The daily counts of coronavirus cases and deaths are increasing and the President pretends the situation is not dire at the White House briefings.
But the real deal is the where the virus is being fought – emergency rooms and intensive care units, writes Brian Stelter for CNN.
Seriousness of the pandemic
Does this distort the public’s understanding of the virus? Does the lack of visibility make it hard for some folks to process how serious this pandemic is?
Esther Choo, emergency physician and health care advocate who started the #GetMePPE hashtag last week.
Yes, she said via text, “this whole thing has been hampered by its abstractness. I mean, half the interviews on TV that I’ve seen are totally well people pissed they didn’t get tested.” But they’re not the real faces of this pandemic — the hospitalized patients are.
“The truth is, the sickest patients are terrifying,” Choo said. “They are air hungry, dropping their oxygen, confused, distressed. We can never show that. But it is terrifying.”
Choo put it this way: “What would the zombie apocalypse be like if we only had verbal descriptions of zombies, but could never show them?”
HIPAA restrictions and media ethics issues both stand in the way of having cameras in hospital corridors.
Painting ugly pictures with words
This graf of a must-read NYT story about the surge at NYC hospitals is the closest we can come to seeing inside the ER:
“Rikki Lane, a doctor who has worked at Elmhurst for more than 20 years, said the hospital had handled ‘the first wave of this tsunami.’ She compared the scene in the emergency department with an overcrowded parking garage where physicians must move patients in and out of spots to access other patients blocked by stretchers.”
A Worse Tomorrow
Meredith Case, an internal medicine resident at Columbia, took to Twitter on Wednesday because she said the press “does not reflect our reality.” The deluge of patients “is here,” she wrote in the morning. “Our ICU is completely full with intubated COVID patients.”
At night she signed off with this: “Today was the worst day anyone has ever seen, but tomorrow will be worse. We are on the precipice of rationing. Needless to say, these decisions run counter to everything we stand for and are incredibly painful…”
Apart. Not Alone
It is called “Apart. Not Alone: Finding Common Purpose in a Shared Threat,” and it will come out next Thursday.
The mag’s EIC and CEO Edward Felsenthal writes in his letter to readers: “The world we cover is increasingly tribal and polarized — some studies suggest that empathy itself is in decline — and yet so many of the challenges we face require us to act together.”
“And none more so than this pandemic that is testing our collective strength even in isolation. What does it take to get us to see beyond ourselves, beyond our divisions, and look out for one another?” That’s what he wanted this issue to focus on..” he added.
Trump’s base strategy
Multiple TV networks said it is getting more difficult to book interviews with Trump admin officials about the pandemic. Officials are favoring Fox News and turning down most interview requests from other networks. It seems like a shoring-up-the-base strategy by the White House — in other words, the politicization of a pandemic.
The result: Key admin officials are not being subjected to much-needed scrutiny. And doctors are being drawn into a petty political game.
“There are some people on the task force who actually want to do TV but can’t get any straight answers from the White House or the Vice President’s communications shop, so interviews are falling through the cracks left and right,” a television producer with knowledge of the matter said.
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