A Year Later…

Covid Memorial

I really wish I didn’t feel compelled to write about Covid.

I wish that this damn virus was in the rear-view mirror instead of front-page news. Again.

But hospitals are filling up—again.  People are dying—again.

According to the Surgeon General —and most of the medical and scientific community— there is no reason for people to be dying. If this is something you don’t believe, fine. You should probably stop reading right about now.

But if you are on the fence, I’m going to try gently to convince you to take the leap and get the shot.

Here’s the pitch.
We have a vaccine and if you take it, the statistics tell us that you won’t die.

That’s it.

It’s a straightforward value proposition.

I know people— including a lifelong friend— who take issue with what I just wrote. They will not change my mind and I will not change theirs either. This is where we are as a society these days—locked into our positions, identified by our tribes and in possession of our own “facts.” For the record, I believe my sources and I think theirs are full of crap.

There….it’s out of my system.

But my friends, Democracies can’t last too long in this kind of atmosphere. Democracies rely on the acceptance of objective facts, a healthy regard for science and the rule of law. Yes, we have a right and an obligation to question things, but after a while we should opt toward the evidence.

Democracy also relies on freedom.

We wield that word like a cudgel these days. Some people view mandates as restrictions on our freedoms—and they are.

But freedom also comes with responsibility. We have a responsibility to others. We have never been able to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. There have always been rules of the road.

As the old saying goes: My right to swing my arms in any direction ends where your nose begins.

I fear sometimes that we forget that fundamental pillar. You do not have a right to get others sick.

But this isn’t another piece for the culture wars. It’s testimony.

A year ago, I was in Bethesda Hospital with Covid and double pneumonia. The virus almost took my life.

I didn’t want to let on at the time, but I did not think I was getting out of there alive. A lot of people on my medical team would have agreed.

At the time, Covid took everything from my breath and my strength to my ability to think, walk and take care of myself. Spending six weeks flat on your back in a hospital with a mask on your face, attached to hoses and ports is a traumatic experience. You are left alone with your thoughts and your fears; the days go on and on and on. And the nights are terrifying.

I’m reliving the experience through the “memory” feature on Facebook. I was blessed with a daily dose of kind messages from friends who live near and far.

When all you can do is hold a phone that proved to be a lifeline and a source of inspiration at a time when I desperately needed both.

So here I am a year later.

Back to work.

Back to the gym.

Back home with my family.

But things aren’t the same.

My perspectives have changed, I hope in a good way. You learn to appreciate life more than ever when you almost lose it.

It took me a full 10 months to feel anything like my former self physically and as I take inventory a year later, I have to say that things have changed for me and millions of others.

I can’t sleep well.

I’m tired.

My brain is not as foggy, but my memory is not as sharp.

My joint pain is gone (and it was awful) and I stopped losing my hair, but my breathing is just not right.

Every day, for parts of the day, I feel like I can’t take a deep breath.

It feels like there’s cotton in my lungs, an obstruction that comes and goes. It’s hard to explain.

And I am one of the lucky ones.

I share this because I want you to know that Covid is real, very dangerous and more than a little mysterious.

It affects people in different ways. My wish is for people to live their lives, but to be aware and to try and do the things it takes to stay safe.

The best thing you can do is to get a vaccine.

That’s the bottom line my friends. Sent with love and concern. No need to send me your theories on Fauci, magnets, 5G, Bill Gates etc. I’m not interested. I’ve read about those theories and I’m comfortable that they have been debunked. Bottom line: I trust the science. And if you’ve read this far, I’ve warned you.

This is for the people on the fence, and I know a few. I hope you take the leap. I will help you take the leap if you want.

This is about all of us. Let’s stamp this darn thing out before we get a variant that comes back to bite us all. This one already is—especially here in Florida. The next variant may elude the vaccine’s protection.

By my math, more Americans have died of Covid in the past 17 months than in four years of the bloody Civil War. Enough already.


A Year Later…..

Poignant memorials to those we lost to Covid-19 sprung up all over the nation.

Last week, we marked the one year anniversary of Covid-19.

It’s impossible to quantify what’s happened to our world since last March when the first cases of coronavirus emerged. So much has changed.

So much loss.

So much pain.

We watched the various tributes and news reports recounting the last year’s toll in stunned silence. We have lost more than 534,000 Americans. It’s just staggering.

Covid has touched all of us in so many ways.

We’ve experienced fear, grief, anxiety and frustration.

Then there’s the economic devastation.

The closed and damaged businesses, the lost jobs, the social loneliness and isolation. The damage to our children’s education’s and psyches.

It’s been overwhelming and enveloping.

And terribly, terribly sad.

We miss our old lives: friends, family, travel, shows, dining out, being with other people.

Like any cataclysmic event, the pandemic has focused our hearts and minds.

A year later we revere health care professionals, marvel at science and have gained deep respect for essential workers. We’re also grateful for the technology that has allowed us to stay somewhat connected.

Our world has changed, I believe forever.

Some of it’s good; I’m so glad to see nurses and teachers getting the props they deserve.

Public health is in the spotlight and hopefully will get the investment it so sorely needs.

I’m hoping that when we get back to normal we will have a deep appreciation for the little things, which by the way, are really the big things.

The year anniversary of the start of the pandemic marks seven months since I left the hospital after my bout with the virus.

And I can share that my life is not the same.

Everything feels more precious.

Every little thing.

And fragile too.

I used to think in years and decades, now I think in terms of moments. I’m not sure I’m saying that quite right but let’s just say that the simplest things are filling me up these days.

A lazy afternoon sitting outside with friends and reminiscing, a text from a childhood friend linking me to a great article, a short weekend away to see our son play hockey and meet a new girlfriend, time with family, listening to music and reading is suddenly more appealing to me than any exotic experience I can imagine.

And I don’t think I’m alone.

I believe COVID has focused many of us on what’s important and while we miss “normal” we also realize that normal was very hectic and maybe not as appealing as we thought it was.

But oh my has this damn virus extracted a price.

Having experienced Covid’s insidious power, I find myself very moved by the stories I read, see and hear.

The heroism of health care workers, the loss of special people —each soul indispensable.

The pain of long haulers, those still experiencing symptoms months after their infections. I am one of those people. It hasn’t been fun.

But we’re alive. So many aren’t. We can enjoy those special moments. And for that and a million other reasons I’m grateful.

Please stay safe. We have lots more to do and a better world to create.


One year stats:

29.2 million cases in the United States

534k deaths.

32,254 deaths in Florida

126k cases in Palm Beach County

2,546 deaths in Palm Beach County

120mm cases worldwide

2.65 million deaths worldwide