Our time has come. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in the United States is on the rise. Dramatically. We have exceeded China and Italy in numbers. The United States is #1.
A distinction we could have done without.
We are at the edge of the precipice. The fall will be long.
New York City is an inkling of what is to come. And New York has not the reached the most horrible. The “worst of times” is yet to come.
The New York Times on 3/27 published an article concerning Italy. It clearly reveals what is ahead. The article is titled We Take the Dead From Morning Till Night.
I share excerpts from the article with you.
“The streets of Bergamo dead.” No noise. “But won’t stop are the sirens.”
“The sirens keep sounding. Like the air raid sirens of the Second World War, they are the ambulance sirens…..The blare louder as they get closer, coming to collect their parents and grandparents, the keepers of Italy’s memory.”
“At this point, all you hear in Bergamo is sirens.”
“Low levels of oxygen in blood.” An extreme danger sign.
“We have seen the worse, and the hospitals are like the trenches of war.”
A war at home. “A night of coughing fits and fever…..I’m sick, I can’t do it anymore.” His temperature 103 and his skin has become yellow.
Ambulance crew members carry oxygen for the sick. “Always with oxygen.”
“One of the biggest dangers for coronavirus patients is hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen…..doctors worry when the number drops below 90.”
Some “coronavirus patients have been found with readings of 50. Their lips are blue…..fingertips violet…..They take rapid shallow breaths and use their stomach muscles to pull in air. Their lungs are too weak.”
“Oxygen has become an essential treatment for victims whose lungs steadily fail.”
Family members who have seen grandparents and parents taken away, don’t cry. “They didn’t have any tears left.”
“Children say goodbye, uncertain whether they would see their father again.”
“Hospitals themselves are not safe.” Some infected.
“Bergamo had to send 400 bodies to other provinces and regions and countries because there is no room for them here.”
“If we had to identify a spark, it was the hospitals.”
“The area of Bergamo, its hospitals are a source of dead.”
“Ambulances are disinfected.”
“We are learning that hospitals might be the main Covid-19 carriers.”
“Ambulances and personnel are infected…..show no symptoms…..spread the virus further.”
“Doctors urged home care and mobile clinics to avoid bringing people to the hospital unless absolutely necessary.”
“Hospitals still admitting up to 60 new coronavirus patients a day……treated for virus…..clinical evidence – the coughs, the low oxygen levels, the fevers – is a better indicator, especially since 30 percent of the tests produced false positives.”
“The hospital had 500 coronavirus patients, who occupied all 90 ICU beds…..a month ago, the hospital had seven such beds.”
“Some patients wear transparent plastic helmets filled with oxygen to help them breathe.”
“The most critical cases are anesthetized and intubated.”
“Since intensive care units have been expanded, ventilators and respirators are in demand.”
“Oxygen flows everywhere through Lombardy hospitals now…..workers constantly pushing carts of tanks around the corridors. A tanker truck filled with oxygen is parked outside.”
“Patients are jammed next to supply closets and in hallways.”
“If people don’t stay at home…..the system will fail.”
“Intensive care unit beds are reserved for patients with a reasonable chance to survive. Old patients…..are not being resuscitated and die alone.”
Sense of taste for food lost. “A frequent complaint among people without symptoms, but who have had close contact with the virus.”
“ICU wards require specialized nurses, who are themselves getting infected, adding to staffing strains.”
“Coronavirus patients occupy all ICU beds.”
“Doctors turn many patients onto their stomachs to relieve pressure on their lungs.”
“So many people are dying so quickly, the hospital mortuaries and funeral workers cannot keep up.”
A funeral director said, “We take the dead from morning till night, one after the other, constantly…..Usually we honor the dead. Now it’s like a war and we collect the victims.”
Few funeral directors left. Coronavirus has made them sick or dead. Those remaining “are like a sponge and…..take the pain of everybody.”
Funeral personnel find it “hard…..to get masks and gloves. They are a category in the shadows.”
“In hospital mortuaries, coffins back up in empty rooms.”
Coronavirus patients are taken to a hospital. The hospital cannot provide them oxygen for several days. Families can’t go with them or see them. “It’s like sending someone to die alone.”
The dead are buried without a religious or civil celebration. “We cannot have a funeral.”
“Cemeteries locked shut.”
“A chilling backlog of coffins waits in a traffic jam for the crematorium inside the cemetery’s church.”
“The dead…..buried or cremated in pajamas and medical gowns they perish in.”
“Bodies often linger in homes for days, as stairs and stuffy rooms become especially dangerous.”
People die at home “because there was no room in the hospitals.”
“All beds are full” one family was told. Woman was 75. The “hospital gave priority to others that were younger.”
“In her last weeks at home, her family struggled to find tanks of oxygen, driving all over the province as she sat facing her garden and the pinwheels she loved.”
Normally, I would end with “Enjoy your Sunday!” A bit difficult at the moment.
However, this too shall pass. The sun always rises.