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I Am Hospitalized With the Coronavirus


My doctor said we’d stay the course and perhaps add another antibiotic to the mix. But if things didn’t start to turn around soon, he added, I would need to move into the intensive care unit. I lay back, utterly dispirited, and turned on the TV. It was on CNN. President Trump was telling someone he wanted to reopen the country by Easter.

A few weeks ago I would have rolled my eyes and made a joke about how he should socially distance himself on some Mar-a-Lago golf course. Just go away and let the adults figure things out.

But my experience has made this pandemic much less abstract, and left me in no mood for jokes. I’m writing this from my hospital bed in Rhinebeck, on Day 14 of my Covid-pneumonia saga.

It has been miserable in general, with spikes of both awful physical pain and real terror, given the uncertainties that still surround the disease and its outcomes. I think of my wife and daughter every minute.

But I also feel humbled and awed by the care I’ve received from nurses, doctors, technicians, cleaning and food staff members, all of them strangers who risk getting this disease every time they come in to help me, which they do over and over, day after day, with good cheer and expertise. It is heroic and moving.

Every time the president minimizes this crisis, he is making these people’s lives more difficult. When he makes the pandemic seem less serious than it is, he gives those inclined to disregard it license to do so.

The virus doesn’t care about political talking points. Fewer precautions taken across the country will result in more patients. Which means that the people now helping me, and the thousands like them all over the nation, will soon have more patients than they can handle. These people — who are leaving their own families behind every day to help other people’s mothers, fathers, children and grandparents — will be asked to do even more.



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