Chavez, Dixon, Njuakom, Roumani, Uwakwe, Yoo
Nick Kristof has a piece in the New York Times (11 April 2020), “Life and Death in ‘The Hot Zone,’” that, along with an accompanying video, chronicles the hectic, Covid-19-born, horror of what is going on at two medical facilities in the Bronx — Montefiore Medical Center Moses Division and Jack D. Weiler Hospital — as New York City’s death toll from the virus, reported (ca. 800) and unreported (?), surges past a thousand people per day.
The article is a wrenching read and the video is difficult to watch.
For another day: “Racism and Resources,” “The Gutting of Public Health,” “When ‘Market Efficiencies’ Meet the Plague,” and “What Happens When We Let Vicious Children Run the Federal Government.”
For today: The picture at the top of this piece.
Amidst everything that has fallen down?
There are the people who have stood up: the nurses whose names are listed on a magnetic whiteboard at one of those Bronx hospitals.
Name origins are imprecise in what they tell us; they can indicate recent immigration, ancestral connection, marriage, bureaucratic errors, or choice.
What do the half-dozen names in the RN column tell us?
A third to half point back to what President Trump has referred to as “Shithole Countries.” Together, counting North America, they potentially cover five continents. Best guesses as to where these nurses, their families, or their spouses came from:
Yoo: Korean or Chinese
Immigration is a complicated issue; I have mixed feelings about it; this is not the time or place to wade into that particular bog.
But it’s worth noting that these names suggest people who came here (whose families came here, whose spouses came here) after the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 (the Hart-Celler Act), which abolished a system based on quotas that focused on white Europeans.
Absent those changes? Possible that four of those six nurses (or all six, who knows?) would not be here . . .
Arm the Troops: Take Care of the Caregivers
In the early moves of the Iraq War, American soldiers jerry-rigged vehicles with “Hillbilly Armor,” welding whatever protective metal they could onto the soft spots of their trucks and Humvees, as more and more of them — the equipment and the people — were torn apart by roadside IEDs.
We literally sent them into battle insufficiently armored.
Medical personnel at these Bronx hospitals are wearing donated ski goggles, and welding masks they purchased themselves on Amazon.
Because . . . we sent them onto the pandemic battlefield without sufficient supplies of the proper equipment. As they work to save us — the physicians and the nurses, the cleaners and the aides, the EMTs and the firefighters — they are dying
In the Igbo language, Uwakwe means “may destiny let me.”
May destiny let that nurse and his/her colleagues survive.
May destiny teach us to stop making the same foolish mistakes time and time again: ignore and deny existence of crisis for as long as possible; panic, hoard, and point fingers; lather, rinse, repeat.
And may destiny grant these nurses — soon, please, soon! — a measure of the peace and respite that they are risking and giving their lives to give to others.
They deserve so much more than we can ever possibly give them.