For The New Yorker magazine in mid-April, Jonathon Blitzer wrote a powerful article about Juan Sanabria, one of New York’s first victims of COVID-19. A well-liked Doorman in the Bronx, only 52 years old, Sanabria became ill rapidly and spent his last days on a ventilator and alone. His step-daughter was only able to communicate with him through a window. It was the first specific story of this situation that I read about and it has stuck with me, as the tragic scenario plays out over and over again.
Ventilators have become a symbol of the pandemic, a twisted pairing of man and machine, while barriers — on the hands, over the face, between conversations, separate us at the times we most need others.