Leola Reeves is acutely aware of the absurdity.
“It’s bizarre — that’s the right word for it,” the mom of three says. “I’m trying to raise awareness about a pandemic, in the middle of a pandemic. I don’t know why this needs to be done. It’s baffling to me.”
Reeves, 37, lives in Yakima, which right now is one of the hottest zones for America’s patchwork coronavirus pandemic. How hot? At the current rate of disease spread, within about a week Yakima County is due to pass New York City for the percentage of its people known to have contracted COVID-19.
You’d think that’d be alarming enough, considering what happened to New York in the spring. Add to it that Yakima’s main hospital, Virginia Mason Memorial, has been sounding sirens that its intensive-care beds are overflowing from patients sick with COVID-19.
“It’s like Yakima refuses to believe there’s an actual issue,” Reeves says.
She’s concluded, from personal experience, that all the numbers, about rising infections and hospitalization rates, aren’t punching through.
It started when her 70-year-old stepfather, “who also did not think this virus is serious at all,” contracted COVID-19, she says. He was hospitalized for a time and has lung damage, to the point he’s expected to need an oxygen machine for the rest of his life.