Mask or No Mask

From a Google Image Search – The Conversation

Wear a mask, don’t wear a mask – there are Americans who think this is a personal choice. But what if it’s not? What if wearing a mask is about the future of healthcare in America.

Here is a list of COVID patients hospitalized on Dec. 2, 2020 by state:

Alabama 1,801, Alaska 164, Arizona 2600, Arkansas 1088, California 9365, Colorado 1995, Connecticut 1202, Delaware 273, DC 165, Florida 248, Georgia 2044, Hawaii 54, Idaho 446, Illinois 5764, Iowa 462, Kansas 1196, Kentucky 1768, Louisiana 1288, Maine 138, Maryland 1578, Massachusetts 1259, Michigan 4266, Minnesota 704, Mississippi 1135, Missouri 2651, Montana 478, Nebraska 869, Nevada 1652, New Hampshire 162, New Jersey 3287, New Mexico 940, New York 3924, North Carolina 2039, North Dakota 316, Ohio 5208, Oklahoma 1782, Oregon 620, Pennsylvania 408, South Carolina 911, South Dakota 931,Tennessee 2744, Texas 9109, Utah 584, Vermont 33+, Virginia 1860, Washington 981, West Virginia 622, Wisconsin 1780, Wyoming 234

Those numbers are just current hospitalizations as of Dec. 2 but go to the article and look at the cumulative numbers. That’s 85,128 hospital beds full in America. Every bed requires a team of medical professionals, more if the bed is in the ICU.

*Will our doctors, nurses, and staff be “burned out”? There is not a factory turning out more health professionals unless we get really good robots really soon. It takes time to train healthcare professionals. Would you trade in a flesh and blood nurse or doctor for a virtual presence? Perhaps in addition to, but not instead of. Healthcare workers have been amazing but will they suffer PTSD when this is all over? Will they decide to find a less emotionally draining profession, or even just a job? 

*What will happen to the back-up of patients who couldn’t get hospital treatments they needed, except in extreme emergencies, or perhaps not even then?

*We may have learned more about what hospitals need in terms of PPE, equipment, and disinfecting. Will we continue to stockpile this stuff once a couple of years have passed?

*Many small hospitals were almost ready to close before they temporarily were restored to hectic life. Won’t these smaller hospitals breathe their last when this pandemic is over?

*This government’s accounts of procedures, preparations, an index of equipment and hospital supplies necessary for future pandemics cannot be very complete or helpful. Who will do that new pandemic instruction manual?

*What kind of bills will patients be left with for things government or private health care refuses to cover? How many bankruptcies will result from hopelessly big medical bills?

*Can we think of any meaningful, tangible ways we could reward healthcare workers to thank them and make it worthwhile to stay in the field? Will we make funds available to workers who need help with their mental health? I’m sure I haven’t thought of everything. Feel free to add your thoughts.

*We owe a great debt to so many.

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