My Wife is a Doctor Quietly Doing her Job, Which is Working to Contain CoronavirusRoundup
tags: Albert Camus, Healthcare, coronavirus
Jonathan Zimmerman teaches education and history at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching in America, which will be published in the fall by Johns Hopkins University Press.
I recently read that Penguin is rushing to publish a reprint of the English translation of "The Plague," the 1947 Albert Camus novel about an Algerian town decimated by a deadly infection. Earlier this month, the book sold out of stock on Amazon. Purchases of the Italian version have tripled; so have sales of the book in France, where Camus wrote it in the waning days of World War II.
That’s because of the coronavirus crisis, of course, which made me dip into my wife’s tattered copy of "The Plague." And that’s where I recognized her.
My wife, that is.
She’s too modest to be named here, but suffice to say that she is a physician at a major hospital in our area. Her job is to help prevent and treat infections, both at the hospital and in our broader community.
Since the crisis began, she has been working 16 to 18 hours a day. She has arranged coronavirus tests for hospital staff and others. She has advised doctors — at her institution, and elsewhere — about how to care for infected patients, and how to see that they do not infect others. And she has worked with state and local government officials to control the outbreak.
Not on TV saving lives between ads
That means talking or texting on the phone, from dawn through the wee hours of the night. It means listening to all of the requests that come in, and carefully addressing each one. It means consoling people who are panicked, and getting people who are too casual to step it up.
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