It made me upset and a little worried. A lady from our doctor’s practice called me Wednesday afternoon. She said she called on behalf of our family doctor, and that they following a national government directive. I was reminded that my age is over seventy and that I am being treated for diabetes-2. I was told I should think seriously about what I would want if I got Corona. Would I then, if it was serious, want to go to a hospital and possibly to an ICU, or would I rather stay at home and receive the necessary care? I belong, the lady repeated several times, to the at-risk group and I had to remember that, ‘with my age and my condition’, the results of an ICU treatment would be very doubtful and could well result in little quality of life afterwards.
I don’t blame the lady (whom I had never met) for calling. It must be very unpleasant for her to call a long list of elderly people with this message, which undoubtedly causes a lot of anxiety. We keep hearing in the media that, due to the scarcity of ICU beds in our country, painful choices may soon have to be made and that not everyone will qualify for treatment in an intensive care department. It is also always said that age should not be the most important criterion. But then, why am I called? Is the fact that I have (like millions of others) been on medication for the past fifteen years to keep my diabetes-2 under control a reason to immediately put me on a list of vulnerable elderly people who, unfortunately, may have to die?
A few days ago I read a very interesting and thought provoking article. Budget cuts and a desire to achieve maximum efficiency have everywhere led to the minimization of stocks. A Philips spokesman stressed that the rapid production of large numbers of respirators is hampered by the fact that they depend on 521 parts which they do not make themselves, and which are currently very scarce, as most of their suppliers have sufficient stock. In the event of a sudden peak in demand for certain products, there is no significant buffer and delivery problems arise almost immediately.
It is good that governments are taking measures to help the large groups of people who have run into financial difficulties due to the current crisis, and that companies can also count on support. The immediate need for large-scale measures painfully shows that lots of people have no or hardly any reserves and experience financial distress within a few weeks. And also that many companies do not have a shred of ‘meat on their bones’. If sales are minimal for a few weeks, there is panic. Maybe the current crisis can make us more aware of the irrefutable fact that there is a lot wrong with our current capitalist and consumerist system.
Of course, we are all worried–even if we sit at home in good health and obey all the rules. Keeping a distance of one and a half meters and almost religiously washing our hands with great regularity has almost become the ‘new normal’. But the alarming reports from hospitals and the increasing numbers of Corona deaths don’t leave us unmoved. We are following with dismay what is happening in countries like Italy and Spain. And, we wonder: will it really be true that the United States will see at least a hundred thousand or two hundred thousand Corona deaths? And what will be the consequences of the reckless Brazilian President Bolsonaro? Moreover, what horrors will await the African continent in a few months’ time? And I am thinking, in particular, also of the way Sweden is dealing with the Corona crisis. Is that approach a ticking time bomb and will my grandchildren, who live in Sweden, be safe?
Yes, there is more than enough reason to be seriously worried – about ourselves and our loved ones. But also about all those people who have become ill and/or have lost their jobs or have seen the small company collapse that they have built up with so much effort. Hopefully, our worries will go beyond our own country, and the rich part of the world, with Donald Trump in the lead, will not prioritize the health of the stock markets.
Large numbers of people are anxious. How is this going to end? It is important that we do not infect others around us with a crippling panic and that we continue to hope and trust that the world will defeat this pandemic. Blessed are those who, in these times of uncertainty, can – despite all the questions and possible doubts –find in their faith an anchor that will help them remain spiritually and mentally strong.