Something a patient in a hospital would never want to hear

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.


Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune

A couple of days ago I heard a very startling — yet somehow not all that surprising — comment from a person who had just gotten out of the hospital. This person was not meant to hear the comment spoken by someone who worked at the hospital, and you can be sure the comment was not meant to be repeated to anyone, especially not someone who would write about it in a newspaper column.
But since that person has no phone and I cannot reach him to get his exact words, that part of the story will have to wait till next week. In the meantime, it is interesting to note that different cities, states, or organizations have different ways of counting the number of people who have been exposed to COVID-19, have become infected with the virus, have become ill, and who have died, with COVID-19 (or SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19) being listed on the death certificate. Some may seem to exaggerate the numbers and some may seem to not count them all, underestimating them for their own reasons.
There have been people who came to a hospital with some other cause of illness or health problem, and unfortunately, died of that illness or
problem, but upon their death, were checked to see if they tested positive for the COVID-19 virus — as in the case of George Floyd, and if they did, that fact became part of the death certificate and therefore, part of the statistics. This fact alone may cause us to wonder if the statistics for those who have died from the virus are really reflective of the truth.
Statistics are hard to compile coming from so many different sources, and being compiled in so many different ways by so many different people. While there is no doubt that many have died from the virus, we have no way to determine, at this time, if all those who tested positive for the virus and then died, actually died from the virus or from some other cause.
According to the World Health Organization, as of August 4, starting the count from January 20, 2020, there have been 18,142,718 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 691,013 deaths. Statistics show 154,226 deaths in the United States alone, while the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. — those that tested positive — have been as high as 4,629,459.
Reading about statistics may be boring, but they are excruciatingly sad to those caught up in those death statistics, and extremely frightening to those who have been confirmed as having tested positive. And while some people, even if they have no particular reason to believe they have been exposed to the virus and are infected, continue to live in fear. They seldom go out, always wear their mask, and do everything they are supposed to do with diligence and care. They not only do all those things in earnest, they wouldn’t even think of breaking the social distancing rule when no one is looking. Others might break every rule or mandate in the book, living in a devil-may-care fashion and never get sick.The good news is that most people don’t get sick, and of those that do, they do not get very sick, and most recover in a relatively short time.
Whether or not there are any statistics on those who are self-confident as they go through these trying times and those who live in fear as they go through these same trying times, statistics do exist for other purposes on those two different types of individuals.
Guess which type would likely get through them with the least amount of trouble, worry, or actual sickness? But do not let that comment mean that I’m suggesting no one care about taking precautions. It is not for me to tell anyone how to live their life. But it is for all of us to watch out for ourselves and others to avoid unnecessarily putting ourselves in harm’s way.
I started this column by talking about a certain individual who heard the most disheartening comment he could have heard while he was hospitalized recently. We can only imagine how that might project out over the whole country or the whole world if it has the meaning that we believe it might have. But as I mentioned, that will have to wait for next week’s column till I get the story in his own words.
This may be a much shorter column than usual, but when one has said everything it is possible to say about the subject at hand, at the time, there’s no sense in padding it. Please check in next week for the rest of the story, which I sincerely hope I will have by that time.
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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

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