Survivors tell a cautionary tale about the coronavirus.

By Dennis Archambault

The capricious nature of the coronavirus should have the respect of any thoughtful person – even risktakers. But people want to “get back to normal,” despite the fact that our lives will be abnormal for months to come.

Linus Parker is the latest survivor to offer his cautionary tale about this disease. After 88 days in a hospital, and still undergoing extensive rehabilitation, the 57-year old, who said he was physically fit and working remotely at the time the illness struck, became critically ill just the same. Even young adults – those who mocked the severity of the pandemic with “COVID parties” and those even today who socialize in restaurants and other venues without masks or observing social distance are realizing that the caution of Governor Whitmer and other health and social leaders is prudent: “Youth will not protect you from this virus. Your political affiliation will not protect you from this virus. And this virus will not go away just because we’re tired of dealing with it.” (

Parker’s survival reminds us that hospital care for the disease is improving and soon primary care will help prevent even the need for hospitalization for many, when symptoms are treated quickly and with efficacy. For the time being, the messaging is as consistent as a tolling bell:

  • Wear a mask.  Masks not only significantly limit the spread of the virus, they also protect the wearer.
  • Keep your distance. Six feet, or about two arm’s length, is not an arbitrary measure. Laboratory studies – some visual – have confirmed how far respiratory flow can travel with normal conversation and a cough or sneeze – and how masks stop that transmission.
  • Wash your hands. The first, or one of the first recommendations is still a significant and simple action that can be used to prevent against the coronavirus and any virus. While there’s growing evidence that surface contamination may not be the risk many believed it to be initially, the virus can live for days on some surfaces. Hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds helps.
  • Stay home. This one hurts perhaps the most during vacation season. People wait all year for a week or so to break from the routine and relax. Well, either travel restrictions or self-discipline have cancelled that option this year. Travelling increases exposure to the virus, and poses an unnecessary risk – unless, of course, travelling is required to care for a loved one.

Dennis Archambault is vice president of Public Affairs for Authority Health.