Unpreparedness makes me question

As the government at state and federal levels continues act against the unprecedented coronavirus, this pandemic leaves individuals in communities across the country wondering, “but what do I do if I have it?”

Two weeks ago, I was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

As MCCC closed its physical doors and students began to make transitions to online classes, I did not think I had contracted the virus. However, my symptoms worsened, so I proceeded to search for next steps.

Seeking care is what the government at all levels is instructing citizens to do while experiencing symptoms.

Unfortunately, receiving care may not be as easy as they make it sound.

As I reflected on the past two weeks, I realized there was a chance I could have been in contact with someone with the virus. Even now, two weeks later, the number of cases is rising so rapidly that there is a chance most could come into contact with it.

Since I reside in Toledo, I checked the Toledo Lucas County Health Department’s website for more information.

I was directed continuously to one hotline specifically for “coronavirus concerns.” This was a number directed to a nurse at Mercy Health Hospital.

“Unless you are having symptoms that prohibit you from breathing to a point at which your life is in danger, don’t come in,” she explained to me. “If you must come in, you have to call ahead of time to let us know so we may make proper arrangements.”

I was shocked and horrified.

The health facilities that we are told to look to on a daily basis, even hourly by our governor, had turned me away.

During a time such as this, it is extremely easy to be entranced by the overwhelming global impacts of the coronavirus. Individual citizens, like those of Monroe County, get lost in the chaos.

However, I realize this absolute failure of preparedness and overall organization does not fall directly into the hands of health care providers.

Rather, it falls into the hands of the people.

In a “The next outbreak? We’re not ready,” a TED Talk held by Bill Gates in 2015, Gates stated the greatest risk of global catastrophe was not nuclear war. He said he believed the bigger concern was highly infectious diseases and society has invested little to stop it.

“We’re not ready for the next epidemic,” Gates said.

As a world with a long history of pandemics, we must strive to create leaders that are willing to make the choices that will better prepare us as a nation.

It will be challenging.

It is challenging.

But, it is not impossible.