Image by: Felicity Baguley
I feel extremely fortunate and privileged to have traveled to a beautiful country like India and given the opportunity to live, learn, and make friends with some of the most incredibly strong, intellectual, and beautiful children on our planet. This same privilege compels me to use my words as a platform to shine light on a global crisis affecting too many of our world’s children and youth.
Image by:Felicity Baguley
I was fortunate enough to spend nearly a month with Sumit, who has not only become my hero and inspiration, but my friend as well. We have walked to school together, watched Spider-Man Homecoming, exchanged ideas, and played chess (he has not let me win a single game yet!). Sumit is a brilliant young man. I’ve come to see him as a star of India and a modern wonder that rivals the Taj Mahal. Sumit kindly provided me with an interview and I hope his words below speak to all of us and the children we are meant to be.
COVID-19 is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and is part of a large family of coronaviruses (CoV).
Symptoms of COVID-19 resemble that of the common cold, with those infected often experiencing fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. However, infection can lead to pneumonia, multi-organ failure, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and even death in more severe cases. The elderly and those with preexisting chronic health conditions have accounted for the majority of deaths from COVID-19.
As of August 26, 2020, there had been cases of the disease in more than 210 countries or territories across 6 continents. China was initially the country most impacted by the disease, however the United States, Brazil, India, and Russia now have the most cases worldwide. As of this time, there had been over 24 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with over 5.95 million of these cases found in the United States.
In the United States, around 88 percent of adults think COVID-19 is a major threat to the domestic economy, while 49 percent feel it is a threat to their personal financial situation. In response to the impact on the U.S. economy, the United States government has passed a two trillion U.S. dollar relief bill, which is the largest economic stimulus package in U.S. history.
Many countries around the world enforced lockdowns to try to slow the spread of the disease. Such measures and restrictions vary from country to country but usually involve closing schools, canceling public events, closing borders, and encouraging people to work from home. As the number of new cases has slowed in certain countries, they have begun lifting lockdown restrictions.
Interview with Stefani Bohmfawk
Baptist Medical Center
San Antonio Texas
Q: “How do you as a front-line nurse during COVID mentally prepare for what you have to do?”
A: Incoming to New York, there is nothing I could have done to mentally prepare for this myself. We had no idea what we would be walking into. When I was stationed at Queen's hospital it was literally like a medical warzone and nothing could have prepared me for that.
Q: Can you take us through a day in your life before COVID 19?
A: “I’m a shift supervisor at Baptist Medical Center in San Antonio helping preset and train nurses getting them where they need to be. Before COVID 19 I would go to work and not have to wear PPE or get my temperature checked before coming in, and it changed so much. I would be able to help nurses train them to help patients get seen as quickly as possible to treat them without having this fear we have now.
Q: Within the 40 days you have been here can you take me through a day that shook your reality?
A: My first time in Queens day 1 there were 159 patients in that ER everywhere. Two hours into my shift I left the ER and I was just crying, thinking about it now you get so emotional because there are so many people that need help and you can’t help them all. People need oxygen. You walk through and there are oxygen tanks everywhere people running out of O2. The saddest for me was having people die alone and seeing their families couldn’t be there. Trying to wake them up to unlock their phones to FaceTime families before they go, I will never forget that. In my time here I have had more deaths than in my entire nursing career, I have never put so many patients in body bags. Just being with them and hoping they had a good life and hoping their families find peace is what we all went through daily.
Q: When was the first time you heard of COVID-19 and what was your first reactions?
A: First time I heard about it was back in February, San Antonio was one of the few cities that got the first infected curies, ship passengers. I took care of the very first cruise ship passenger from Japan and that’s where I learned to care for these patients and anyone with potential COVID-19 symptoms. So, I knew and learned about COVID a couple of months before I came to New York and that’s how I ended up here.
Q: How did you end up in New York?
A: I saw the opportunity to come to New York with crucial staffing. The call came out on a Friday asking if I could be there Sunday. My work was so gracious to let me come up here and do the 21 days, then I signed up for another 21 days and here I am.
Q: Do you have anything you would like to say to the people helping by social distancing and staying inside?
A: I know people want to go back to their normal life and it's hard I want to go back to my normal life, I want to go shopping. Being on the front line and seeing the people that haven’t done that and can potentially lose their life I would have never believed it until I saw it here. You have to see it to believe it and I don’t wish everyone saw what I saw but understood how bad it is.
Q: What is the most significant experience you are missing during all this.
A: Being with my family and just being able to hug them. Everyone is so afraid of me to even touch me, and I get it because I’m here on the front lines. It’s the stuff you take for granted until you can’t do it. I miss my family so much I can’t wait to go back home, see them, and hug them.
Q: How do your family and friends feel about you coming to aide in New York on the front lines?
A: I have a son who is sophomore at Texas State University to pursue a career on Broadway. He introduced me to this city and I fell in love with it. He has a love for the arts and whenever I saw the conditions in New York I knew I had to come and help. They have all been so supportive of me coming here because they know the love my son and I have for this city it has been very heartbreaking for the both of us.
Q: Being on the front lines seeing the effect of this virus, how does this affect your goals and expectations for the future?
A: Seeing what I saw at Queens I know that social distancing is the answer. If we don’t all do that, we all end up where New York was before. There is a huge difference from when I came to right now, but social distancing is the key anyone can contract this I have seen people from 18 – 103. It’s easy to contract, you don’t know you have it and these patients end up circling the drain really quickly.
Murder of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd
The original message of Occupy City Hall was to defund the police. Day after day, we worked towards organizing and structuring. Day by day it began to feel more like home. It didn’t feel like coming to city hall, it felt like coming to my hood where I belonged. -9blocc_psyco
You can’t know what we know and not want to fight and do something. Once you have this knowledge you have a responsibility. -Vedastheoffical