COVID-19 virus has arrived in America and it is not a welcome visitor.
Most of us never imagined we would see a time when schools closed, flights were cancelled, restaurants would be closed to dine-in customers and entire cities on lock down.
We are all under CDC guidelines to avoid gatherings of more than ten, any unnecessary trips from our homes and to observe ‘social distancing’ of six feet between us.
While some are afforded the luxury of being allowed to hunker down in our homes to avoid infection, there are people who don’t enjoy the same.
There has been a lot of attention and praise directed toward our healthcare professionals. They deserve it. Right now, they are our first line of defense from the deadly virus.
But there are others who need applause and gratitude as well.
Those grocery store clerks who faithfully show up to work so we can purchase necessities are a blessing. Two states have plans to have them classified as emergency workers which will allow them to receive certain benefits.
We would also be in big trouble without our truck drivers who travel state to state to make deliveries.
There is a movement on social media asking people to step in and make sure truckers can get food. Most drive-throughs do not allow walkups and their rigs wouldn’t fit anyway. They are asking people to volunteer to drive their cars through and get food for the truckers.
Unfortunately, our health care workers are becoming more frustrated with each passing day.
A survey of more than 250 health care providers revealed they have limited access to personal protective equipment needed to protect them against the transmission of germs.
Many reported having to ration or reuse supplies including surgical and N95 masks for fear of running out. Many say they are facing shortages of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
In response to the shortages, the CDC loosened the guidelines on proper use and reuse of masks. The agency recently advised that bandannas and scarves could be used in place of masks.
That doesn’t even make sense as a safety precaution, for them or the patient.
The shortage of testing kits has led New York, California and other parts of the country to restrict testing to healthcare workers and people who are already hospitalized.
They say they listen every day as the White House Coronavirus Task Force tell citizens there is plenty of testing supplies and protective masks. These health care professionals want to know where they are.
Because of shortages, some doctors are only recommending testing if it would change the course of treatment of the patient.
There is an ugly side of the virus being manifested in the form of scams used to rob and potentially harm older, vulnerable people.
One scam involved predators putting leaflets in the doors of elderly people, offering to decontaminate their homes. After gaining access, the home- owners are robbed.
Another involved criminals, who went door to door offering to do an at-home test for COVID-19 in order to get into the home.
There are on-line scammers claiming they have oils, vitamins and even toothpaste that will treat or prevent the virus.
Cyber attackers are sending fraudulent emails claiming to be from the World Health Organization with an urgent message. Once the attachment is opened, they can steal sensitive information from your computer and even infect it with malware that will wipe out the hard drive.
Gun store owners says customers are stock piling everything from rifles to ammunition. The demand became so high, one owner had to implement purchase limits.
Let’s not forget the toilet paper hoarding! As pictures of empty shelves were splashed across social media, people became concerned they would not be able to get it. Never mind that experts report toilet paper is not likely to be used more with the respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19 virus.
People fought and scratched their way to a package. Major retailers say toilet paper hasn’t been out of stock in stores for more than a day or two or even a few hours, so don’t panic.
At least the panic toilet paper buying made some sense. Unless there is evidence the virus can be killed with a bullet, I don’t get the gun thing.
While it is important, we remain vigilant, we must also keep perspective.
When I start to feel sorry for myself, I remember some advice my mother always gave to us. She said, “when you start to feel sorry for yourself, look around. There is always someone who has it worse than you. Pray for them.”
Great advice from a wise woman who had lived through hard times.