Heartbreaking viral image shows room full of iPads for final farewells

For the second day in a row, the United States on Friday notched a record number of coronavirus cases in 24 hours, reaching 225,201 new infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

In that same period, the country recorded 2506 Covid-related deaths, real-time data provided by the Baltimore-based university stated.

The numbers are absolutely staggering. But the personal cost can be hard to grasp for those unaffected by the tragedy of losing a loved one.

It’s why images like the one going viral from a US intensive care unit are so important.

On Friday, a family doctor shared a picture of a room full of iPads on stands, alongside the caption: “These are iPad stations being prepared for virtual ICU end of life visits by a palliative care doc I know. Jesus.”

The jarring image was shared by other healthcare professionals, including Trisha Greenhalgh, professor of primary care at the UK’s University of Oxford.

She wrote: “This is not where I anticipated we’d end up when I started researching video consultations 12 years ago.”

Ex-Harvard epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding wrote: “iPads stockpiled for ICU end of life goodbyes … was not something Steve Jobs foresaw.”

The comments on the tweet, which was shared hundreds of thousands of times, included stories from Americans who had watched their loved ones fade away via screen.

“On Monday my boyfriend said goodbye to his mother on an iPad. He didn’t get one last hug or simply hold her hand. He sat behind glass & held an iPad to try and prevent doing the same goodbye with his elderly father. I have rage. I can’t even be sad yet because I’m just so angry,” one person wrote.

“I had to do this with my mother,” another wrote. “She wasn’t even conscious, hooked up to the ventilator. Worst thing I’ve done in my life behind seeing her lifeless in a casket. People that still call this a hoax can truly f*** off. It didn’t have to be like this.”

The United States — the country with the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the world — has seen a dramatic resurgence in its epidemic in recent weeks.

It had surpassed 200,000 new daily cases three times in the past month, peaking at more than 210,000 between Wednesday and Thursday.

US health officials warned of a surge after millions of Americans travelled to celebrate last week’s Thanksgiving holiday despite pleas from authorities to stay home.

For two weeks, the US has regularly topped 2000 deaths per day, as it had in the spring at the height of the first wave of the country’s outbreak.

The number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 is also steadily increasing, especially in the most populous states of California, Florida, New York and Texas, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

The United States has recorded more than 14.3 million Covid cases and 278,000 related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

with AFP

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