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Guest opinion

Max Cannon: COVID about to go from very bad to unimaginably worse in Arizona

Many of you know me as a cartoonist, artist, writer, teacher, actor, comedian, friend, social acquaintance, or in some other random category.

I am also a hospital worker here in the state of Arizona, which is the current hotbed of COVID cases in the United States — which is currently the hotbed of COVID cases in the world.

I am one of the first of a small group of people you will meet when you go to the emergency room. I will be there in the operating room with you as well. I will come into your room every day if you are unlucky enough to end up in the intensive care unit (of which all of our hospitals now have few beds available, so maybe I won't get to see you at all after the next few weeks).

I am not a hero of any sort, so please none of that.

I am as apprehensive and disturbed about coming in to the job every day when I wake up as any of my dedicated coworkers are. We risk ourselves and our family's health each day by doing this work.

We watch our coworkers get infected.

And we experience much worse.

The hospital has rationed our personal protective equipment. One single (previous-to-this-pandemic) disposable N-95 mask is supposed to last us for months now.

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Mine doesn't even fit my face because they only have two sizes available.

A number of physicians are buying their own PPE if it is available in a hospital grade quality and is even available for purchase, which I can attest from experience is not easily obtainable despite the products you see on Amazon or elsewhere.

Supplies of sterilizing cleaning products are running disturbingly low.

But that's only a part of this story.

What I want you to take away from this post is that the situation is about to go from very, very bad to unimaginably worse here, and most definitely elsewhere. Maybe even where you live.

We are seeing more and more young people coming into the ER. Fellow citizens in the teens to 40s demographic.

Please be acutely aware that the politicians are straight out lying to you. This isn't getting better or leveling off or going away or anything of that sort. We are about to have the unfortunate experience of "living through history." And not the good kind of history.

PLEASE wear a mask when in public. Continue to maintain social distance. Stay home if you can. Take precautions. Be safe.

This is no joke or hoax. The situation is dire. I hope I never have to see you or your loved ones where I work.

This awful pathogen is going to be with us for a long time to come. We all need to alter our expectations of a "return to normal" or a miracle cure and change our daily health and safety behavior for the good of everyone.

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We need to work together. We need to help each other. All of us. Please set aside politics. The virus does not care about your affiliation.

Reach out to your community. Help. Be compassionate and try to come together on this one thing just this once. Thank you.

Max Cannon is the creator of the independent comic strip Red Meat.

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Max Cannon says coronavirus is far from a laughing matter.