The focus on deaths in COVID-19 is not telling the entire picture. Overall mortality and deaths are low, although not trivial in the elderly or those with co-morbidities.
Low death rate is cited as the reason people don’t think masking and limiting large gatherings are important. From the beginning of COVID, these are necessary to “flatten” the curve. Health care is not an unlimited resource, and when stretched, timeliness and quality of care are at risk.
We have seen a large surge of hospitalized patients in Lincoln, partially because of local patients but also transfers from surrounding areas. We have been able to handle this because Lincoln has an outstanding healthcare system which has been proactive from the beginning.
Capacity is made up of space, stuff and staff. I worry about the staff in the coming months if we don’t take this more seriously. Look at Wisconsin; their weak link currently is staff in dealing with their current COVID crisis. Once a COVID patient is admitted, they tend to be hospitalized for weeks, especially when admitted to ICU. When census is high, it is emotionally and physically exhausting to staff and contributes to burnout.
My plea is that we all come together and make the choices to limit the spread to protect hospital staff. You may not be a “vulnerable” individual but your actions could facilitate a chain of transmission to reach a vulnerable one amongst us. Make good choices and don’t be a soft target.