There’s been some odd behavior the last few weeks. We hear reports of people blatantly ignoring stay-at-home orders to visit the beach, throw big birthday parties, or simply go to Church on a Sunday. Some of the more concerning ones are the “Coronavirus Parties”, where the sick make everyone else sick (They think Coronavirus must be like chicken pox). Some have been more realistic, i.e. single mother with 4 young kids and no family goes to the store.

Whenever I hear about one of these ‘breaking-news’ moments, there’s always one person in chat that responds, “stupid people”.

I’ve learned that some acts are just on the line. After a small healthy debate over safety, the Fiance and I ordered pizza earlier this week. When I told others about the odd feeling of fear when ordering pizza, I was met with hesitant concerning responses. (Somewhat expected, I’m in Washington). This is all to say that the level of fear is obviously different for everyone and they will make actions in accordance with or against that fear. Pathos is seriously in the ruling class right now.

Coming to Reality

Jennifer has had the clinic’s on-call phone for the last two weeks. In that time I’ve overheard many of the same conversations that I’ve heard before, “No, I can’t prescribe pain meds over the phone”, “If it gets worse, call 9-1-1, or go to the ER”, “Yes, that’s normal”, “I’m sorry to hear that, but no, I can’t prescribe pain meds for that”.

There have been two new ones added, “We don’t have enough tests to give you one. Knowing wouldn’t change what I’m telling you to do”, and “I’m so so sorry, but you have been found positive. I can’t tell you that everything will be okay”.

I was a little bit in denial until I heard the diagnosis for a woman in her 80’s test positive. Her husband had died 3 days before due to coronavirus. Before hearing that conversation, I had felt safe with my homebody lifestyle. I’ve spent months on end stuck in one place before. Somehow like others, I thought that having one good argument was enough to feel okay.

Staying home is not enough to be okay.

Learning the Reality

The last several weeks she has been getting info from her superiors. They want their doctors to know what to expect and what to plan for in the coming months.

They let her know that 70-80% of the U.S. population will test positive. 20-30% will be severe enough to require a ventilator. While many reports have suggested only 3% casualties, that assumes everyone gets treatment. Not everyone will get help. The medical system has already begun work on an algorithm to determine who will be allowed to use a ventilator (there are only so many). This means that, for some, they will die because they did not have access to the one form of treatment that could mean the difference between life or death.

The algorithm has only been used as a suggestion thus far, but will most likely be implemented when the time comes. The idea is to be as logical as possible. Those with the higher chance of survival get the treatment. Not the mothers, or the grandfathers, not the engineers, or even the doctors, but the people that will be able to walk away alive will get the treatment. It’s an impenetrable wall that no amount of rhetoric can get past.

They let her know that the all the docs have more than 50% chance of getting sick. In other words, you’re family has a higher chance as well.

I have an autoimmune disorder.

Understanding the Reality

It feels so easy, locked up in your home. You might feel trapped, but hopefully you feel safe. For many people, they don’t. I haven’t left my house in 3 weeks, but still feel in danger. Jennifer does all the grocery shopping. Even then, she could bring it home any day now.

The difficult part has been the numbers game. Many people could test positive, if given the test. Then again, there’s no point. Nothing to tell anyone besides “stay home”. Death is following the same rules. You can’t draw a correlation to the cause of death, if you’re never given a cause. Many people will die and the virus will get away with it.

So, while emotional logic is to blame for much of the randomness that has been humanity of late, regular logic has been convincing as well. Numbers don’t lie, but people do and they can shape numbers to be anything they want.

Just this last weekend our neighbors had a party. A dozen cars sat empty outside on the street while a house of crowded guest celebrated. Our only guess was either they don’t know or don’t care. Either way, they’ve come to a conclusion that we can’t agree with and unfortunately we’ve become judgmental for it. Even if the numbers are skewed a little, we don’t want to test their validity by throwing parties.

We have something to lose.


Honestly, I’m not sure where I was going with this post. I know that living with someone “on the front lines” is not easy. I have to watch her give terrible news every day while also trying to live with the reality that we might get that same news. If that day comes, we will not be ready. I’ve lived with bad diagnosis for some time and there is no coming back even if you get better. It changes you. It changes the people around you. You can’t be ready for something like that, no one can.

I hope that you stay safe. Practice some good habits. Indulge in some bad ones from time to time (like ordering pizza during a virus pandemic). Try to take all news with a grain of salt, even the ones from doctors, or government officials, or those with a big title.

Right now is an easy time for rhetoric. There’s people trying to convince others for courses of action and “good advice”. They are already looking forward to the, “I couldn’t have gotten through this without you” calls and emails. Heck, even my bank has a blog with advice on the coronavirus, a bank.

I hope that you’ve added something to your everyday rhetoric repertoire. I can’t hope that you’ve enjoyed reading, but I can hope that you’ve learned something from my anecdotes. If you’d like to Zoom, Hangouts, Slack, or some other form of video chat with, please email me at christopher.j.grim [at] I’d love to try and make someone feel better. Otherwise, please enjoy the weekend.