New York City has now earned the dubious distinction of being the epicenter of the pandemic. I know 6 people whose doctor’s believe they are sick with COVID19, though without the ability to test anyone unless they are incapable of breathing on their own, it’s impossible to verify, and another handful of people who are sick and suspect they have it, but again, have no way of knowing for sure.
What I do know is that here in New York City we are a population of more than eight and a half million people, living tooth by jowl, and like the rest of the population in the US, had hoped all of this would pass us by. Except it didn’t. And here we are.
At least a week before my gym closed I developed a cough, had some other weird symptoms and called my doctor’s office. I asked if I should be concerned and if it was worth getting tested, just to be safe, but was told they had been sent 10 tests, as had all private practices in New York City, with no indication of when or if they would be receiving more. Ten tests for a practice that sees thirty times that many patients in less than a week.
Obviously my rookie symptoms were not a high priority and so I began self quarantining, before it had become a thing. But it did make me wonder at the whole – Have you traveled to China? Have you been in contact with someone who tested positive? – the litmus test for knowing whether one should worry. The first question was easy to answer, Nope, haven’t been to China in the last month, but the second question was a bit harder, because technically, no, I hadn’t been around anyone who’d tested positive, on the other hand, I hadn’t met anyone who had been able to get tested period, so how was that even a question anyone could accurately answer? How can we know how many people are carriers? How many people are asymptomatic? Wouldn’t this be good to know? In fact, isn’t this essential information to have?
I meant to write an upbeat piece about how we New Yorkers are resilient in the face of difficulties, but once I began writing, that idea took a back seat, because what we are experiencing in New York City right now is what much of the United States may be facing in the coming weeks. And while most of us will be just fine, there are a lot of people who aren’t and won’t be, particularly those who are on the front lines trying to save lives. To all those people – please know that we are staying home thinking about you and appreciating all the risks you are taking for us.
I leave you with some lovely photos taken on my walk with my husband over the weekend, which was the last time I stepped outside, donning the now mandatory face mask and latex disposable gloves, our new normal when venturing out these days. Stay healthy and safe everyone.