Follow up to my previous article regarding the response patterns adopted by Sweden and three of its neighbors to COVID 19 Pandemic. In that letter I had mentioned that I wanted to share my evolving response to the disastrous fate assigned by Govt Policy to senior citizens- in this case ages over the 60-65 range. I have been working with the my Management Team of the Company I work for to provide In- Home Addiction treatment to people in my State CT and 4 other states, Maine, New Hampshire, Florida and Massachusetts on risk mitigation strategies since Feb/March 2020 and as the Chair of the Community Engagement and Outreach Standing committee of the Community Advisory Council of the Office of Health Strategy I have been working with my Team and Coordinating our efforts with the Consultant contracted by the Governor of my State -CT to report on the terrible debacle that devastated our citizens who were residents of these entities, their families , the front line low paid staff and their families. Please let me know if you are interested in these matters unfolding in CT.
This is First of several parts of my response to this report in the NYT https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/08/world/europe/coronavirus-nursing-homes-elderly.html
Officials Did not Prepare Nursing Homes for a Pandemic and did not help them when one bit.
On the morning of 08 10 20 by some strange coincidence I was able to pick up my neighbors NYT. There were two major essays. Both are related to the Pandemic. The first is about the terrible and familiar story of dreadful shortages and causalities of the neglect and negligence associated with the care of seniors in the USA and Globally. There are more than one essay on an extraordinary insightful Book written by Albert Camus-“The Plague”. In Spring of 2020 when I returned to “The Plague” I was astonished as I watched the unfolding of the various ever morphing kaleidoscopic facets of the Pandemic I began to understand the penetrating wisdom about the interaction between the Agent of the pandemic and Humans collectively and astonishing insights into the adaptations of human beings. These were possibly influenced by the deadly TB that was eating away Albert Camus health and robbing him of his life span. I believe learning the lessons from the Plague and another book- The Stranger have been helpful for me to manage my responsibilities in different settings. For me Context is everything when I contemplate the challenges posed by the Modern Day Plague.
- From the NYT 08 08 20 When COVID -19 hit, Many Elderly were left to die.[In Belgium] “Runaway coronavirus infections, medical gear shortages and government inattention are woefully familiar stories in nursing homes around the globe. But Belgium’s response offers a gruesome twist: Paramedics and hospitals sometimes flatly denied care to elderly people, even as hospital beds sat unused.
- From the Washington Post, 04 02 20 “In Camus’ ‘The Plague,’ lessons about fear, quarantine, and the human spirit
The plague separates people from their former lives. Despite their fervent longings to go back, the past is suddenly alien — a detached memory. As the cranes on the wharves go silent and the death toll mounts, seemingly in time with the oppressive heat, people become fixed on “the ground at their feet.” The narrator — whose identify is long kept secret — stoically observes, “Each of us had to be content to live only for the day.”
- From Yale Daily News 04 02 20,: Translating, teaching and reading Camus’ “The Plague” during Covid-19
A mysterious illness appears out of nowhere. Case counts rise exponentially, as authorities attempt to downplay the severity of the disease. Transportation is cut off, and many are left stranded in unfamiliar places, separated from loved ones.
This is not a recapitulation of current events — it is the beginning of “The Plague,” a 1947 novel by French-Algerian writer and philosopher Albert Camus.
- From the NYT For Camus, illness was both his lived experience and a metaphor for war, the creep of fascism, the horror of Vichy France collaborating in mass murder.
But unlike many of his contemporaries, Camus took the long view. The heroism of the Resistance was less important to him than how humanity could be restored after the war. In his speech “The Human Crisis,” delivered at Columbia University in 1946, he pushed for a postwar return to the human scale, calling hatred and indifference “symptoms” of this crisis. He refused to let his country off the hook for its role in spreading this illness: “And it’s too easy, on this point, simply to accuse Hitler and say that the snake has been destroyed, the venom gone. Because we know perfectly well that the venom is not gone, that each of us carries it in our own hearts.”
- From the Washington Post Lowenstein, The Plague- Lessons : Yet the book deeply evokes the adaptations imposed on us today. Camus focused less on the ambulances and body counts in stricken Oran than on how the plague affected the citizenry, who, like us, had to realign priorities, schedules, in some cases relationships and modes of living.
Like us, they had no intimation of disaster. Throughout history, plague had been as frequent as war, the book’s narrator observes — yet each outbreak takes people “equally by surprise.” Yet it is not so much the shock of the plague, but its innocent-seeming, almost innocuous beginnings, that clamp a dreadful foreboding on the novel’s opening pages.
- From NY Books- On ‘The Plague’ Camus’s unwavering grasp of the difference between good and evil, despite his compassion for the doubters and the compromised, for the motives and mistakes of imperfect humanity, casts unflattering light upon the relativizers and trimmers of our own day. And his controversial use of a biological epidemic to illustrate the dilemmas of moral contagion succeeds in ways the writer could not have imagined. Here in New York, in November 2001, we are better placed than we could ever have wished to feel the lash of the novel’s premonitory final sentence.
I welcome your responses.
I do intend to explore other perspectives on what has been reported and consider specific options to address the actions of the Health Minister of Belgium whose policies are anathema and would never pass muster in the context of the Nuremberg Code or any of the Codes of Ethics that existed before the Nuremberg Code or since.