Coronavirus And My Family

My family, unfortunately, has been close to some of the front lines of the Coronavirus outbreak. One of us was in several CDC Level-3 countries before returning to the United States on March 12, 2020.

Corona Virus And My Family

Due to this we have been caught up in a number of emerging issues from screening and testing, to quarantine and more. I’m here to tell you what’s going on behind the scenes.

What Is Increased Screening?

This family member was in several European cities (Madrid, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and more) during March. When they flew back into the United States we were anticipating the increased screening that we learned about in this speech.

Screening ≠ Testing

As they passed through US Customs they experienced the aforementioned increased screening. This consisted of being asked if they were in China or Italy.  This family member observed that not a single person they went through Customs with was asked about symptoms, had their temperature taken, or was given a Coronavirus test.

Federal Government Recommendations

They were given no information on quarantine procedures, nor was it recommended. However, this family member immediately went into self-quarantine to avoid becoming a potential vector for the spread of this virus. We all need to do our best to flatten the curve.

What Is Self-Quarantine?

The rest of us are in quarantine too. There are no tests available to those coming from the middle of the pandemic. We are in quarantine to protect others in case we have Coronavirus due to exposure from our traveling family member. Having been in the health space for almost 30 years I take public health very seriously. This is not just about preventing old people from getting sick, though that is of extreme importance. It is about preventing total collapse of our health care system.

Flatten the Curve

How Many Tests Does USA Have?

Unfortunately, we do not have enough tests to test high risk populations (like my family traveler) which include those coming from hot spots around the world as well as our medical personnel, and people who experience typical Coronavirus symptoms.1

Testing In Colorado

The governor is desperate for tests,2 and our Boulder County Medical Director personally told me that they do not have enough tests to administer to emergency personnel. As of March 20, 2020, less than 3,000 individuals3 had been tested in Colorado out of a population of 6,000,000.4 We don’t have enough tests here as outlined in The Denver Post article titled, Colorado Coronavirus Testing Frustrations.

Testing In USA

According to this Wall Street Journal, article:5

When cases of the new coronavirus began emerging several weeks ago in California, Washington state and other pockets of the country, U.S. public-health officials worried this might be The Big One…The testing program they rolled out to combat it, though, was a small one.

How Many Tested?

According to the WSJ, as of March 20, 2020, 32,000 people had been tested in the US. Incidentally, of those, 6,500 people tested positive for Coronavirus. It is concerning that 20% of those tested are positive.

Global Coronavirus Count

Here is a link to a Global Coronavirus Counter from Johns Hopkins. Please note, the numbers you see on this counter will be different than those I cite above, given that this tool is current, and the above are from newspaper articles that do not get updated.

Let’s Start A Global Conversation

I’d love to connect with you during this challenging time. Let me know where you are, how you’re holding up emotionally, what your physical condition is, and if you have access to Coronavirus testing. Stay safe, flatten the curve, and support our health warriors!

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124 responses to “Coronavirus And My Family”

  1. Hey, Elana!

    As we all know, even if we are on some sort of quarentine (or lockdown), we are not alone.
    People all over our blue marble are more or less in the same situation.

    So hi, I’m Raquel, an American-Israeli, living in a warm community in the Galilee (the green north of Israel). Your concerns are the same as ours, in fact I am enjoying the fact that the news is so ‘boring’, only talking of the caronavirus and a bit of politics. No missles flying our way. Hate and racism are at a low, spiritual messages are at a high, and perhaps we are in a pagent of some kind since everyone is enjoying the idea of keeping the planet as clean as it is right now, while the factories are idle, and of course, world peace of all colors and types.

    OOPS, millions are out of work. I do not envy the leaders of our countries. What to do first?
    Enabling the newly unemployed to put food on their tables!
    Helping the elderly (everyone over 60 is compromised virus-wise). At least: doing their grocery shopping and changing their library books.
    Helping the disabled and their families whose programs have all been cancelled.

    Neighbors are calling just to say hi and inquire how you are keeping yourself busy and to check on your wellbeing.

    Aside from the time difference, we are all in the same boat, dealing with the same questions, doing our best to dodge the coronavirus and praying for world health.

    Here too they are not testing everyone for the virus, so when you say that it is alarming that 20% of the tests have positive results, that does not show that 20% of the population as a whole has the virus, oh no. We need to remember who is being tested at this time. Most of the testing is being done on people showing symptoms or people that have been in physical contact with a person that already is a positive for the caronavirus (at least that is the situation here).

    When Israel had a tough time finding carona tests internationally, the MOSAD was on it and now we have enough. Tough times demand thinking out of the box.

    I encourage everyone to pray in their own words and in their own language, please pray that our leaders will make the correct decisions to get us to better times with minimal damage to life and economy.

    On a personal note: the Passover holiday is here in a matter of 16 days or so.
    We are going to have this holiday with no guests, no children/grandchildren.
    Minimal groceries that somone will buy for us. It’ll be different – and our responsibility to make the holiday extra festive.
    He who brought us out of Egypt, should bring us out of the coronavirus, yeah.

    • Raquel, thanks for checking in from Israel. And agree, He who brought us out of Egypt, should bring us out of the coronavirus. Take care of you and yours, and please do keep in touch! I enjoy all of your comments :-)

  2. Thank you so much Elana for telling us that as a nation we are not even handling this pandemic man created virus like we should…don’t we have expert medical people that should know better? I live in the mountains of Tennessee and nothing much is happening here but one of our senators has posted that “The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced that we’ve already begun testing an experimental vaccine on humans, which was developed in record time.” but do we need one more vaccine when we have colloidal silver and it’s known to kill viruses ? Did you say that you have tried to contact your Colorado senators with the info you gave us and if not please do so that they can then take that info to Washington and or the above organization. Girl, you need to run for office.

    • Flora, thanks for your awesome comment! Much of the information I’ve received is from our governor via the local papers. He has done a tremendous job, and begs Washington daily for more test kits. Today the head of Health and Human Services said that there are plenty of test kits and supplies but that the labs don’t know where to get them. Shame on him for berating those on and near the front lines in this battle. Thanks for your kinds words and BTW, after I started my first company and was thinking of taking it public, I had dreams of becoming a senator :-)

  3. Dear Elana,
    I follow you since I cannot remember, your paleo sweets kept me thinner during my pregnancy and I’ve bought some of your books, always about sweets;-)
    It made me very proud when you posted about marcona almonds, because there’s where I come from. Those were the only almonds my grandma would buy.
    We are already a week in quarentine, only allowed to go out for shopping, walk alone, drive, alone, etc.
    However through whatsap groups we received many things to do on line: theaters, libraries to visit, yoga classes, etc.
    And my favourite there are several iniciatives to do from your balcony every day mostly at 8 pm: as thank the health workers by claping from your balcony, play a song, sing a song, etc.
    The streets are sad and empty, like in a terror movie.
    Thank you for your writing!

  4. Bonjour Elana!!!
    I’ve been following your site for years & have bought your cook books for my son & other family members. Thank you so much for all you are & all you are doing!!!! I’m hailing from the south of France, a little town on the Mediterranean; La Ciotat. We are on total lockdown, curfew at 6pm, if needing to go out for health, sports, or purchasing essentials, doing it alone, on foot and with an official paper. Otherwise we could receive a fine of €130. I go out for a run every day, keeping my distance from the very few others and being respectful while still smiling and waving to any others I may see. The people living on my street, tiny little street at the port in ancient apartment buildings, have all been singing, planting vegetables in little pots on their balconies and waving pleasantly to each other while holding their expresso and sipping thoughtfully at their windows. Most of the French people I know, as well as myself, are taking this opportunity to breathe, read, take ‘le voyage intérieur’, and think about the real meaning of life. Sunday my friends and I will have our usual coffee together. Not, however, in front of the sea as usual but as a web conference where we will celebrate the equinox, the great chance to be alive, & the great chance to share our friendships. My son in Boston & other family members on the east coast, we do the same: Appreciate what we love about each other and that we have each other, never mind where, when, or how. We have this fabulous moment. C’est la vie, non?

    • Aimee, bonjopur to you in the south of France! Thank you for sharing your experience, joy, and wisdom here! Wishing you and yours the very best :-)

  5. hello. We are from a suburb in Pa, are receiving county emails about testing, advice on everything to do with how the local government/hospitals are reaching out and informing. Currently the non-essential businesses are mandated to close. Last week it was voluntary and I noticed quite a few were still open. My hairdresser for one (who I will not use again when this is over). Some friends and relatives have not taken it seriously and traveled and interacted with get togethers, etc. I am 71 with intermittent vertigo and high blood pressure. Last week I felt the vertigo coming on, went to my acupunturist who did his miracles and it is at bay for now. BP under control for meds but just read that I my brand is not available. I have a 40 day supply left. Hubby is 79 with chronic asthma and respiratory issues. He has been totally at home for 3 wks and I have been about 90%. We are now well stocked with his meds, healthy foods, etc. so I am totally at home now too. Keeping busy by doing some spring cleaning, working in the yard, getting fresh air/exercise and staying positive. Best of wishes to everyone !

    • Susan, thanks for your comment from PA. It’s great that local governments have stepped in to fill the void. Like your town, a lot of businesses here in Boulder stayed open until they were shut down by the city and state. Per your health, I’m so glad your acupuncturist was able to work his magic and I hope you and the DH stay very safe :-)

  6. Just awake right now. Have a family member who insists on going out. Mind you they do not need to go out. This past week went out three times, breaking protocols twice. Just worried as we all are. We all, need to do our part to prevent this terrible virus (Covid 19) from effecting many of our fellow citizens. We are in this together and we must work towards helping each other as best we can.
    And as a side note:
    Our Federal government has provided mixed messaging at a time when the truth must be consistent and well thought out. This is vitally important to reduce incidents of panic and in the interest of safety. Thank, you for listening

    • Bill , thanks for your comment and so sorry that you have someone in your home who sounds like they are about my boys’ age. Keeping the young people in during this time can be a challenge. That generation has gone from living on their own to being near us all the time in close quarters as if they are elementary school children. It’s crazy, and it’s totally necessary.

      And agree, rather than using precious time in the last weeks, the executive branch chose inaction, saying the coronavirus would disappear “like a miracle” as late as Feb 29th, 2020, when they could have been coordinating testing, screening, and much more. Messaging matters, and transparency during a time like this is critical. Unfortunately the constant contradiction emanating from our executive branch and agencies that report to it has created chaos. Thank you again for sharing your important thoughts here and take care :-)

      • Elana, exactly and specifically, what would you have done when China finally told the world
        About this virus? Please no more political digs at anyone.

        • Rob, I have researched and written extensively about this. Our country faced a choice, to go down the path of South Korea or Italy. So sad that we chose the latter and sacrificed so many brave Americans. Truly tragic. There are no words.

  7. So sorry Elana I follow you and had previously written a long time ago about two of my sons who medical issues one transverse myelitis in 1993 .anyway my other son also just returned with his wife who is from France and Spain in they left to go Feb 28 He had almost died last dec 2018 from a csf leak spinal meningitis an a tumor in skull csme back that he had as a child . Whike they were away all this got worse they came back Monday March 9 getting back to this jfk airport nyc thwt didn’t test either two days later everything broke out my school
    District I work for closed someone had it person turns out went to state of Washington not to smart and spread it . Don’t understand the craziness my son and wife isolated themselves there were no tests here last week in Long Island now there are . they said no temperature and feel fine two more days of isolation so scarey . They do not have it . The elementary school staff member now a few more people have it its a snowball effect . Feel free to email I type terrible so sorry . Much love and prayers being sent .

    • Paulette, I remember you! Thanks so much for circling back and being in touch. I’m so sorry to hear about everything you and your family have been through. I hope you’ll keep me posted on you and yours and I’m sending you the biggest hug ever :-)

  8. Thank you sharing all this information Elana. I’m sorry you were potentially exposed.I live in California an hour East of San Francisco. My health network said last week they had no testing kits, yet I know someone who had her son tested, she has a different health network. My SIL works for a Stanford Health Care Hospital (non medical position) and she has been asked to self isolate when not at work. We live in a county with a shelter in place order so we leave our house to take walks, some neighbors are good about observing the 6 feet distance and some are not. Some people are scared where as others think the media has exaggerated. My son was living away at college in Los Angeles until a couple of days ago when the dorms were closed. He had wanted to stay so he wasn’t carrying germs to a different area and he has a compromised immune system, but we had no choice in having him drive 6 hours north. We’ve upped our immune support supplements, are getting plenty of rest, doing lots of projects and praying for the weather to warm up quickly.

    • Leah, thanks for checking in from Northern California. Sounds like you’re not too far from the town I grew up in, Davis. We are doing much of the same here –getting rest, catching up on projects, and crossing our fingers that it warms up, today the high was 23 degrees. I’m so sorry to hear about everything your son has been through and you along with it. Be well, stay safe and keep me posted on how you’re all doing :-)

  9. I’m in a suburban county in Tennessee. The location of the first state case was a couple miles away, but even with a steady increase in cases we have been able to hold our numbers to +3 or +4 a day going back 13 days. Today was +6 with a jump in testing. I think we might be doing a pretty good job on the social distancing. My husband–who is in a critical industry but not a job that exposes him–must go into work some days and today he called me during rush hour and said there were no other cars on the road. I’m rusticating on my little farm with my garden and animals and if it would just stop raining…

    But I have an honest question about testing. I agree that the roll out by the CDC was terrible, but I’m not surprised as unfortunately I haven’t seen the federal government do a good job at these “roll out” things when under pressure, so my expectations were pretty low. If you look at South Korea who did testing so well they’ve still only tested less than 300K in a population of 50M. We’d have to test 2M people to get the same type of coverage, a practical reality that I’m not sure is a feasible expectation 59 days since the first positive test in the U.S. It’s not just kits, it’s equipment, manpower, training and logistics. How many tests at this point do you think is a realistic number that you would consider a good response? I honestly don’t know, but I think if I want to have real conversations I should not just say “not good enough” while I have no understanding of what IS good enough. Thoughts?

    • Susan, thanks for your update from Tennessee and for your incredibly thoughtful questions!

      The US was provided with information on COVID-19 in January and had a short, but critical amount of time to prepare for this pandemic. Unfortunately, the agencies that are overseen by our executive branch made a number of critical decisions that turned out not to be in our own best interest. For example, farther back, the National Security Council’s Director of Medical and Biodefense Preparedness Policy gave a speech in mid-2018 stating, “The threat of pandemic flu is our No. 1 health security concern.” The day after these words were uttered, this position was eliminated from the NSC. This is only one of the missteps that has hurt us. The administration’s own face of the epidemic, Dr. Fauci stated, “it would be nice if it [NSC’s MBPP] was still there.” Fauci also said that the narrow testing the government has recommended “is a failing.”

      The administration’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar has little to no experience in the public health sector, was a lobbyist for drug companies (a role that doles out funds to our elected officials to keep drug prices high and profits higher) and did not have the necessary skills to envision a crisis of this scale. Nor, given his experience, was he armed with the proper skills to coordinate an effective response between government agencies and for-profit companies in organizing and driving test kit production at the needed rate.

      Government matters and appointing good public servants with years of public service matters even more when it comes to these types of issues.

      But the biggest problem we face is that, as you mention, somehow tiny South Korea has already managed to administer 300k tests, while the US has tested just over 30,000 people as of today. The best article I’ve read on this failure of our government to coordinate even a small (rather than a very tiny) amount of testing is in the Wall Street Journal (owned by a family that is close friends with the current administration and has an editorial board known to be quite positive toward our current executive branch leadership) which I link to in the above post. That article will provide you with many more of the answers.

      So to more directly answer your question, how many test would be enough? Let’s start with a very low bar and say 300,000. If South Korea can do it, we can too. I’m so glad to have this conversation with you! It took me a couple of hours to write this response in doing the necessary research and putting some of my thoughts together –thanks for making me think! Be well and let’s keep in touch :-)

  10. My husband and I drove from New Mexico where we live to Ohio on 2/28 to help my son and his family move into their new home. We were there until 3/11 after we got a lot done but there were more and more reports of the virus. We decided to get home in 2 days, about 1650 miles because we just wanted to get home where we could stay in. We stopped at the closest grocery store to our house on the last day and purchased what we thought we would need. It really concerned us on the trip back to see so few people taking precautions. We were using disinfecting wipes to open doors, handle the gas pump, touch elevator buttons and toilet room doors and handles. So far, we don’t have any symptoms. I told my daughter-in-law that had the closing on their house been later, we would probably still be with them. Best of luck to you and your family, Elana.

    • Barbara, thanks for sharing your experiences from New Mexico to Ohio! Wow, what a journey you’ve been on these last few weeks. I’m glad you are home safe, sound, and thus far symptom-free. Please keep me posted on how you and your husband are doing. Best of luck to you and yours :-)

    • Elana, I carefully read your
      Comments above and the ONE thing that comes through loud and clear is that you are first and foremost a “Trump hater.”
      That’s really not what this tragedy is about.

      • Rob, I do not hate anyone. I only love our country. I had incredibly high hopes when Trump was elected. I did not think he would do such things as demolish the CFPB to allow predatory lenders to be near military bases, preying on our soldiers. I bake cookies to send to our troops. I love of our great country more than anything. I’m sorry to see the word “hate” here during such a tragic personal time for my family. This blog is my home, you are in my family room. I hope in the future when you are in the house of a person in mourning that you would choose a different tone to express your heartfelt disagreement. Disagreement is to be cherished as it makes our country the great one that it is, but your voice is a bit tone deaf at this difficult time.

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