An elderly man brought his wife to the emergency room of a northeast Mississippi hospital a few days ago.
Emergency room workers told him she was gravely ill with coronavirus, and would have to be immediately isolated and put on a ventilator.
The man began weeping. He knew that his chances of ever seeing his wife alive again were not great.
An ER nurse, stressed by long hours, long weeks of dealing with similar heartbreaking situations, had just taken a short break for lunch. Without finishing her break, the nurse acted immediately.
She did what dozens of healthcare workers, in Tupelo, New Albany, Oxford – every town in Mississippi with a full-service hospital or nursing home – have done hundreds of times during the past five months.
She used available video technology to provide a remote, but face-to-face visit, between husband and wife.
It is said that in some circumstances death is merciful, and there are doubtless instances of that being the case.
There is rarely anything merciful about a coronavirus death. The dying person is isolated, tragically alone, away from loved ones. The grief of family and friends is exceptionally haunting and terrifying. Imagine a loved one dying alone, a solitary, uncomforted death, not relieved by the touch of a hand, a kiss on the cheek, a quiet word from a spouse or a child.
There is nothing unique about this true story of a nurse establishing a video link between the dying and the bereaved.
It is merely a very recent, very close-to-home example of the many heart-rending, “last goodbyes” occurring daily in northeast Mississippi and throughout the state, because of the rampant coronavirus pandemic.
Yesterday, Thursday, July 30, 2020, Mississippi reported the highest ever number of coronavirus deaths and new cases in a single day. There were 48 Mississippians dead of coronavirus and 1,775 people with confirmed new cases on July 29th.
What’s more, as of today, Mississippi has the nation’s highest percentage of all tested people who are found to be positive for coronavirus.
Public health officials call it the “test positivity rate.” On July 1, Mississippi’s positivity rate was 13 percent over a seven-day average. That number doubled in only 26 days. It peaked at 27 percent on Sunday – the highest in the nation.
Regarding the positivity rate, Mississippi’s governor opined last week, “I can go into virtually any community right now, and significantly reduce our test positivity rate by going and testing randomly throughout that community.”
Is that not about as profound as saying, “During a heavy rainstorm, people under shelter will not get nearly as wet as those standing outside in open fields?”
Covid-19 coronavirus, Northeast MS news, saddest goodbye, test positivity rate