Virus Deaths: One Story

I read something on a local newspaper website earlier this week. I went back to get a link to add here, but it has been taken down. Presumably to save the family from more distress.

We are all reading about deaths from the virus, all around the world. As the numbers get bigger, they stop becoming people, and are just numbers. I read that 1,000 people have died fom the virus in the USA. Can you imagine seeing 1,000 dead bodies laid out in a line? I once saw more than 20 bodies at the scene of a train crash. It looked like a lot of bodies. And I was an EMT, so used to seeing such things.

1,000 bodies arranged in a line would stretch almost 3,000 yards. That’s 1.7 miles. That distance would take almost 30 minutes to walk, at a normal pace. Hard to comprehend, I know.

So let’s just think about one person who died because of this virus, and the impact on his family.

A local man in his fifties had a mild heart attack last year. He had a stent procedure to open a coronary artery, was put on blood-thinning drugs, and sent home. He went back to work as normal, and returned home to his wife and two twenty-something children who still lived at the house. Just over a week ago, he woke up with a very high temperature, so stayed off work. The next day he had a very bad cough too. Covid-19 was suspected, and the call was made to the family doctor. That doctor decided to send an ambulance to take the man into the emergency department of the local main hospital.

He had to travel without his wife and family of course. They were not allowed to get close to him as he was taken to the ambulance, so no goodbye kisses. Then because they were in a house where those symptoms were found, they all had to self-isolate. Calling the hospital that night, they were told that he was ‘seriously ill’. The next day, someone called them to tell them he had died.

Imagine that. No goodbyes, no last moments together, no chance to comfort the man she had been married to for thirty years.

The funeral was just 24 hours later, a cremation arranged by a local undertaker. The family was informed that only ten mourners could attend. But as they were self-isolating, they were not allowed to go. Any relatives or friends that might usually have attended did not want to travel during this crisis. So the man was cremated in an empty facility. The undertaker sent a bill, adding that they understood it would be some time before payment could be made. The ashes would be sent to her in due course.

That’s it. Thirty years together comes down to three phone calls, and it’s all over.

Then the everyday problems begin. To get an official death certificate, you have to attend the appropriate department at the Town Hall, with the initial certificate given to you at the hospital. But you are self-isolating, and are not allowed out. Even if they could go out, the office is closed because of the lockdown of workplaces. And you would not be allowed into the hospital to collect their form, as you were too close to someone who died from Covid-19.

Without that death certificate, you cannot access the man’s bank account or savings. Cannot cancel his credit card, or any other payments still going out of his account. You cannot make a claim on his life insurance, sell his car, or do a dozen other things that have crossed your mind will need doing.

On top of your grief, you have to deal with all that stuff too.

Then there is the worry. What about me? What about the chldren? Will we get it now? You can’t seek comfort from relatives and friends either, because you are not allowed out. Anyway, it wouldn’t be a good idea, even if you were.

In the last 24 hours in Spain, 832 people died. Imagine that story above, mutiplied by that figure.

That’s the reality. Are you scared yet? You should be.

Yes still, social media is showing people, mostly young people and teenagers, who think it is funny to spit on food in supermarkets, or rub their saliva over the handles on public transport. Parcel delivery people spitting on parcels that they then hand to a recipient, idiots licking toilet seats, some deliberately touching things in shops then replacing them, and even claiming that Covid-19 is a hoax, and doesn’t exist. Some of those videos have been shared over half a million times, watched by giggling youngsters who think it is all a great joke.

Try telling that to the wife of the man who died near here this week.

105 thoughts on “Virus Deaths: One Story

  1. This article really puts things into perspective. I feel horrible for those that this has happened to.. now thousands of people unfortunately. I hope that your family as well as yourself are safe and healthy. Revelation 21:4 brings me comfort. It says, “And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this and two scriptures come to mind: 1) Jeremiah 29:11 – For I well know the thoughts that I am thinking toward you, declares Jehovah, thoughts of peace and not of calamity, to give you a future and a hope.

    As you see in this scripture, God does not wish these bad things on us, he wants peace for us. God is not to blame for the pain and suffering and horrible things in this world today.

    The second scripture is Proverbs 13:20 – The one walking with the wise will become wise , but the one who has dealings with the stupid will fair badly.

    The latter comes to mind when I think about all of the people that are not taking this seriously.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sad is the case of this pandemic. These are irreplaceable lost both in human and capital, and we are yet to find a way out. Your points are strong, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this virus. I wish to seek your indulgence to add this point of yours to my journal titled VOICES. Details on the journal can be found here at voices.giftedminds.com.ng
    The journal is about gathering various opinion on a subject matter. And this year I am gathering poetry and essay on death. You will be adequately referenced with your profile, web link and passport size photo on the journal. You will also get copy of the journal as well.
    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. There are so many impacts of all of this that people aren’t thinking about. I have a friend who is pregnant and may not be allowed to have anyone with her when she goes into labour. Her husband won’t be allowed to come and see the baby and when she returns home whenever that is depending on any complications etc, no family etc will get to meet the baby either. Maybe for months.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly right, Abbi. Julie has a granddaughter, born on 5th Feb. She has only seen her twice before all this kicked off, and has no idea when she will be able to see her or her grandson again. There is so much more to this isolation than is being considered by many people.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  5. Thank you for this posting, Pete! Even the story is heartbreaking, sad an scary, too. For the next years – i heared – we will have to deal with this “overnight delivered horror”. And more and more we will see, this will not really change mankinds behaviour. I myself feeling me like watching the wrong movie, and want to wake up.
    Hope you are well, and stay save. By the way: I think at least its has been a good choice of you,changing your home to Norfolk. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Punks have been around since the beginning of a time. They make a lot noise but they’re outnumbered and always will be by good people like yourself. Thank you for this post Pete, it says a lot about you and your life experiences to view this pandemic through the personal, the minute, the emotional and then scale it up. A touching post.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. in the late 90’s while reading through old files/archiving at a sheriff’s office records area, I learned of a law on the books that made it a misdemeanor offense to ‘spit in public or on public areas’ – It was passed during the Spanish Flu, never revoked, though many I asked, long in service, couldn’t remember ever charging someone with it, or for some, even knowing about it – but yes, so many ‘normal infrastructure’ things, that folks take for ‘granted’ are showing their failures of systems, right about now – in many places – -you didn’t say, but if the local was a neighbor/friend of yours, my condolences – if not – well, all I can say is the story might have been taken down to either save the family distress, or to ensure ‘public systems failure to meet current needs’ in the red tape updating – who knows? But I did find it interesting that mandatory cremation already beginning –

    Liked by 2 people

    1. People are still being buried here, where religion demands it. But over here you usually have to already have a plot or paid burial plan in place for that to happen. The majority of people in the UK opt for cremation anyway, as it is cheaper, and there are not that many cemeteries.
      The man in question was unknown to me, and lived about 30 miles from here.
      I suspect that one of the reasons the virus took hold so fast in China is because public spitting is very common there. When I went there in 2000, I was appalled at the amount of spitting, even by young women. They even have large public ‘spitoons’ at the entrances to subways etc, to try to reduce the amount of spit on the ground inside.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a sobering, poignant portrait of a personal experience with Covid-19 and the cost of it. And this scene is being played out thousands and thousands of times all over the world. It is very, very scary. Still, we must try not to be overwhelmed with fear. Fear paralyzes. We must be inspired to fight this virus and, sadly, even our own worst impulses. Beautifully written account of a sad, sad situation. My heart breaks for this man and his family.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Pam. I think those reckless youngsters are the ones who should be afraid. They think youth makes them indestructible, but they are not considering their parents, uncles and aunts, or any others.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Feelings are definitely running high because of these inconsiderate youngsters…I actually read a comment on one of the news posts today and some idiot has- written that he was “not going to be controlled” all in capital letters…I agree with any punishment set for these morons. I hope you are feeling better, Pete and have no more symptoms 🙂 xx Be well 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You’re right. Yes, I’m in Spain and a lot of people are dying here (thankfully we’re well, but it’s a terrible situation). We had a friend and fellow author who died last month of an unrelated cause, and I was thinking how much worse it would have been for his family if it had happened just one month later. They were showing nurses in Intensive care, yesterday, here, connecting online with the relatives of an elderly man there who’d finally been taken off the ventilator and was recovering, because, of course, they couldn’t visit him. It was very moving. But yes, there are the idiots as well. Look after yourselves, Pete, and the same to all your readers.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The thing about a crisis, whether it be personal or involve large groups of people, is that life goes on. My wife and I had to put our dog, Jake, down yesterday. I’ve had dogs my entire life, and he is the absolute best dog I’ve ever had in sixty-one years. It wasn’t unexpected, but he was only diagnosed with cancer a month ago. The vet thought he might live another 6-9 months, and here we are grieving, unable to receive the hugs and comfort that friends would typically give. Our adult son, who lives on the other side of the country, Face Timed, with him before we took Jake to the vet. I’ve been through this before several times, but this one hurts the most. Give Ollie an extra hug today, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Even in the middle of all this, losing your beloved pet is terrible news, Pete. You know I understand that, and send my condolences. We have hailstones here today, and Ollie was reluctant to go out. I will give him extra pats for you, and remind him he is lucky to be able to enjoy the fresh air.
      My best to you, and all your family.
      Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Bloody hell! I hadn’t thought that one through – about the paperwork and formalities. There are all kinds of knock on effects, minor and major, that we are starting to realise. I won’t say more at this point so as not to detract from the power of this post.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Well for example, if your car engine blows up next year, would the manufacturer still honour the warranty if you had been prevented from keeping to the maintenance schedule as required under the terms and conditions.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. A tragic story, Pete. I heard someone on the news telling something similar about not being able to be with a loved one in the hospital when they died. I didn’t know people were doing these dreadful things – my social media feeds must be quite sheltered from some of the nasty, stupid things people do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Kim. I was using old figures of course, but they still made my point. I think we have to consider one individual story, to put those numbers into perspective.
      Best wishes to you and Tom. Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Tragedy-sorrow- that poor family, and the many others in that same situation. I did not know what to make of things just a few short weeks ago, but I proceeded with caution anyway. I am shocked everyday with the progression of the virus- Our little state has been averaging an increase of 100 daily, but by noon today, there were 200 more. Food is scarce and we are now on in home shelter for 30 days, starting Monday. Eggs doubled in price today. Peace and good health to you and yours Pete. love Michele

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I don’t watch social media so I am spared seeing these idiots. You are right, the police should be able to enforce them to go clean the wards – see how brave they are then. I hadn’t actually thought about what it would mean if a partner or child died and getting the death certificate, the funeral arranged etc. It is an unenviable task during normal circumstances, this sounds like it is virtually impossible. We have organised all our DDs to come out of our joint account so if anything happens to either one of us the bills will still be paid. And we have made a decision to have unattended cremations, so no worries there either. But horrific not to be able to say goodbye to a loved one. Well told Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Masjids here have closed to people and are urging people to stay at home and offer namaz alone, since when offering namaz in groups, people must stand with shoulders touching. But people are not understanding the gravity of the situation. One person in my joint family went for a group namaz yesterday. We have been freaking out ever since.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Reminds me of a story I heard yesterday. A woman went with others to a crowded church because. “the virus can’t infect people in a house of god.”

      She was a doctor.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Although I clicked on “like” aboe, of course I didn’t like it. It made me sad. Sad for the people who suffer through loss, and sad for the people who grow up as idiots and may never get the chance to outgrow it. Either because they will die, or because they are profoundly stupid. On the other hand, there are a lot of good, smart, and conciencouse people around as well. I am trying to stick with them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If they are like that now, I hope they don’t live to outgrow it, Margie. Sounds harsh, but we do not need people like that in society. Sorry, but I am angry.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  18. I believe in KArma, the teens will be btten on the arse at some point in their lives. Sad f**kwits. We are wiping down anything we buy in the shop before we put it away, and our door handles, cars etc etc etc, it’s like an operating theatre here!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am careful, but not obsessive. The actions of those young people make me so angry. What about that poor lady, after 30 years of marriage? I could not be left alone with those youngsters. I would batter them beyond recognition!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 3 people

  19. And some are coughing on policemen. It beggars belief, doesn’t it? I think it took most of us time to realise how serious all this is, but as people we actually know become ill, it has really registered. I keep thinking how privileged I am to be able to go outside, and think of all those people stuck in tiny spaces: families in small flats with kids, people losing their jobs, stuck in prison or hospital etc… All those refugees with no access to running water. So sad.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Many people are far worse off than me, and I appreciate that, Marina. I just get enraged (and despise) at thoughtless young people who have zero consideration for anyone over 25. I was never like that in my youth.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  20. I am extremely worried, one daughter is a nurse in San Francisco literally on the sidewalk with homeless people dealing with all of this sickness. A grand-daughter is an EMT, she had a patient in her ambulance, drove 200 miles from Fresno to San Jose only to be turned away by the hospital because they were all contaminated. Eventually, she raised enough of a stink they took the patient. I’ am not worried about myself, more so for all of the young ones going out on a limb. The EMT’s are told to tell their parents they may be facing impending doom and to be prepared to deal with it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. All true, Jaques. I have had a good life, but I am reluctant to leave it just yet, because of the thoughtless actions of teenage nincompoops.
      Best wishes to you and yours, my friend.
      Pete.

      Like

  21. The scary thing for me, is that U.K. deaths have just ticked over 1,000, and a quarter of them were in the last 24 hours. Stay in, stay safe, everyone.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. I hesitated over hitting the like button for this post- there is nothing to ‘like’ about Covid19. I’m so sorry that wife and her children and every other wife, husband, family member are faced with the reality of this virus- it kills.
    I hope you’re feeling somewhat better, Pete {{hugs}}

    Liked by 3 people

  23. What a nightmare! I’m still having trouble accepting this pandemic as something outside the realm of science fiction. It just seems unreal, even though I see the effects of it here in Las Vegas. By the way, the latest death count here in the States is 1,878, but I’m sure it will pass 2,000 by the time the weekend is over.

    Liked by 3 people

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