Franklin County hasn’t experienced any coronavirus cases to date, but a former resident living in California has been battling the disease and is hoping to make a full recovery amid the confusion and uncertainty in dealing with greatly unknown circumstances.
Dr. Mary Peterson, the former Mary Anderson and a year 2000 Franklin County High School graduate, said she has been battling the coronavirus since March 11 and has labeled it as one of the worst experiences she has ever faced.
Peterson, who is a doctor of nursing practice at a community college in Santa Clara County, said she isn’t exactly sure how she contracted coronavirus, but dealing with it has been chaotic.
The symptoms have included a fever reaching as high as 103 degrees, perspiring in unbelievable amounts and a feeling as if she’s been poked by hundreds of thousands of needles.
She said she also felt as if she hadn’t slept in weeks.
Peterson said she has asthma which added to the concern initially, but her condition has improved, and she feels she’s out of harm’s way.
However, how the disease has been handled has been a nightmare because those treating and diagnosing it are in unchartered territory, and the circumstances have led to confusion and uncertainty about what to do.
Peterson said the testing process has been confusing, and the number of tests being required has fluctuated.
“It has really been chaotic,” she said. “This is really new to people, and they are confused about what to do.”
An immediate concern is being quarantined at her residence in San Juan Bautista in San Benito County.
Peterson said the medical facilities there are in an extremely rural area without the ability to handle high patient volume.
She added she was at the facility for 12 hours before returning home, and the hospital didn’t have the room to accommodate all patients being treated.
Peterson said the required paperwork to get benefits has also been difficult because of being quarantined.
She said a doctor’s signature is required by her employer to receive medical leave benefits, but an emergency room doctor signing the paperwork doesn’t meet the community college’s requirements.
Peterson said at present she doesn’t know whether she will remain employed because of the gap in the paperwork.
She said if the disease had been taken more seriously and had testing been started at an earlier date, it wouldn’t have spread as much, and people would have been better-able to handle and react to it.
Initially President Donald Trump had compared the Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak to their efforts to impeach him, saying “this is their new hoax.”
During a speech he also seemed to downplay the severity of the outbreak, comparing it to the common flu.
Peterson said she believes the president was not advised properly about the disease’s seriousness.
She added that if a doctor or a nurse had been involved in previous discussions, he would probably have had a different reaction, and testing probably would have begun sooner.
Peterson said the president has followed through and taken the issue seriously, and now the nation is trying to combat the disease.
She said she wants others to know what she’s experienced so they can better prepare to handle what lies in store.
The president moved Wednesday to invoke emergency authority to marshal industry to fight the coronavirus, as the economic fallout from the crisis mounted with word that Detroit’s Big Three automakers are shutting down their North American factories to protect workers.
Calling himself a “wartime president,” Trump said he would employ the Defense Production Act as needed to steer industrial output and overcome shortages of face masks, ventilators and other supplies needed against the expected onslaught of cases.
The law, which dates back to 1950, gives the president extraordinary authority to compel industries to expand production and turn out vital materials.
“It’s a war,” Trump said, likening the anti-coronavirus efforts to measures taken during World War II and warning of national sacrifices.
The virus has infected more than 200,000 people worldwide and killed over 8,000.
The United Nations warned that the global economic fallout could cause nearly 25 million jobs to be lost around the world.