Friday, June 26, 2020

We Have Met the Enemy

And he is our indifference to the "other":

The rising numbers at our hospital may lag behind the rise in cases. I’ve long marvelled at the necessary tolerance of the uninsured. Nearly twenty per cent of Houstonians lack insurance—the highest proportion in any large American city. Some uninsured patients, who can’t receive regular dialysis at a clinic, visit our emergency room three times a week; beforehand, they eat bunches of bananas or slurp the sludge of canned tomatoes to push their potassium levels to dangerous heights—a nutritional hack that guarantees that they will receive dialysis immediately. I’m finding that some of my patients are exhibiting the same level of tolerance with covid-19. Many say that they have suffered from fever and shortness of breath for a week, maybe two, before coming in for care.
And the view from the ICU:

At Ben Taub [the county hospital in the Texas Medical Center], we are already confronting the realities of completely full I.C.U.s. In Hail Mary fashion, we are bringing to bear all of the resources that the regular, medical-surgical floor has to offer while we wait for I.C.U. beds to open. On a night shift last week, I added a spray of saline to a patient’s high-flow oxygen, delivered via nasal cannula, in the hope that the slightest bit of moisture could help stave off the need to intubate. Whenever I hear a Code Blue called over the P.A. system, my reaction is split: I lament what’s happening to a patient in cardiopulmonary arrest, and I think immediately of a patient in waiting, wondering whether this announcement means that an I.C.U. bed will soon become available.
And then today, in the White House:

It's inarguably stupid, is all that assertion is.

Now, even with our low levels of testing, the surge in Texas is impossible to miss. Since Memorial Day, Texas Medical Center hospitals have seen a thirty-six-per-cent increase in admitted covid-19 patients; the number of infections citywide has grown by a hundred and fifty per cent. Texas Medical Center’s I.C.U.s were at ninety-eight-per-cent capacity this week. Three weeks from now, if these trends continue, the city’s I.C.U.s will be overwhelmed.
Texas hasn't increased testing one jot; but the number of cases, and more importantly the number of poeple needing ICU care, has steadily increased.  Then again, this is also the view from 'The Top:"

Um, has the VP looked at the news today?

Maybe our indifference is the enemy, but it doesn't help to have Bozos in charge in Washington:
You know how quicksand is made, right? Water source below, water source above, and just the right ratio of soil to water. I think we're reaching that point, as a country. Part of it is systemic; part of it is because of who's in charge. Then again, we did that, too: deciding four years ago it didn't really matter who was in charge, because government didn't really matter.

Welcome to our nightmare.  The thing we have to fear is not fear itself; it's us.

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