- Dorothy and Gene Campbell, 88 and 89 years old, are currently separated by a nursing home window as Gene is under quarantine in Kirkland, Washington.
- As of March 9, 16 of 22 reported coronavirus fatalities in the United States have been traced to Kirkland's Life Care Center facility, the Seattle Times reports.
- The Campbells' son, Charlie Campbell, helped bring his mother to the window to see her husband.
As new cases of coronavirus are reported in the U.S. every day, it's clear that Washington state is one of the United States' hardest-hit areas so far. No one is feeling the effects more than the residents of Kirkland, Washington's Life Care Center and their loved ones: 16 of the states' 19 reported deaths from COVID-19 are associated with the long-term care facility. Now, a photo of a longtime married couple forced to communicate through the nursing home's window is touching strangers' hearts, underscoring the ways in which a public health crisis can change people's lives in a matter of days.
88-year-old Dorothy Campbell isn't currently allowed to visit her husband of 60 years, Gene Campbell, People reported. Gene, 89, is one of the Life Care Center residents currently under quarantine as officials work to contain the virus's impact in the area. So Dorothy and Gene's son, Charlie Campbell, escorted his mom to Gene's window, where she peered through at her longtime spouse.
Dorothy and Charlie, himself a retired registered nurse, were photographed leaving the facility after she'd been able to see that Gene was okay.
Family of the affected and possibly-affected Life Care Center residents are understandably concerned about what they've felt is a lack of communication on the center's part, according to CNN. As of Sunday, March 8, a press briefing from Life Care Center of Kirkland shared that only 55 residents out of about 120 remained there, with 6 of the quarantined residents currently exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
"We feel like we’re still in triage mode,” Life Care spokesman Tim Killian told a news conference, the Seattle Times reported.
The heartbreaking image of Dorothy and Gene Campbell's predicament can also double as a friendly reminder regarding how we discuss who's been most affected by the coronavirus, and why it's insensitive to say things such as "don't worry, it's only fatal for the elderly and immunocompromised people." Not only does that sentiment suggest some lives are less important than others, as human rights attorney Alexandra Brodsky recently pointed out in a widely-circulated tweet, "people who will be high-risk patients if we get coronavirus can hear you when you reassure everyone we're the only ones who might die."
A friendly reminder: people who will be high-risk patients if we get coronavirus can hear you when you reassure everyone we're the only ones who might die.— Alexandra Brodsky (@azbrodsky) February 29, 2020
For more information on the coronavirus, how it spreads, and what to do if you suspect you're sick, check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for updates.
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