Living in the Hot Zone

Disturbing, but not surprising data is available from my home state’s (Maryland) Department of Health reveals that where I live is…

… a “hot zone” for Covid-19 infections. That is, there are more known and reported cases of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus here than in other places in the state. (The image above is for known-and-reported cases of Covid-19 by zip code. The dark blue areas show that highest number of cases in Maryland are in the 3 zip codes where I live [left], where I grew up and went to school [right] and where I lived and own property [lower]. There are other “hot zones” in the state; these are “mine”).

And that is “known and reported” — from testing.

The self-aggrandizing egomaniac narcissist Orange Menace, who appointed himself King of the United States on April 13, says that we have all the tests we need. Bullshit!

Only people who get a doctor’s authorization can get a test, and those people are truly ill. There are thousands of others who have the disease, yet have mild symptoms. They stay home and self-isolate and do not get tested. Thus, many many more people have the disease and can spread it to others who may not fare as well.

Spouse and I are among those at higher risk of death if we contract Covid-19. If we get it, there is a high chance that we would need medical support, which could include (frighteningly) hospitalization and being put on a ventilator. Rates of death once on a vent are high.

While there is a lot of chatter about “flattening the curve,” what that means is:

… the rate at which a population becomes infected makes all the difference in whether there are enough hospital beds (and doctors, and resources) to treat the sick. In epidemiology, the idea of slowing a virus’ spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment at any given time is known as “flattening the curve.” It explains why so many countries are implementing “physical distancing” guidelines. [Source: LiveScience website]

What this phrase does NOT mean is that risk of infection is eliminated. It just means that demand on medical support is reduced and spread out over time.

There are two ways I will know that my risk of contracting this disease is reduced enough to venture out again among others:

  • I get an accurate IgG/IgM immunity test that shows I have immunity to the disease. (I doubt that would be the result if I get this test; I have not had symptoms of this disease since it broke out in late 2019.)
  • I receive an effective vaccine that will build my own immunity.

Notice — since Spouse and I are safe at home and have no real need to travel or go anywhere (other than for me to buy essential groceries) — we are staying put, however long it takes.

It really doesn’t matter if my state’s Governor begins to reduce restrictions that have been put in place for our health and safety. Others may choose to go out, visit businesses, family, and friends (hopefully from a safe physical distance)… but for Spouse and me, we have decided that we will stay home. No exposure means no risk of infection.

This next year will be hard. Being so careful each and every time I go out is hard to remember and to do. But I must and I will. Spouse and I want to enjoy our retirement years safely and in good health. 2020 will, essentially, be a “hold” year. A whole year of holding is daunting, but safest.

Life is short: do what you can to be as safe as possible.