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Paramedic Simulates COVID Patient’s ‘Last Human Interaction’ on Viral TikTok

It’s not fear-mongering when this is your reality.

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It’s not fear-mongering when this is your reality.

669, 021. That’s the number of people who’ve died of COVID so far in the US. What if I said 120,966—the same digits but in reverse order. Would that feel differently? What about 1,669,021—same digits but with an extra 1. Does your visceral experience change? Probably not. That’s not because you’re numb to COVID. That’s because you’re numb to numbers

It’s called ‘compassion fade.’ 

Ask the scientists who’ve spent years researching this human phenomenon with fancy MRI machines. What they’ve found is disturbing: When there’s one identifiable victim, we act. We run into burning buildings. We change our gun laws. We protest nationwide for months. But when the victims are in the hundreds, the thousands, the millions—we do and feel almost nothing. 

Human empathy—it’s a fickle little thing. That’s what makes Kristine Kapow’s viral TikTok so genius. After losing dozens of patients to COVID, this young, queer, female paramedic and physician’s assistant filmed a TikTok video reenacting the most heartbreaking moment in a dying COVID patient’s journey: Their last human interaction. 

Kristine plays herself—a PA intubating a fearful Patient. “I don’t want to die,” says the Patient, whose last words foreshadow their tragic fate. Here’s the genius part, though. For the role of Patient, Kristine cast the one person audiences were most likely to feel empathy for:

Ourselves.

We are the Patient dying of COVID in her viral video. Looking straight into the camera, she begins. “My name is Kristine. I’m one of the providers working with your doctor today. I know you guys talked earlier about maybe needing a breathing tube if it’s gotten too bad too quick. And, unfortunately, we’re there, OK?”

 “I’m scared,” says the text overlay on behalf of the Patient. And we really are. 

@kristinekapow on TikTok

This sobering reenactment struck a nerve—more like a fault line—on TikTok. “I thought a couple hundred thousand people, sure,” she said during our Erupt interview.

“But to hit [5.6] million people seeing it? I wouldn’t have guessed that at all.” 

She DID guess one thing right, though. The one person immune to our ‘compassion fade’… is ourselves. That’s what inspired this now viral TikTok. 

One night at the nurse’s station in Kristine’s hospital—and following months of seeing COVID patients die—Kristine asked, “Have any of you ever been intubated before?” 

“No,” the nurses responded. 

“I have to imagine,” Kristine continued, “that moment we lay the patient down and get the drugs ready to sedate them… that conversation might be the last conscious conversation they ever have… Our last moments are [a nurse] saying, ‘Alright, push the medication to put them to sleep.’” 

They all stay quiet for a moment… clearly uncomfortable. “I don’t want that to be my last conversation,” the nurses said. 

Then it hit Kristine. “I wonder what the world would say if they saw that interaction for themselves.”

“Yeah, I wonder,” the nurses responded. 

Kristine finished her 12-hour shift. She had exactly one free hour before needing to start her second 12-hour shift working on-call. Kristine whipped out her phone and—still wearing her scrubs—shot the video. 

What followed were hundreds of thousands of replies.

“The first 3000 comments were all people saying, ‘I work in health care… Thank you for capturing this in a way that I can’t explain to my friends [and] family.’” 

The next 3000 were mostly from people who’d lost a loved one to COVID. “I watched them have this conversation, and it broke my heart that we couldn’t do anything else.” 

Then there were the haters accusing her of fear-mongering. “What IS the difference between what you did and fear-mongering?” I asked.

She explained. “When people say, ‘Well, 99.97% survival rate’ or whatever the number is, I [say], ‘But that’s 640,000 people who aren’t [going to survive].’ That’s not a small number. That’s six times the metropolitan area that I’m in right now. I’m drowning in the patient population we have now. Imagine that six-fold. It’s not fear-mongering when it’s your daily reality… It’s not fear-mongering when you’re just trying to explain it—what people see. That it exists. That it’s real. That these are real people.” 

In the face of death threats and trolls accusing her of getting paid by the CDC, Kristine explained why she still has her video up. “I have dozens upon dozens upon dozens of [messages saying] ‘Hey, I got my first shot today.’ I even had one woman send me a picture of her shot card, and was like, ‘I did this because of what you showed us. You should know you’ve made an impact.’ And that’s why I left it up.”

Kristine Kapow joins Miriam Isa on Erupt.

I stared at her in complete and utter awe. This young woman became a health care provider DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC. Why? How does a woman this empathetic not internalize the hate? The trolling?? The very real COVID deaths forever seared into her memory??? Why didn’t she just quit?!! I thought. 

This was her answer: “There was a day in November that I had a really long conversation with myself. ‘Do you want to finish PA school and be a provider in the middle of this? Or do you want to walk away from medicine now when you have the time?’ 

And I said,

‘If not me, then who? If not now, then when?’”

Well, our talk made one thing clear: The world is a better place because Kristine Kapow is in it.

Digital personality with 300M+ YouTube views, international public speaker, and chicken wings connoisseur. That’s Miriam in a nutshell.

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Why No One Is Truly Opposed to Dumb COVID Rules

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A staffer holds up a sign to advise fans of the mandatory mask rule in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Tennessee and Colorado Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Animals,

Let’s face it. We all work in customer service. If you sell car insurance, you better be ready to provide speedy payment to your clients when a tree falls onto their Prius.

And if you’re a doctor who wants to keep his patients, you’d better treat them with respect. That means short waiting room times and pretending that their questions (“Does this rash mean I have cancer”) aren’t as crazy as they sound.

Then there are professionals in 100% service-based industries like marketing, law, and — GASP – government. For them, customer service is arguably the most important part of the job.

In these industries, clients don’t really understand what you do for them, so appearing to be responsive, empathetic, and on-top of things is half the job.

Which brings us to Joe Biden’s COVID speech on Thursday, where he laid out his “Winter Plan” to stop COVID’s seasonal spike that happens whenever the weather gets cold.

President Biden speaks at the National Institutes of Health, Dec. 2, 2021, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Lurking in the background of Biden’s speech was the omicron variant, which some experts fear will bring new dangers to our shores.

The president proposed several interventions to dampen omicron and COVID’s winter spike, but if we’re being honest, his speech was really just a customer service exercise. It was President Joe Biden attempting to convince his clients – voters – that he’s responsive, empathetic, and on top of things.

As The Washington Post reported: “The president’s plan includes campaigns to increase vaccinations and booster shots, more stringent testing for international travelers and plans to make rapid at-home coronavirus testing free for more people.”

So basically… more of the same, plus an annoying COVID test if you travel internationally.

That doesn’t sound like much news at all.

(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

By now, we know that COVID policies like mandatory masking and compulsory testing aren’t going to deliver great results, especially in an increasingly vaccinated America. Deep down, most of us probably agree that these policies are more about creating the appearance that our leaders are on top of things than actually yielding compelling public health benefits.

But is there another way for Joe Biden? Should he just sit in the White House and do nothing, as his critics in the Republican Party demand?

And would President Ron DeSantis or President Nikki Haley really act differently, if given the chance? Would they want to be on the hook personally for preventable death, even if it meant burdening Americans with dumb masking and testing rules that cut against their small government philosophy?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The national debate surrounding COVID boils down to risk. The president and many others believe that added COVID mandates, as onerous as they may be, are worth it because they’ll save lives. Critics see it the other way. They believe that continuing to disrupt American life is causing greater damage to the economy and the nation’s social fabric than whatever the public health benefits these mandates may hold.

Both arguments are true. And that’s why it stinks to be the president.

Joe Biden’s bully pulpit has enormous power when it comes to shaping the world’s opinion about any given issue. Unfortunately, the virus isn’t listening.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Alex “Keendawg” Keeney is a media personality whose work has been published widely. He has worked as a Congressional aide, TV writer, and marketing executive for the real Wolf of Wall Street. Follow him on Twitter @keendawg.

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Queen Nicki Leaves No Crumbs After Hosting the RHOP Reunion| The Tea

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Plus, Kanye’s Heartbreak, Celebrity Illness shockers and Jen Shah’s legal woes just got worse.

On this episode of “The Tea” Ashley, Blake and Brie dive into celebrity illness and heartbreak. To share, or not to share, that is the question. 

Keep reading and watch the episode below for fresh takes on the latest entertainment and celebrity news shot live from the Erupt studio in Hollywood.

RIP Virgil Abloh

On Sunday November 28, the fashion and entertainment community lost designer and fashion visionary Virgil Abloh.

He was the first African American artistic director at Louis Vuitton and founded the renowned culture and streetwear brand Off-White.

Abloh kept his 2-year battle with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare cancer of the heart, hidden from most. He was 41.

“The Tea” hosts discuss Abloh’s decision to keep his diagnosis a secret like some stars including Chadwick Boseman and Robin Williams, versus stars who choose to share their battles publicly, like Selma Blair and Christina Applegate.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Kanye Wants His Family Back

Kanye West, who was a close friend to Virgil Abloh, took to social media over the weekend expressing his intention to bring his family back together. Saying that doing so would influence millions of other families to reconcile too.

As reported in earlier episodes of The Tea, there is speculation Ye’s estranged wife, Kim Kardashian, is currently dating comedian Pete Davidson.

Could Kimye 2.0 be in our future? The Tea hosts discuss.

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Jen Shah’s Right-Hand Man Pleads Guilty

Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah along with her personal assistant Stuart Smith were charged with fraud back in March.

Initially, Smith gave a not guilty plea but recently flipped his plea to guilty.

Shah still maintains her innocence.

(Bravo TV)

Nicki Hosts RHOP Reunion

Nicki Minaj took over Andy Cohen’s chair to host episode 4 of the Real Housewives of Potomac reunion and we are here for it!

Nicki didn’t hold back and asked all the questions we’ve been dying to know. On top of that, no housewife was spared. 

They all got the smoke-equally.

Could celebrity reunion hosts bring new life to the housewives’ franchise? 

The hosts discuss who we’d love to see host next.

Watch The Tea get spilled here:

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The Omicron “Scary-iant” & Football Funny Money | Political Drinking Games

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Animals,  

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year has just intersected with the most wonderful time of the week. 

By that I mean, it’s time to put a little Christmas spirit into Erupt’s political drinking games. 

On offer this week: 

  • The world has a new COVID variant. Congratulations, omicron! 
  • Twitter has a new CEO. Will he be as powerful as his predecessor, Jack Dorsey? 
  • CNN cancels Chris Cuomo (“suspends”) for using his anchorman powers to help embattled brother, Andrew 
  • The USA and EU cancel South Africa in COVID panic 
  • Trump’s top advisor sets a date with Congress to snitch on the Boss 
  • The NFL and College football continue to spend ridiculous amounts of money on truly ridiculous things.  
  • The term “Happy Holidays” gets put to rest. 

AND… A VERY SPECIAL GUEST JOINS: 

Curt Mills, contributing editor at The American Conservative and also a writer for Un-Herd. We’ll see how this silk-stocking Washington, D.C., columnist holds up in our chamber of pain.  

WATCH THIS WEEK’S POLITICAL DRINKING GAMES:

Alex “Keendawg” Keeney is a media personality whose work has been published widely. He has worked as a Congressional aide, TV writer, and marketing executive for the real Wolf of Wall Street. Follow him on Twitter @keendawg. 

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