It’s Very Personal

From the “This Didn’t Have To Happen” File

There are lots of Covid statistics. There are infection numbers and rates by state, by region, by country, by continent and worldwide. We get the same kind of breakdown for total deaths and for deaths based on whether the deceased were vaccinated. We get vaccination rates with all the same geographic breakdowns.

We get a tally by state of how many ICU beds we’re lacking. We get charts like the one below that shows what’s going on in Covid-infested Florida due to state governmental pigheadedness, intentional ignorance and leadership immorality.

We report things in statistics when the numbers get too big for us to take in any other way, but it’s hard to make full sense of the data. It all remains just numbers, unless one of those people is someone you know or love. Or it’s you.

If the EMTs have to show up at your house to slap an oxygen mask on your face, and if those brave, dedicated front-liners have no place to take the gasping body in their vehicle because the ERs, ICUs, all the patient room beds and even the gurneys in the hallways of the local hospital are occupied, then the numbers aren’t just statistics.

And your body isn’t just a statistic to the docs, nurses and techs who eventually will get to you. Instead, it’s yet more workload dumped onto their exhausted bodies, emotions and souls. That’s personal for all those people and that’s definitely personal for you, as you struggle to breathe.

For everyone directly involved, it’s always personal. It’s as personal as it gets.

A former colleague used to rail against any form of, “Don’t take this personally.” She would say that if you are a person, everything is personal. It’s pretty hard to argue with that. And all of the Covid cases – every single one of them – is personal to someone.

Over the past 547 days there have been over a million cases of Covid-19 and over 13,000 deaths from Covid just in Tennessee. The state has made the news repeatedly since the Delta variant became the predominant strain of this wildfire of a virus.

Tennessee’s doo-doo brain governor, Bill Lee, led the fight against vaccines and masks for kids. He even fired his State Department of Health expert on pandemics in the midst of a pandemic. Now thousands of Tennessee kids are quarantined and over 400 public school children have tested positive for Covid right there in The Volunteer State. I bet none of them volunteered for Covid. Nobody anywhere volunteers for Covid, but people get it anyway.

Worse, those sick kids have very little ability to avoid infecting others. But even with so many kids sick and having to stay home, Tennesseans somehow still aren’t getting the message.

That’s what a fully vaccinated couple discovered last weekend on a trip to Nashville. They had a fine time and were careful to be masked wherever they went. They dined in an elegant restaurant. And this was Nashville, so of course there was live music everywhere, but venues were packed with unmasked people, so they didn’t go in.

Nevertheless, they tested positive for Covid last Wednesday and feel like crap.

Covid got personal real fast and you wouldn’t believe the fear such a diagnosis can ignite instantly. Now it’s not about statistics or rates or numbers. Now it’s about themselves.

That’s how it is for every infected person and for their loved ones.

I’m furious about this and have been thinking about how and where to express my anger. It’s aimed at the governor, the state legislature and the people of Tennessee who refuse to deal with the lethal reality facing all of us. It’s aimed at the mask and vaccine refusers who think their right to absolute freedom is more important than whether others, like this couple, get sick from them or even die.

And my anger is aimed at Trump and his slimy, sycophantic suck-ups (yes, I know that’s redundant) who lied so terribly about this disease and caused it to spread when it could have been  contained. And I have suspicions aimed at people in airports and on airplanes who are sloppy in their Covid hygiene or who were knowingly sick but traveled anyway and perhaps sat next to others and coughed next to their faces.

And I’m mad as hell at the refusers who spread this awful disease.

You’re damn right that this didn’t have to happen. And you’re damn right that it’s personal.

Covid isn’t a statistic. It’s about people like you and your parents and siblings and your kids and their kids. It’s very personal.


I couldn’t find this kind of chart for Nashville, but the Nashville story and chart would look pretty much the same and for the very same reasons. Be sure to read the text and especially the last sentence.

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4 Responses to It’s Very Personal
  1. Edward Kant Reply

    Best wishes to you and your family.

    I have a daughter who is a Board-certified General Surgeon and she has not yet been vaccinated. It scares the s@#t out of me to think she might become infected.

    I cannot imagine what you are going through with your son and grandson. Thinking of you in this dark hour.

  2. Marti Swanson Reply

    Thanks for sharing your trauma, Jack. Prayers for your entire family as you battle this unholy demon. Virtual hugs heading your way!