My Readers… I wrote “The Angry Man – COVID19” with appreciation of personal risk related to the readers of this current and highly emotional discussion. I also considered the temptation of some to classify this article as “Conspiracy theory” which often groups unconventional and unconstrained sharing of ideas. In the end, I decided to publish this opinion paper that some will agree with and others will not. My hope is that you take the time to read it and that you consider its content with your objectivity (experiences and education you have acquired). My optimism is ever present in individuals and organizations where leadership is constantly critically learning through active measures to acquire knowledge. — Jim
I don’t know about you, but I am starting to get my dander up every time I hear that we need to “Shelter in Place” for the goodness of all humanity. If we don’t follow that instruction, death will happen, and it is a certainty. If it is not you that dies, you will bear the guilt of the “Carrier” or be the cause of another’s demise. And yes, that person, “You” killed, will most likely have been old or have some type of affliction that made their previous life at least a bit more miserable than yours. How dare you! How did we get here? It is like the perpetual optimism I usually enjoyed has left my brain and has been replaced by a cynical and artificially directed member of an ant hill. It may be this home security prison that is getting to me or the ever-building distrust I am gaining by observing the airwaves. Personal and destructive agendas wrapped in a caring tone of voice seem to be exploiting emotional distress for gain. COVID19, I know you are an enemy of the Nation and world, but I believe you pale in comparison to those devious in power using your existence to strengthen themselves.
Men have created things about COVID19 that tick me off. The initial predictions for infections and mortality changed, a lot. That, followed by changing definitions for how to count the dead and diagnosed are the most perplexing and frustrating in the spotlight for me. I am paying attention to these things like most Americans. How can an epidemiologist go from predicting 2 million to under 60 thousand deaths for the USA within two months with the same considerations of social distancing? To my scientists: that science is not trustworthy and should embarrass the college that graduated you! I am angered since I feel as if we as a Nation are being led like helpless sheep by persons or groups with influence and something to gain which is not in the vast majorities best interest. “They” would sell their soul to improve or secure their position. Is it right to cause panic across the entire realm of what we used to call rationality of society? Can the number of ICUs or hospital staff ever be large enough to keep every patient alive? We are all mortal, right (sorry for the cynicism)?
On April 16, 2019 the CDC redefined what deaths will be counted as COVID19 deaths. The newest change will now include those patients in the COVID19 cause of death pile if their death is suspected to be associated with COVID19. This is like washing away other mortality causes to a large extent since most who die in ICUs today require breathing assistance and many perish from pneumonia-like symptoms. In fact, hospitals have tracked a specific measure of quality called Hospital Acquired Pneumonia (HAP) for years now wanting to make sure hospitals were not the place pneumonia was acquired because of an unsterile environment. Pneumonia, noted upon admission, impacts many deaths of patients admitted for the top causes of death in the nation. Pneumonia will likely not be listed as the primary cause of death if the bodily systems were already weakened by failing systems (i.e. Heart failure). COVID19 will seemingly now trump other causes of death primary diagnoses even when weak bodily system created a mortal opportunity. Will the COVID19 presumptive diagnosis capture all those previously deemed pneumonia’s and jettison COVID19 in the ranking of primary causes of death? I think it is likely. Being isolated is an expectation while an ICU patient and the intensity ration of staff for care is very high. While we change our diagnostics to add new groups into the COVID19 category we must realize reimbursement for care, vents, etcetera is highly linked to these diagnostics. This environment in our hospital system will lure staff (clinicians and administrators) to target the right diagnosis that leads toward the money.
Political posturing should make everyone on this planet furious. Budget proposals including right and left wing add-ons without association to defeating COVID19 or helping the public affected by its presence are prevalent. Name calling is quickly the tact of elected leaders versus working to find amicable solutions. Leadership divides along party lines without consideration of debate or credibility of arguments. There is a self-centeredness larger than ever before in history based on “Power.” Federal, State and County Leaders are examined prejudicially or preferentially based on the Republican or Democrat suit they wear. Within our largely two-party system we have forgotten that dignity and respect must be the first choice when being leaders. Listening and evaluating different points of view focused on a topic can elevate a common man to be redefined as a cooperative and learning leader. Many have lost the gift of maturity that enables older folks to show attention without expressing insubordinance through appearance or action. Has it become an impossible task to try to appreciate the stress of a leader trying to make the best decision for all, without critically and immediately looking at the shortfalls of the plan? Blindly following is foolish and insincere loyalty is mutiny. So where does that leave us? I think the politicians are putting us in “their” middle, forcing policies they believe in into the center of COVID19. Isn’t it time their motivations change from reelection to serving even those who do not go to the polls.
The collective media has become one of my most despised sources of information even though there is virtually no other alternative. They intentionally dramatize singular cases of COVID19 and glorify their coverage in a self-promoting way that is undignified. For instance, the smallest fraction of hospitalized patients who had no comorbidities along with their COVID19 are focused upon. I must believe this is to incite individual fear in the general population hinting, “This could be you”, if you do not abide by the new stay at home rules. Multiple correspondents have used COVID19 to tell their personal story of struggle from home. The most maddening is one from CNN who without a doubt needed to be the main character in the COVID19 story after he contracted the disease. His connection with the Governor of New York, gave him an inside scoop to COVID19, but clearly the concentrated story is of himself. We know he had a fever. We know he claims suffering. We know he had a social isolation argument with his neighbor. Oh, might I add; we know he was not “Sick enough”, at least physically, to be hospitalized. And now, we know he needed to continue “His” story, so he is now following his wife’s COVID19 struggle. This is only one reporter making me ashamed to have watched even one of his pity party newscasts. Sadly, I think some of those reporters, like him, might hope of being hospitalized and taken as close to death as possible for their career developmental story.
From me, who thought I was the “Angry man” when I started this piece, I am glad I got the words out of my head and onto paper. I can’t believe that I am the only American that has had their “Optimism protection system” weakened by the peripheral annoyances of COVID19. Maybe that should be listed as a new symptom? I will drive on collecting factual and comparative data to make good decisions that are informed by common sense, objectivity and reason. I’ve decided to double-down on not being a thoughtless drone receiving the news or guidance knowing that my outlook and lens play a part in the interpretation and outcome. I am optimistic and so should you be. It looks like a nice day out so I think I am going to go for a run.
“To Lead is a Privilege, to Think is a Responsibility” – Jim Laterza