Saturday, June 6, 2020

COVID-19; Where do we go from here.

April 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Ent., Health, News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( I’ve spent almost the last two weeks quarantined. Not going outside, not having any contact with people, in pain, hoping that all would be well. Like mana across the US, I’m presumptively positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has taken the world by storm. The reason I say presumptively is because I was not tested for the virus. I was tested for flu and pneumonia among other potential issues and they all came back negative and since I am neither a celebrity or rich I never believed I was going to be tested in the first place. For reference I am not Sean Payton not am I Idris Elba, two individuals who tested positive for the virus even though by their own accounts they showed no symptoms but did come in contact with someone who tested positive.

While I, a regular person who was struggling to breathe for days was told that I didn’t meet the criteria for testing. Among the respiratory issues I had joint pain, fatigue, I could barely finish a sentence without running out of breath, chest and abdominal pain but, because at the time I did not have a fever of 101.4, I was not absolutely sure I had came into contact with someone that had it, I work in sales with the general public I’m sure I have at some point and I had no underlying conditions I did not meet the criteria.

In spite of all the symptoms and the clear negative on the other tests that were performed I was sent home with a “come back if you feel worse.” Now I will say this, I don’t blame the hospital, the nurses, the doctors, I really don’t. It’s the government’s fault. For weeks this virus spread like a wildfire across the Eastern hemisphere, first China, then Europe and now the US. The President sat on his hands. Dismissed this as a run of the mill flu like virus that would come and go. Many of his base followers believed him. Until that was no longer true. Our country has ground to a halt. Businesses shuttered, citizens unemployed, the future uncertain. The real question is where do we go from here?

I wouldn’t say I’m some great patriot. I file my taxes late, don’t care for the current administration and mostly disagree with the direction the country is headed in. I do love where I’m from, I recognize that we have freedoms here in the United States that many other countries don’t have. I also recognize that for everyone of those freedoms there is or was an underlying system of oppression that had to be or needs to be rooted out. I grew up in New Orleans, home to jazz and amazing food. People who smile and greet you even if you are a stranger. People who will listen to your stories like they’re their own and embrace you as if you’re family after having met you less than an hour ago. It’s also the home to systematic racism, colorism, classism, and a whole host of different types of discrimination.

From the streets you grew up on, the ward you’re from and the school you went to. Discrimination has been instilled in us the same way our family recipes have. Into the very marrow of our bones. I look at our current plight and hope we learn something from this. The time for discrimination is long past. Viruses don’t discriminate, black, white, Hispanic, old, young, immigrant or not. Thousands all over the world have died. Children and grandparents, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters. This virus did not discern rich or poor, have or have not, light skin or dark. It killed without care for the divisions we have created.

I’ve contemplated my life much in the last two weeks. First and foremost, will I have one when all this is over? My pain was excruciating, I felt as if a weight was on my chest that wouldn’t leave. The fear of my lungs filling with fluid as I lay home seemingly not important or rich enough to be tested. The possibility of my organs shutting down as I felt pain tear throughout my body daily. The times when it was hard to get up to use the restroom and wash my hands. When conversations with family and friends were difficult because I couldn’t breathe halfway through them.

Here’s the conclusions I’ve come to. I no longer have faith in our country. As a whole our government is a failed experiment in politics that benefits the few at the expense of the many. We and by we I mean the everyday citizen, the ones living check to check, deciding which bill to pay on time and which you can pay late, making the decision between you eating and your children eating, those of us out of work because we are not essential employees who make a tenth of what our elected officials in D.C. make and work more hours and have to suffer the consequences of their selfish decisions, we have to change things. We have to run for every office available at every level until this government actually looks like us. We need to take responsibility for our lives and the lives of those around us until there is no place for the systematic viruses that have spread throughout our world for generations to survive anymore. I’m not entirely sure what that looks like.

Frankly I just want to make it out of quarantine and get back to work. Because like many of us, my bills will still be due, my landlord will look for their rent, my lights will still need to be paid whether the are turned off or not and I’ve fought too hard to lose what I have now. I don’t have much faith in the government, but I do have faith in us. In people like me who make hard decisions everyday just to get by. I have faith that if enough of us work together we can truly change things. I may not know how but I know we can.

Staff Writer; Martin Denesse

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