Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Lat: I Nearly Died From COVID. Now I’m Letting Go Of The Fear.

Los Angeles Op-Ed:  I Nearly Died From COVID. Now I’m Letting Go of the Fear., by David Lat (Original Jurisdiction):

Two years ago, I was in a hospital bed on the 15th floor of NYU Langone hospital in Manhattan, dying of COVID-19. A previously healthy, 44-year-old runner, I found myself impossibly weak, unable to walk five feet from my bed to the bathroom without a nurse’s help. I could barely breathe, even with the highest levels of supplemental oxygen. Eventually I wound up in the ICU, where I was placed on a ventilator.

Trying to shake our nation into taking the threat seriously, I shared my coronavirus ordeal with the world. I tweeted about it from the hospital; talked about it on the “Today” show, “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and “Nightline”; and wrote for multiple publications about my time on the ventilator, my painfully slow recovery, and my six-figure hospital bills (which I thankfully did not have to pay). I hoped that my story led others to do everything humanly possible to prevent contagion.

Today, COVID-19 is far less dangerous than it was two years ago, and I wonder: By telling my harrowing story, did I contribute to a climate of fear that we now find difficult to dispel? ...

With more than a thousand Americans still dying every day, the virus remains a serious threat. We need to get more people vaccinated and boosted. We need to protect the most vulnerable, including the elderly and the immunocompromised. We need to support healthcare workers suffering from burnout, depression and anxiety. We need to treat people enduring “long COVID,” as I did for more than a year. We need to remember and mourn the almost 1 million Americans, and more than 6 million people worldwide, who have lost their lives to this disease.

Here’s what we don’t need: more fear. Instead, let’s take a deep breath and move from a mindset of fear to a mindset of hope. After two long years, it’s hard to let go of being afraid, but let’s try. If we continue living in a perpetual state of anxiety and emergency, we are defeating only ourselves.

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