Now Californians are asking themselves, what went wrong?
The turn, some say, may have come Memorial Day weekend, when cooped-up residents responded to the state’s reopening by getting out and socializing. According to an analysis by The Los Angeles Times, coronavirus hospitalizations in the state began accelerating around June 15 — which, given the incubation period of the virus, points to holiday barbecues, beach trips and graduation parties as potential culprits.
The Los Angeles Times also noted that Californians, unlike New Yorkers, had not yet felt the trauma of having their hospitals overloaded with patients, so many saw reopening as a license to return to life as it was before the pandemic.
“State and local officials would say that, recently, people have been letting their guard down, and they’ve been gathering with family members and they’ve been going to bars and restaurants,” Jill told us. “But a lot of people are then saying, ‘Well, why did you let restaurants and bars reopen?’”
“It’s very confusing and it’s very complicated,” she added. “And so for regular Californians, I think it’s been tough to navigate what you shouldn’t do — even if you can.”
Reports suggest that about two-thirds to three-quarters of virus patients who end up in intensive-care units, even for relatively short stays, have experienced the condition. Their hospitalization often provides the perfect combination of elements: long stints on ventilators, heavy sedatives, poor sleep, minimal social interaction.
Delirium takes two forms — hyperactive, which leads to paranoid hallucinations and agitation, and hypoactive, which causes internalized visions and confusion. Some people experience both.
Recovered virus patients have described thinking they were being abducted or burned alive. Even after their visions go away, the condition can slow the healing process and increase the risk of depression or post-traumatic stress. Older patients can also develop dementia sooner than they otherwise would have, and even die earlier.
Another troubling development: Immunologists believe the coronavirus may be responsible for depleting disease-fighting T cells, similar to how H.I.V. operates. If that’s the case, protection against the virus could be fleeting, and a cocktail of antiviral drugs may be needed to control it.
I live in a really small, rural logging town. While we don’t have Covid cases here, we have mostly all been staying home and following the guidelines. Several of my neighbors and I have started a “Porch Ninja” game, where we sneak over and leave homemade goodies, wine or fun surprises on each other’s porches.
— Carrie Bredy, Morton, Wash.
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