As many of you know from my earlier post, I’m back from my winter vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It seems we got home (last Thursday) just in time before all the craziness came down at Toronto airport. As I kept a close eye on international news while I was away, I found it almost incredible that while the world was going through growing numbers of the Corona virus, cruise ships were still coming into port. The condo we rented was right on the beach only minutes away from where the ships docked so we could see ships coming in and leaving. I also checked virus statistics in Mexico, and while there were only 4 cases reported far away in distant Mexican states, I felt there was no reason to panic.
In recent visits, we usually saw about 2 ships a day, sometimes 3 and 4 on average approximately 4-5 days a week, coming into port. This recent trip we didn’t see a ship come in all week for about 2 weeks, then we saw 1 or 2 a day come in 2-3 times a week. Yes, the Grand Princess did make a stop in our port, but after that it seemed that most international cruise liners had diminished and mostly US sailings from the coast off California were still coming in. We’d also watched a couple of ships turn around and leave before docking.
As the last few days of our trip drew near to the end of our trip, I began to feel the urgency to get home, especially as my husband wasn’t well with other underlying issues. I’d kept track of what was happening in my own city, Toronto, daily, and was disturbed by my gut feelings that this was fast going to become a global pandemic.
There seemed to be no warnings or closures in Puerto Vallarta while there, and anyone I spoke with about the ongoing concern didn’t seem overly concerned, but I was getting a bit suspicious how this virus was spreading globally and Mexico had such low numbers – a false sense of relief.
We flew home without a hitch, landed in Toronto airport, saw only a few airport employees wearing masks, zipped through customs without even a question asking if we weren’t feeling well. We wore masks home and took it upon ourselves to self-quarantine for 14 days as precaution – as what should have already been mandated at the airport. And as it turns out, Day 5 of our quarantine (yesterday) I became ill. I developed a fever, chills and aching bones. Then last night in bed my fever broke and my bedsheets were soaked in sweat. I think that was good news, but still, I’m not feeling up to par. Did I contract the Corona virus or was this a seasonal flu? The question remains.
Getting tested is not simple here, just as it’s not simple anywhere. There are not enough facilities globally to test for the virus, or the equipment and manpower to facilitate everyone getting tested. We are told to NOT just come to the hospital if we are sick. We must first call Health Canada’s, Telehealth to talk to a nurse first before venturing to the hospital, and that involves potentially an 8 hour wait on hold. Many hospitals in Toronto have opened up makeshift areas within hospitals with separate entrances specifically for suspect Corona virus testing and patients, and warned to DO NOT enter the emergency department.
It’s quite evident the world was not prepared for this pandemic with limited test kits, respirators, protective gear, and hospital beds. And I believe that ‘selective’ testing isn’t enough to help with containing the spread of this virus, just as the numbers of those contracting it around the world are quite lowball with the numbers reported against the millions more who haven’t been tested. Thus, it seems self-quarantine and social distancing is the best measure at this time globally for anyone traveling home from anywhere, anyone who has knowingly been somewhere where someone who has tested positive, and regardless of either, seniors especially, need to heed this advice to stay home. And as it’s looking now, almost globally, many have taken it upon themselves to stay home.
The scariest part of this virus are the elements we don’t know yet:
How long is someone contagious for?
If someone caught it, does that make them immune, or can they catch it again?
If some are asymptomatic or carriers, does this make them contagious indefinitely?
Do we have to worry about food and necessity shortages in days or weeks to come as businesses close down in lockdown?
Those are just some of the questions that people are concerned about. This is not a seasonal flu. This is a virus that will live among us until a vaccine is found and made available to the public. And until the medical world gets a good grasp on handling this pandemic with proper government aid, many sick people are going to be affected by this pandemic, many with no relation to the Corona symptoms will also suffer.
Here in Toronto, all elective surgeries, appointments for CT, MRI, Ultrasounds scans have been cancelled. I have this on good authority since my husband’s Gastro-enterologist just called to cancel the procedure my husband has been awaiting to have and had already been rescheduled for after a 2 week wait period till after our return home for the 14 day quarantine for those returning from abroad before coming to a hospital. Now I’m more fearful for my husband, and I was told there is no date yet for rescheduling, which will no doubt create a heavy backlog for wait times. I argued that his procedure is not ‘elective’ it is necessary as my husband has an ongoing condition that when it acts up (as it is now), he could literally bleed to death.
My husband’s condition along with so many people around the world waiting for dire tests, have all been put on hold as this deadly virus takes precedence. This virus is a certainty that many more will die because of denied medical services in these trying times. Our only options are to wait for the worst to happen so we can go to emergency and then be booked in from there. This seems to be the new world order for now.
In the meantime, I think that Mexico has been downplaying the spread of the virus because that country is so dependent on tourism to thrive. Since our return, more reported cases are popping up in Mexico, yet their government gives the impression they may want to keep it under ‘hush hush’ for now. This will prove to become very dangerous as time goes by, no doubts.
The world is certainly in a tailspin and a halt, all at the same time. For now, the only way to try and dodge contracting the Corona virus is to keep distance from others, stay home, and wash hands frequently. In the meantime, this is a good time to remind people to be kind to one another, help somebody out when we can, pick up groceries for some you know who shouldn’t be going out because of vulnerability, keep check on loved ones, and stay informed.
If you aren’t sure about the difference of symptoms between the seasonal flu and the Corona virus, check out this list of symptoms, as a common guide to go by.