A long, dark winter is coming…
It’s early December, 2020, and we’re in the middle of a worsening pandemic. Reported cases of COVID-19 in the US since early March are over 15 million. Total deaths are approaching 300,000 with current daily averages exceeding 2000. Hospitals across the nation are filling up, healthcare staff are being increasingly stressed, and the spike in new cases from Thanksgiving is still on the way. Additional spikes are expected after Christmas and News Years, so our situation seems set to worsen through at east the end of January.
Because of these dire circumstances, I wanted to feature a frontline healthcare professional on this podcast, and with Eva Aaronson of Portland, Oregon, I found exactly who I was looking for.
Eva’s work spans both paid and volunteer capacities. She has experience in critical care in adult ICUs and currently works in a hospital emergency department. Additionally, she has also been a street medic at protests for 12 years, volunteers at a syringe exchange, and donates time and expertise at houseless encampments. Eva’s social justice angle, as well as her ability to view the US healthcare system with a critical eye, is what makes her such a great fit for this podcast.
In our conversation we focused on the COVID pandemic. We talked about the increasing pressures on the healthcare system; the varying efficacy of different types of masks; life in the emergency department; what COVID tests test and what their limitations are; comparisons to the AIDS epidemic; the negative social effects of social distancing; and vaccinations and herd immunity, which are particularly controversial topics.
We also talked about her work at current houseless encampments in Portland and as a street medic at the BLM/George Floyd protests this year, but I edited out those sections on this recording in order to stay focused on COVID. However, the full interview is available to my Patreon subscribers.
I’d also like to acknowledge that this episode was directly inspired by Patrick Farnsworth’s “Last Born in the Wilderness” podcast, which just featured interviews about the pandemic with frontline healthcare workers in Idaho. Check it out here.
Referenced in this episode: Behind the Bastards podcast episode, “Andrew Wakefield: The worst doctor alive”