While the Ohio Department of Health and The Cleveland Clinic can’t agree on when the coronavirus pandemic will peak – the ODH predicts mid-April to mid-May and Cleveland Clinic says it will be more like mid-May to mid-June – a local health professional told The Times-Gazette that COVID-19 isn’t something to trifle with.
Patty Day not only chairs the zoning and annexation committee on Hillsboro City Council and is the city liaison for the 2020 census, but is also a family nurse practitioner who works in occupational medicine, and has seen first-hand what President Trump called America’s “invisible enemy.”
She said she is a member of a COVID-19 health care support group, which receives the latest on the virus for the benefit of those on the front lines who are health care providers.
“The 2009 swine flu and today’s COVID-19 are both coronaviruses,” she said. “The big difference is the swine flu, or H1N1 as it was called, tended to attack children and young adults, whereas what we have today is a virus that goes after the older population and those who have what we call ‘underlying health issues,’ in other words, they have something else wrong with them.”
The severity of any viral infection hits home with Day. She said that during the swine flu pandemic 11 years ago, her granddaughter had to be hospitalized with it and spent a month on a ventilator.
“The children that were on each side of her in the hospital were otherwise healthy when they contracted it,” she said. “They both later died at Children’s Hospital – one was 16 and the other was only eight.”
To illustrate the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, she shared that her support group told the tragic story of an Ohio family that was literally decimated by the disease.
She said the family lived in Grove City, a suburb of Columbus, and in early March the elderly matriarch of the family wanted her son to come for a visit.
The 51-year old Youngstown man, who did not know he was infected and showed no symptoms, in turn infected both of his elderly parents along with his sister and brother-in-law.
“The parents, who were in their 70s, have both since died,” Day said. “Their son who visited them has died as well, his sister has been quarantined and her husband is in a hospital on a ventilator right now and they don’t know if he’s going to make it.”
The latest revised computer models from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicted the death toll could be between 60,000 to 240,000 deaths over a five-month period from March to July, revised downward from previous estimates.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the death toll in the United States as of Monday was more than 22,000, with nearly half of those in the state of New York.
Day spoke of a co-worker who worked in the emergency room of a Cincinnati-area hospital that had a friend who had become infected with COVID-19, and complained of feeling “under the weather” one morning.
By evening, she said the woman was extremely ill with a high fever, chest pains and shortness of breath, and the next day ended up in the hospital.
Her illness became so severe that she was unable to take more than three steps before gasping for air, and then only able to take short breaths since trying to breathe normally resulted in “cold stabbing pain mixed with wildfire coming through her lungs.”
“Staying home is the easy part,” she said. “As bad as we think a stay at home order is, trust me, no one wants to get this virus.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571