The cold truth of coronavirus

Opinion: The war against the contagion is real, and if we are to best it, we must look past our own noses and stop flinging around irresponsible accusations and nonsensical conspiracies, for stupidity is killing us

Benjamin Tovias|
I was recently treated on a coronavirus ward at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. It was a reality check.
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  • I was admitted to the hospital to undergo a medical procedure, and since I apparently had a fever, the dedicated hospital nurses at the entrance to the building decided not to take unnecessary risks.
    3 View gallery
    Medics in protective gear against coronavirus with a patient at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv
    Medics in protective gear against coronavirus with a patient at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv
    Medics in protective gear with a coronavirus patient a patient at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Zlila Helman)
    Thus I became an honored guest at the hospital’s coronavirus ER. I balled myself up on a hospital bed, waiting for my test results to arrive, absorbing intently and in terror the nightmarish scene around me.
    I will spare you the myriad of sights and sounds that haunted me during my stay. The intense coughing, the moans of pain, the gurgles and the curses being flung around freely.
    I will, however, have a hard time forgetting the nurses’ incessant calls.
    “We have another one coming,” I heard a nurse at the entrance shout. And then came the response: “Not another one, we’re packed full. You've brought me 10 confirmed cases already.”
    These shouts were almost drowned out by the incessant cries from the intercom: "Shock room staff! Shock room staff! Immediate reinforcements needed from other departments! Shock room staff!”
    3 View gallery
    רוני גמזו ויולי אדלשטיין
    רוני גמזו ויולי אדלשטיין
    Ichilov CEO Prof. Ronni Gamzu, currently on secondment as the national coronavirus czar, escorts Health Minister Yuli Edelstein on a tour of the hospital
    (Photo: Ichilov Hospital)
    I have seen other emergency rooms in my time, and I have heard the loud speaker blare out announcements, but never at this frequency and never of this nature.
    It reminded me of hospital scenes in war movies.
    Having undergone this experience, I say to those who like to spout such wisdom as "this is a political closure" or "there is no point in wearing a mask" or "the contagion is spreading because of the ultra-Orthodox" - you are stupid.
    There is a war going on out there, and some people have simply lost their minds.
    Perhaps it's due to a loathing of the government that led us into this situation, perhaps it’s due to the pain of losing one's livelihood, perhaps it’s simply due to indulgence and inability to give up on gyms or foreign trips or restaurants or weddings or synagogues.
    No matter the reason, there is a collective craziness taking place. Some of us have lost the ability to look at the Health Ministry numbers and see the difference between factual data and fake news, between medical consensus and fringe theories.
    3 View gallery
    Disinfecting the entrance to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv during the pandemic
    (Photo: Getty Images)
    Some of us have lost the ability to look past our own noses and see what is really going on in our country’s hospitals.
    Many, I would wager, have failed to read any in-depth articles about the contagion, refusing to educate themselves on how other countries foiled or were felled by this pandemic.
    Maybe it’s due to laziness, maybe it’s due to an inability to admit they were wrong, who knows.
    We all have the privilege of being stupid from time to time, only this time the stupidity is killing us.
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