Letter to the Editor: Reflection on September 11, COVID-19

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September 11, 2020 - Today is the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Everyones thought go back to that day every year. I was very concerned about my brother that still works in the Pentagon. I remember being at work at the local hospital feeling on edge watching bits and pieces of the coverage going in and out of patient rooms. 

That sense of low-level panic and concern went on for days and weeks even after I found out my brother was safe because our nation and our fellow countryman were lost and injured and the repercussions of that day would be with us for a long time.

Other events have given me similar periods of unrest. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for example, seeing the devastation and knowing the loss day after day was unsettling and my heart went out to those people. The effect on the local area went on for weeks with Rita. People really came together to help the evacuees, the people affected locally and worked hard to get our lives back to normal. It was a stressful time but a time I look back on and take pride in the response by officials, healthcare and other essential workers and the citizenry.

I feel that sense of panic and unrest now. I have felt it since March and it seems it will be with us for a long time to come. The source is the current crisis, Covid-19. People I know and people I care for have been ill, died and been financially effected. Covid-19 is in my mind every day. I see the statistics on the news, the number dead and new infections and the projections and my heart is in my throat. I have worked in healthcare for over 30 years, the beginning of the AIDS crisis, tuberculosis outbreaks, years of deadly influenza strains, so my anxiety is not for me personally. Like most healthcare providers, I accept the risk and work hard to stay well.

Why is this crisis unlike all the others? Can we do what we need to do to take care of each other?  Can we take the advice of experts to save the lives and livelihoods of our fellow Texans and Americans? 

The level of unrest would be diminished if we all worked together. I realize that everyone’s circumstances are different but circumstances don’t necessarily affect the human body’s vulnerability to this virus. It is unpredictable in its virility and aftermath.

Today seems like the perfect day to vow to come together to fight this crisis. Wear a mask, socially distance, wash your hands. Sharing one another’s burdens can be as easy as that.