COVID-19 Kills People. If you do not believe in it, reread the title!
Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov
This post is inspired after reading the blog of Confession of Funeral Director
It shocks me how many people still believe that COVID-19 is not real!
I often wonder how someone can listen and follow advice to inject disinfectant in their body, but apparently, some do both: listen and obey. Unfortunately, in our society, there will be some who might only believe in COVID-19 when they or someone they know/love contracts it and dies. No scientific evidence will be enough for them, because there will be one doctor, or 1 taxi driver, one nurse or 1 “I know everything” expert who will tell them that COVID-19 is a lie and even better “conspiracy” against their freedoms. It is sometimes frightening to observe what else will come up from the US President’s mouth, and it is even more terrifying to know that a large number of people will believe it is true!
It is easy to ignore millions of doctors, nurses, social workers, and other healthcare and human service professionals who ask people to stay at home. No, some will protest and only once they are sick and they hear how fluid builds up in their lungs, and they cannot breathe, they will beg with their eyes for intubation (a medical term that allows medical professionals to add more air into someone’s lungs). Maybe not, as some might claim, it is their freedom to die without medical supports, vaccination etc.
I don’t know what makes people not to be concerned about their health and even more important the health of others. I spend time with students to discuss trauma, greed and ignorance as root causes of societal problems. Losses fuel the development of trauma, greed, and ignorance. We discuss how love, care and share can support people at times of loss, but I haven’t found an adequate response on what to do with those who cannot recognize their trauma, greed, ignorance or all of the above and keep causing harm to themselves or others.
What might help people who believe they are immune to COVID-19 to recognize that they still can cause harm to others? If fear of dying is not a concern, it is hard to think about what else makes people change their minds.
Maybe it is when they hear how their loved ones are isolated from family and friends when in ICU fighting COVID-19 or when they hear how so many die without their family by their side. Maybe it is when their family and friends will have to mourn without the community support of a funeral. I do not know and keep asking myself if learning the hard way by contracting COVID-19 is the solution for some people to start believing that the virus is real, and their action might cause multiple deaths without them might not even know it. Their ignorance might already infect many others, and the hard way of learning might not give the person a second chance.
Stay safe. Stay well. Stay home when possible. And keep educating those who still believe that COVID-19 is a conspiracy theory. COVID-19 kills people, and only when all recognize it, together, we can look for solutions that can restore the economy and protect societal health and well-being.
Compiled by Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov, Ph.D., RSW
Thank you for voicing your concerns. My words of thanks are going to all students. Your stories and experiences are unique. I hope universities around the world will listen and adequately respond to your concerns. I want to thank you all for finding the courage to share your worries when asking for an extension, when you needed someone to listen, when you just needed to Zoom in!.
- To the first-year students all the way through to Masters and Ph.D. students, domestic or international, part-time or full time, who entered the Winter 2020 term
- To the student and recent graduates who were looking toward internships and jobs over the summer
- To the student caregivers who provide extra care to their dependant family members during the pandemic
- To the student in public and private schools who are required to fund their education
- To the student parents who are required to become teachers for their kids when schools are closed.
- To the student who cannot attend the in-person convocation ceremony which has been cancelled or postponed
- To the student who cannot receive an extension and struggle to meet the deadlines
- To the student who cannot return home due to travel restrictions
- To the student who does now know how to fund their future education
- To the student who doesn’t have a relationship with their parents or doesn’t feel comfortable going home or are financially independent now
- To the student who experienced other unforeseen circumstances, they could not have planned for
- To the student who experiences an unexpected change in living situation
- To the student who experiences depression due to social isolation
- To the student who experiences financial hardship due to COVID-19 outbreak
- To the student who experiences more general stress and anxiety while navigating the unknown remote learning environment
- To the student who experiences personal illness or illness or death in the family
- To the student who faces barriers to accessing online classes and exams
- To the student who feels frustrated and uncertain about future studies or post-graduation plans
- To the student who is postponing their studies as universities cannot offer required practicum to complete degree requirements
- To the student who is adapting to new campus culture, learning style or city as a result of campuses closures
- To the student who is expected to show up for class and write the scheduled exam at a specific time
- To the student who is faced with an exceptional medical situation as a result of COVID-19
- To the student who is finding new ways to cope with feelings of isolation, loneliness or depression
- To the student who is forced to create a unique balance between personal and academic priorities
- To the student who is looking for free wifi to submit their final paper
- To the student who is online or distance education student and whose voices were not heard on campuses around the world
- To the student who is postponing a return to their communities and provide needed supports as their classes have been cancelled
- To the student who is postponing their studies to take care of their well-being
- To the student who is required to write more papers as a result of COVID-19 to demonstrate their knowledge while their instructor has limited experience teaching remotely
- To the student who is unable to have funds transfer out of the country
- To the student who lost their income due to COVID-19
- To the student who lost their loved ones due to COVID-19
- To the student who lost their temporary jobs and currently looking for ways to buy groceries while studying for final exam
- To the student who manages tensions with family members, friends and instructors to complete course requirements.
- To the student who suffered from the devaluation of a country’s currency
- To the student who suffers multiple losses from going to universities in 2020 due to pandemic
- To the student who was denied emergency benefits as their concern is deemed ineligible for assistance
- To the student who was unable to complete courses and is looking for supports
- To the student who had the supports to complete courses in winter 2020
Thank you for voicing your concerns. Thank you for advocating for others. Thank you for taking care of yourself. Thank you for your dedication to your studies. Thank you for your desire to learn. Thank you for your support of your instructors, your universities as they transition to remote learning. Thank you for demanding adequate supports during a pandemic. Thank you for being you.
Every day, students keep learning to ensure their communities will have future professionals to innovate, share their knowledge and skills and build a better world for all. Every day, students show up more capable, stronger, and braver than the day before, as we all do.
My name is Sasha. I am a social work educator. I have heard my student’s stories on managing their studies during the pandemic. I am hopeful universities find ways to provide an adequate learning environment in times of pandemic to all students and attend to their needs to become our future leaders, innovators and trailblazers in their chosen fields of study.
To students around the world keep learning and sharing your knowledge. We need your expertise now and in the future.
To class 2020, thank you for all your work and your commitment to complete your studies when possible. We will celebrate one day in person with you whenever it is safe to do.
Copy and paste on your newsfeed, add your name to the list, share your story, make your voice heard. Can we get to 50 reasons to say thank you to students during a pandemic? Support students in their studies. Together we will build a healthier future for all of us.
Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov, Ph.D., MSW, RSW
- To the social worker who advocates that every homeless person has a place to call home.
- To the social worker who assists agencies in rethinking policies and practices.
- To the social worker who becomes the informal support group for colleagues struggling with remaining sober and wanting to quit their essential job.
- To the social worker who can feel their spirit breaking.
- To the social worker who can no longer breathe on their own.
- To the social worker who chooses the profession, not because of income but for an outcome.
- To the social worker who collects and analyzes data from COVID-19 driven research.
- To the social worker who conducts community assessments to be better prepared for the future waves of COVID-19.
- To the social worker who didn’t pack lunch today because their work schedule does not permit time to buy groceries.
- To the social worker who engages in both anti-oppressive and anti privileged work.
- To the social worker who engages in political activism to ensure everyone is included in income security support programs.
- To the social worker who facilitates grief groups and individual therapy for the multiple kinds of loss experienced.
- To the social worker who finds resources for those who have none.
- To the social worker who has a spouse also on the front lines.
- To the social worker who has arrived at a shift with 8 call outs.
- To the social worker who has been admitted to the ICU.
- To the social worker who has been denied COVID- testing.
- To the social worker who has been living out of a motel to avoid infecting their family.
- To the social worker who has been made to feel like their life does not matter.
- To the social worker who has been referred to as, “just a social worker”.
- To the social worker who has been told to cohort the cancer patient with the suspected COVID patient, because there’s just no more space.
- To the social worker who has had no food or drink their entire shift.
- To the social worker who has no childcare but must report to work.
- To the social worker who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- To the social worker who has worked 4, 5, 6, 7 consecutive, 12-hour shifts.
- To the social worker who has not hugged their family in weeks.
- To the social worker who helps children readjust to school after an extended absence.
- To the social worker who helps comfort families after the death of a loved one.
- To the social worker who is a single parent and has had to send their kid away to live with relatives.
- To the social worker who is active in the union and spends off days writing up Demands and Calls to Action to ensure safety for all.
- To the social worker who is afraid to bring home the pain of clients and their families.
- To the social worker who is an unsung hero and angel of mercy but paid less than almost every other healthcare professional with a university degree.
- To the social worker who is battling their depression and anxiety.
- To the social worker who is being reassured by leadership shift. after shift that PPE stockpiles exist… somewhere and social workers can access them too.
- To the social worker who is diabetic and now their glucose is low.
- To the social worker who is emotionally conflicted about how to balance personal care with that of clients and community ethically.
- To the social worker who is immunocompromised, but can’t help but feel like failing coworkers by not coming to work in an emergency shelter.
- To the social worker who is not being offered mental health support.
- To the social worker who is not recognized by the media and the public for providing essential services.
- To the social worker who is on a travel assignment and nowhere close to their loved ones.
- To the social worker who is part of the palliative (hospice) care team and provides end of life supports for clients.
- To the social worker who is pregnant and feels guilty for not accepting COVID clients.
- To the social worker who is protecting children in times of neglect.
- To the social worker who is running out of sick leave.
- To the social worker who is skilled in operating the naloxone kit and is not afraid to do it during the pandemic.
- To the social worker who is supporting victims of family violence
- To the social worker who is thinking about putting in their resignation.
- To the social worker who just graduated and is in their first year of social work practice.
- To the social worker who leads conversations about how social service providers can develop trauma-informed care in the face of widespread community trauma.
- To the social worker who must find their voice and now use their client advocacy skills for themselves.
- To the social worker who now has skin breakdown from prolonged mask use.
- To the social worker who offers online/telehealth and e-counselling.
- To the social worker who offers remote students placements.
- To the social worker who only sheds tears in the shower so that it can drain with the water.
- To the social worker who protects children, isolated seniors, and families who are experiencing trauma.
- To the social worker who provides free consultation to other social workers and human service professionals.
- To the social worker who provides hope in times of multiple losses.
- To the social worker who provides linkage to resources for colleagues and their families.
- To the social worker who realizes the public did not know what social workers, “do,” even now.
- To the social worker who shares the news to the family that loved once passed away as a result of COVID-19.
- To the social worker who stayed up last night sewing together pieces of fabric so that they’d have a mask.
- To the social worker who stepped outside to catch their breath but instead ended up pulling an unconscious person out of a car.
- To the social worker who strips in garages and shower before starting dinner for their families every night.
- To the social worker who supports people in corrections.
- To the social worker who supports people who have fallen into depression and substance abuse.
- To the social worker who teaches remotely and support their students to become the best social workers.
- To the social worker who was just intubated by another health care professional.
- To the social worker who was laid off due to funding cuts for what government classified as a non-essential service.
- To the social worker who was told they signed up for this.
- To the social worker who was verbally assaulted doing child protection work.
- To the social worker who woke up in the middle of the night with a fever and cough.
- To the social worker who woke up to a text message that another one of their coworkers has died.
- To the social worker who wonders if this is how they treat “heroes.”
- To the social worker who wonders well what about the CASW Code of Ethics, you know, values 2 and 3: service to humanity and social justice?
- To the social worker who works in health teams.
- To the social worker who worries about their families, friends, and coworkers.
- To the social workers who are there to make life worth living.
Every day, social workers provide essential services to help the most vulnerable members of society. Every day, social workers show up more capable, stronger, and braver than the day before.
My name is Sasha. I am a registered social worker and social work educator.
To the social workers all around the world, I feel you.
I share your pain. I have your back.
You are me. I am you. We are each other.
Let’s share with society our truths.
This is the Year of the Social Worker.
Never again will you be, “just a social worker”`
Copy and paste in your newsfeed, add your name to the list, share your story, make your voice heard. Can we get to 100 reasons for saying thank you to social workers in times of pandemic? Support social workers and other essential service workers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Words of gratitude to social workers was inspired by heartful tribute to all nurses around the world posted on kidspot.com.ua and myrnao.ca as well as a love letter to social workers written by Melanie Sage and posted on Linkedin