My cousin, who lives in Arkansas, has been ill since early March. Initially she was treated with a Z pack (azithromycin), but she got worse. Then the doctor prescribed doxycycline for both her and her husband, although he felt fine. Since my cousin was not hospitalized, the doctor could not order a COVID-19 test due to low supplies. My cousin and her husband were advised to act as if my cousin had COVID-19 and self-quarantine. The doctor said to contact her if my cousin’s breathing got more labored or her temperature increased.

Despite the new medication, my cousin was feeling worse and she was having problems breathing. When she took a breath, it was painful and she felt like she was not getting any oxygen. The doctor then had lung x-rays taken, blood drawn, and swabs taken of her nostrils. My cousin thought she was being tested for COVID-19.

After the doctor received the results, my cousin was told that her blood work looked fine. My cousin asked exactly what tests were done. The doctor mentioned a few different types of coronavirus tests, but not for COVID-19. After my cousin’s persistent inquiries, the doctor said that she shouldn’t be telling my cousin, but since the Centers for Disease Control had provided Arkansas which such a low supply of COVID-19 tests, the state has strict guidelines for limiting the tests to patients who are hospitalized, have a fever of 101.5 or higher, or have pneumonia or double pneumonia.

Without the COVID-19 test, the doctor thought with 99% certainty that my cousin has it, but the doctor’s diagnosis is “upper respiratory infection.” My cousin will be excluded from Arkansas’ “reported” count of COVID-19 cases. How many people will die because medical professionals are telling ill patients that they have an upper respiratory infection or bronchitis? Will their deaths be reported as having complications from an upper respiratory infection? How many people will become exposed to COVID-19 due to insufficient testing and the dishonesty of some officials and professionals? Arkansas’ government is already discussing relaxing some of its Department of Health recommendations when they still don’t have sufficient tests to test their sick citizens. Do these government officials have any ethics? Any empathy? If Arkansas is under-reporting its COVID-19 cases, how many other states are doing likewise?