conscious of how we clean our hands and keep our personal areas clean; perhaps we’ll have learned to get along with less and stop insisting on having the latest gizmo or the very best (read that most expensive) of everything. Going out to dinner will once again be a treat instead of a substitute for cooking at home; the criminal justice system will think twice before locking up those who sold a little marijuana to a friend for longer than some killers get who had a good lawyer; and perhaps visiting friends will be in vogue again, since we’ve discovered the value of friendship and social contact after being deprived of carrying on with our usual life for several months now.
Yes, I’m rooting for some good to come of this, as the old sayings go: “There is always something to be grateful for,” and “Something good will always come out of something bad.” That’s what I’m putting my energy on.
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.