COVID-19 is here and it is having a major impact.
Now, much of that impact is with regard to the fear it’s creating. People are shutting down everything out of concern over the disease. As a result, our entire economy is teetering on the brink of collapse. If we’re not careful, the pandemic might well become the least of our worries.
Yet, despite all the fear, COVID-19 isn’t as bad as it could be.
I’ve written a couple of times about what things are like in my hometown. We’re one of the worst-hit cities in the nation on a per capita basis, yet the state of Georgia still has our fatality rate as just a bit over three percent as of this writing. Now, that’s not good, but it could be worse.
Despite this, our local hospital–a facility that’s spent years striving to be a state-of-the-art hospital on par with what you’d find in much larger cities–has been overwhelmed.
Here are some numbers released yesterday afternoon.
As of noon Tuesday, these were all Phoebe-related COVID-19 test results:
- Total Positive Results – 150
- Total Positive Deaths – 11
- Total Positive Patients in Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 31
- Total Positive Patients in Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 1
- Total Positive Patients in Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 0
- Total Positive Patients at Home – 107
- Total Inpatients Awaiting Test Results at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital – 78
- Total Inpatients Awaiting Test Results at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center – 17
- Total Inpatients Awaiting Test Results at Phoebe Worth Medical Center – 1
- Total Other Patients Awaiting Test Results – 1039
- Total Negative Results – 163
Now, these numbers for hospitalization are down from what we were hearing earlier in the crisis, thankfully, but they’re still a lot. No one understands why the disease is spreading here in town like it has, so the CDC has sent people down here to take a look.
Yet all indications are COVID-19 is a naturally-occurring virus that simply made the jump to humans and spread from there.
But what if it weren’t?
What if instead of a really nasty case of the flu, we were faced with something far more deadly? Particularly something man-made and intentionally delivered to the United States?
What if we were to be targeted with a bioweapon attack.
COVID-19 has revealed a couple of problems that simply need to be addressed, particularly should we be faced with anything more lethal. Far too many hospitals became swamped, this despite the United States actually being the best-prepared country for a pandemic like COVID-19.
We may have been the most prepared, but we’re not really prepared. Not as a nation, and we need to get prepared.
We’re fortunate that COVID-19 isn’t more deadly than it is. That allows hospitals to just treat the more seriously ill and allow the rest to go home and rest so they can recover. Had it been something with more lethality, that might not have been an option. Our somewhat overloaded healthcare system would likely collapse under the weight.
And it’s not just biological warfare that could cause that kind of an issue. A true pandemic of something natural like Ebola would do the same thing, as well as make the current panic look like child’s play.
Look, we’re going to get through this disease and the accompanying economic disaster looming on the horizon. We’ll make it through because we’re Americans. It’s what we do.
But we also need to adjust fire on our healthcare system. Hospitals need to learn from this. Those that are swamped need to figure out how to implement greater capacity should it be needed.
More than that, though, our supply lines are far too easily taxed. A panic created a nationwide shortage of toilet paper, for crying out loud, and stores are still having difficulty getting enough in to restock the shelves. This is with truckers running all-out and factories producing as much as they can.
Individuals need to understand the importance of maintaining supplies and monetary savings. They need to learn from this and recognize that SHTF moments aren’t necessarily going to be the way they envisioned it. They need supplies for diseases like N95 masks and gloves on top of whatever else they keep on hand.
And yes, we need to become a nation of preppers. We need an entire country filled with people who have months or more of food stored away. We apparently need an entire nation filled with folks who have plenty of toilet paper stashed as well.
We need to change.
We don’t need to change who we are as a nation, but we do need to come to understand that our supply lines aren’t infinite and we’d best not count on them always running smoothly.
COVID-19 isn’t the end of the world. But it just might be an important wakeup call for a lot of us.