My old boss, former United States Senator and later Governor of Connecticut, Lowell Weicker used to say, the mark of a great country is not how it treats its richest citizens, but how it treats its most vulnerable. Yesterday, we witnessed President Donald Trump emerge from Walter Reed Hospital, chopper on Marine One back to the White House, stride across the lawn, mount some stairs, stand on a balcony like an emperor and then rip off his face mask and smile (smirk depending on your view). The same man earlier tweeted "Don't Be afraid of COVID. Don't let it dominate your life." He later declared that COVID was less of a threat to people than the simple flu. (COVID has already killed more Americans than the last five flu seasons combined.)
In a matter of days, he had gone from a man with a high fever, needing oxygen to again assume the throne of the most powerful man in the world. While in the hospital, he had received world class care, including two drugs typically reserved for the sickest COVID patents and an experimental monoclonal antibody "cocktail" not yet approved by the FDA and unavailable to nearly everyone else.
Some have speculated he never had COVID and this was a political stunt. I don't believe that, given the ridicule he has faced oer being infected as well as the high number of people who were apparently infected at the rose garden "superspreader event." Others are not so sure he is recovered. We know from experience that it is in the later stages 7-14 days post infection often after the person has started to feel better that COVID sinks its teeth in and hauls down its prey.
Let's hope that's not the case here.
I write this because a nation is not its leader, it is its people. Hear the drumming. 210,000 dead and counting. Nationwide we mourn those we have lost. Millions more still sick with long roads ahead and for some no recovery from permanent damage. But don't let it dominate your life. Today Anthony Faucci warns we could lose another 200,000 this winter if we are not careful.
As we in EMS have learned over the years to look through the eyes of our patients, so should we as a nation look through the eyes of our citizens.
Empathy, Compassion, Kindness, these are the traits of which we, as a nation, should strive for and be most proud.
Stay safe out there.