Jeff Digre, Pharmacist, continues,
"I think of my experience as a pharmacist during the pandemic as walking a thin blue line. It is a line that divides the good intentions of the health care profession from the disorder of society. Everyday I have crowds of people show up to pickup prescriptions, some bringing their entire families, including grandparents with chronic diseases. I have unmasked drug addicts show up to purchase syringes, leaving in groups to shoot-up across the street together. I have people who are under-informed, who visit the pharmacy daily just to say hi, unmasked, arguing about something political.
And through all of this, I have genuinely sick people who rely on me for their medications, calling me on the phone for advice, rushing to the pharmacy only to find that they can't get their medication because of an insurance technicality - they are worried for themselves and loved ones, and they are walking the same thin blue line.
For better or worse, the murder of George Floyd didn't do much to change my behaviors. Sadly, I actually wasn't surprised when video emerged of the officer killing George. For years, I have been involved in small efforts to move closer to ending systemic racism, both in church and my social circles. I have learned that these incidents are almost predictable. In terms of how I view the pandemic, the killing of George Floyd has reminded me that the community I serve (Midway) is more susceptible to the disease in part because of systemic racism. Inadequate access to health care, generational poverty, and unequal educational resources have led to a scenario where our community has a higher incidence of risk factors (chronic disease) for susceptibility to COVID-19.
My challenge is to fight systemic racism by helping people correct these long-term health problems. At the same time, our pharmacy has become overwhelmed with people who need our services since most pharmacies in the area were either looted, or temporarily closed, or burned down. We are fortunate to have survived the riots with minimal looting at our pharmacy and we are back to doing whatever we can to help."