Be prepared for a difficult year with COVID-19By Veita Bland, M.D. / June 19, 2020
As we enter another week of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the problems that we are dealing with are immense. We have now reached the 117,000 deaths nationwide and this statistic continues to rise. In North Carolina we have seen some loosening of parts of the stay-at-home rules as well as some businesses reopening. Shortly after the initial reopening phase, we have seen increases in the number of people with this virus and an uptick in the number of deaths as we enter Phase II of the reopening plan. This was not unexpected by epidemiologists and other public health professionals who have been tracking the spread of the virus. These new COVID cases deeply affects us all.
In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, it is extremely important that people practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from one another and wear of mask. These practices are tried and true public health methods that help reduce the loss of lives.
Over the last three months, we have also witnessed the emotional trauma faced by many people who have had a loved one who contracted virus. Patients with COVID-19 who need in-hospital care are unable to have their loved ones visit in-person, which makes the experience a very lonely and frightening one.
Changes to our way of life have also been traumatic. There are no in-person gatherings occurring with large crowds. Most houses of worship are conducting services via a livestream or meeting online. Shopping in-person and even ordering groceries online can trigger stress, especially when supplies may be limited. Such feelings of nervousness and anxiety are real and people need to know it is okay to seek care.
Now layer all of our ‘COVID-19 concerns of top of the emotional trauma we experienced as we watched the deaths at the hands of police of Minnesota resident George Floyd and Atlanta resident Rayshard Brooks, two unarmed African American men. The trauma of seeing our nation’s military troops unleashed on protestors and hearing a repetitive inflammatory rhetoric from the highest office in the land- “When the looting starts the shooting starts”- is again causing emotional trauma for people of all races and ethnicities.
This emotional trauma is real; it must be acknowledged and discussed with a healthcare provider. If you feel you need help or someone to talk to, please contact your healthcare provider, your house of worship or a friend. Do not suffer in silence.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.