Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the world we live in is uncertainty; the realms of our existence that not even the most brilliant of minds have been able to figure out.
The more we know, the more comfortable and at ease we are, one of the backbones of human psychology. Prior to this miserable pandemic, many of the simpler aspects of life were admittedly taken for granted, whether that was for the better or worse. And yet, for the past year now, this terrible virus has required us to become hyper aware of the world around us in order to survive, pretty much.
In a pandemic of this magnitude, we need to be as informed as possible, and I can’t stress this enough. Our enemy is physically invisible to the naked eye, and we must rely on health and government authorities to provide us with the information possible so that we know how to go about our lives in the safest and most responsible way possible. It is for this reason I am so grateful to have spent the majority of the past year in New York City.
New York was hit quite hard by COVID-19 all the way back in March. In fact, New York State still has the highest number of deaths from the virus, according to Statista, with 40,435. Since the city of New York is incredibly densely populated, in addition to health experts merely beginning to identify the properties of the virus; managing the disease has proven to be extremely difficult. Hospitalizations in New York almost peaked at 20,000. But, as time went on, and more information about the virus was discovered, New York quickly became one of the safest places to be in the United States. By following health protocols and guidelines, locals unified and tried our best to keep it as safe as it can be, which is no easy feat considering how many people actually reside in New York.
What I found the most reassuring, however, were governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily tweets giving the people of the state updates on the current amount of cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities.
Today’s update on the numbers:
Total COVID hospitalizations are at 8,771.
Of the 246,507 tests reported yesterday, 13,842 were positive (5.61% of total).
Sadly, there were 172 fatalities. pic.twitter.com/glA1He3L8M
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 17, 2021
Of course, it can become extremely overwhelming to look at a chart that portrays the severity of the pandemic. Seeing that positive rate increase seemingly endlessly is exhausting and makes it feel like there is literally no end in sight. Yet at the same time, it’s utterly comforting. The way this information is shared with all of New York makes it feel like we are all a part of an effort to better our community, and puts us at ease knowing that information is not being concealed. Lying to the general public and claiming that this virus was merely “the flu” simply to avoid instilling fear was wildly dangerous, as people would feel no obligation to take this pandemic seriously. Anxiety and fear may seem like curses and things that greatly hinder our life, while that may be true, sometimes these intuitions are what keep us alive.
I feel extremely privileged to live in a place like New York where limiting the spread of COVID-19 is taken very seriously, but there are many who do not have this blessing. People need to be informed because of the the simple fact that we need everyone to comply and take measures in order to stop the spread. There are countries around the world who do not have the resources to report cases and deaths properly, which is absolutely terrifying.
According to a study done by the Pulmonology Journal, countries like France, Italy, the United States, Iran and Spain have extremely high numbers of undetected and underreported cases. Furthermore, in an article published by the Cambridge University Press, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are some of the 20 countries affected the worst by the pandemic. In terms of total number of cases, however, they are ranked 138, 139 and 147, respectively, in tests per million population. In the middle of the pandemic last year, Bangladesh was reaching its maximum number of tests per day, only at 10,000. This could have a huge impact on shrouding the factual rate of the COVID-19 infection.
Wherever you are in the world, know that the key to getting through these tough times is composure and making sure you are properly informed. Decision making is key, and it is up to us to fight this miserable disease.