People do not seem to understand. I didn’t to begin with. 

I was asked to try and explain how serious this was, so a friend could show a friend. I’m tired now and struggled to put this together. I hope it’s coherent.

1000 plus cases now – today saw the biggest rise. It’s out there now, thousands of times more virulent and hundreds of times more deadly than HIV. How would you feel if you got a syringe prick taking out the rubbish. What precautions would you take to protect your family while you waited for the results?

It’s in all our communities now. Some unfortunate, essential key-workers will be the first hit. You’ll know when they disappear from their work-places. When one gets quarantined  they all will, who will keep the food moving then? One or two may never return. Think about that. If statistics hold true for Ireland as elsewhere and are they on course, familiar faces in our community will be gone forever. People do not seem to understand. I didn’t to begin with.

Maybe, last week, while it was still sinking in, non-essential business could be excused for taking precautions and thinking it was OK to carry on but it is not OK anymore. Today the diagnosed cases doubled. Tomorrow it will double again and tomorrow after that and soon the healthcare system will be overwhelmed. The last few days non-compliance to the voluntary social-isolation has almost guaranteed that. Yet cafes remain open, beaches and beauty spots almost overrun. It’s no exaggeration to say I never remember the riverwalk in my town as busy as it was yesterday.

Right now hospitals are coping – there are enough beds. Patients are triaged, clinically calculated, scientifically and rationally;  prioritising who needs the most help using the acuity scale, ensuring as many people as possible survive. The ultimate name of the game.

When overwhelm is reached – like a plane crash – or let’s just say for shits and giggles, an epidemic, the formula used for triage flips. The task is still the same, to save as many people as possible but with insufficient resources the most critical become a hindrance to that aim. Why commit the resources that could save two people on one person in a more critical state? If you were sick with a ten percent chance of survival you could literally be moved out of care for those deemed to have a 50% chance. Civilians brains would explode on the decisions that have to be made on a moment by moment basis.

And yet, these are the decisions that will be made if we don’t buy the health services time. Old people can forget about it at that stage. Israel, it is reported, is no longer handing out ventilators to over sixties. It seems brutal but it’s simple. If a firefighter was committed to a rescue in a burning building and came across your husband and a child, who do you think he’s bringing out? Fates have already been decided depending on the spread this week.  If cases mushroom  before full resources have been mobilised people could  literally be left to die at home.

Enforced lockdown is now certain it seems this but I wonder is it a weekend too late? Hopefully the lattes in the sun were worth it.