For many of us, fortunately, the coronavirus has remained conceptual. We’ve gone about our days, working and running errands and living lives mostly unaffected, save for where we fall on the mask-wearing, social-distancing spectrum.
Sadly, even public health has become infected by political influence, and your politics have colored your view on the coronavirus and COVID-19.
But if you’re someone like Amanda Bumin, you know the political argument is a hollow one. If you’re someone like Amanda Bumin, the worry about the virus is real and constant. The future of your clients, your employees — yourself — is very much in doubt. Like a soldier on the front line, she has waged all these battles. And like a casualty officer back home, she has had to tell four families when their loved ones — souls in her care — have died from coronavirus.
It’s her story, as told recently to The Pilot’s Jaymie Baxley, that turns the coronavirus for us from conceptual to concrete. It’s the struggles of her and her staff at Seven Lakes Assisted Living and Memory Care that highlight for us — in sharp relief — that this is a battle we all must join.
“I can’t comprehend,” she said, “how people don’t understand the reality of COVID-19. The only reason that it’s going away a tiny bit is because we had to be forced, kicking and screaming, to abide by things.
“It’s not because the election is coming up or because the pandemic was made up. It’s because of the precautions that were put in place.”
A Hard Fight
Most days have been a scramble for the workers who care for the most vulnerable among us. Bumin outlines the lengths her staff had to go through to ensure that they and they and the residents could all get tested once a positive COVID-19 case. At one point, the Moore County Health Department told her it would take a week to get enough tests.
“I can’t wait until the middle of next week to even administer a test,” said Bumin, who urgently needed to know how many of the facility’s elderly residents may have been exposed to the virus. “That’s not fair to residents, families or staff members.”
The state came through, and a nurse from her corporate office did the tests, but then Bumin drove the results to the lab. Then she had to get her staff all tested. That was when she learned she, herself was COVID-19 positive, though asymptomatic.
“(The virus) doesn’t discriminate, and it’s kind of unpredictable in who it will or will not affect, and how severely.”
‘Evolve and Change’
Getting tests, personal protective equipment, ensuring proper care continued — this was all challenging, but not as much as those phone calls to the four families who lost loved ones.
“A lot of people think (the virus) is not that big of a deal anymore, but it’s still a big deal and I don’t know how to get people to realize that or see that,” Bumin said. “These people, this population, they cannot get sick. It is not a risk that should be taken.”
Masks, hand washing, social distancing — none of it is questionable for Bumin, and she’s earned the right to that opinion. People who haven’t gone through what she experienced “don’t get to argue about it,” she said.
The vast majority of people concur, as evidenced by prevailing behavior these days. More people wear masks than don’t, keep distance than don’t. Where compliance is high with these measures, the virus’ spread has been managed. The sacrifice is working.
“Society evolves and changes, and we have to evolve and change with it or we’re going to suffer, and there’s a lot of suffering associated with COVID-19,” Bumin said. “I can tell you that because I watched people suffer.”
Editorials, a staple of newspaper journalism, are unsigned opinion pieces written by a newspaper's editorial board. They reflect the opinion of the newspaper, not any one person.