So. Coronavirus. I was one of those people, before a single case had been identified in NY, at Costco buying a bunch of non-perishable foods. Like beans. And pasta. And mac and cheese (which I belatedly realized needs milk).I also bought more ibuprofen than I could ever use. Before I had bought some a month ago, the bottle we were using had expired in 2018. Now, I could supply the world. I also bought toilet paper. I don’t know if we are having the toilet paper panic here on the North Fork like in Hawaii but better to be safe than sorry.
It was really a pitiful pile of stuff when I got it home. But we would likely not starve if we were quarantined for two weeks. My son was feeling a little nervous with my stash. But I told him that hopefully, this is unnecessary. That we will happily be eating a case of black beans during the summer. Unquarantined.
But then there is the part of me that worries. Constantly. And while I have no great love for this Administration, and their initial response seemed to be disjointed, I really felt some relief when it was announced that a million tests would be available by the end of the week. I am one of those people with the sneaking suspicion that while we were closing borders, the virus was already here because it doesn’t really care about the borders. Or if they are closed. It is coming to be with us. But then it turned out that the million number was kind of made up. Apparently while tests may be made available, labs can only actually test about 5,000 a day so if a million tests are available and a million people are tested, it is going to take some time to get those test results back. Given the stretching of truth. None of this made me feel any better. Or safe.
Then in NY, the Governor stated that the state is going to prohibit insurers from charging co-pays and co-insurance for testing and treatment. And that is great. But it really doesn’t solve the problem of the uninsured. And it is a fabulous argument for socialized medicine. Because, if we had socialized medicine, you know who would not be afraid to go to the doctor for treatment or testing because they can’t afford it? No one! Because everyone would be covered. But today, the folks who serve your food, clean your hotel rooms and drive your rides. Those folks may be uninsured. They may not have sick leave. They may be the sole bread winners in their homes. They will not be visiting the doctor even if they are sick. They will not be calling in sick even if they are sick. They will be out in the community working and infecting others. Maybe even you. Or someone you love. Or someone who is already ill. Or someone who is as old as my mom.
So maybe think about that in the context of the upcoming elections. This Administration continues to chip away at the Affordable Care Act. To remove protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. And maybe Medicare for All is not for you. But just about anything would be better than where we are headed today. I understand that the government can’t do everything but I would like to feel like it is doing everything that it can instead of everything that benefits them.
Wash your hands. Sneeze into your arm. Stay home if you are sick. Go to the doctor if you are having difficulty breathing. Take care of each other.