Taking Stock: Over 100,000 Deaths

As the grim title of this post indicates, covid-19 has killed over 100,000 people in the United States. The sorrowful weight of it presses down on me, and my heart is heavy. And rightly so. With no vaccine available and places opening all around the United States, it is likely the death toll will continue to rise. How far? To 200,000? To 500,00? Who knows?

Whatever the case, a staggering number of people have died of it in a short time.

Eliza Mackintosh, of CNN, puts it in perspective:

In less than four months, the novel coronavirus has killed more than 100,000 Americans — more than in Vietnam, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan combined.

It is a story of lost mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, spouses and even children. An even bigger tragedy: They didn’t all have to die.

Stephen Collinson, also of CNN, expands on this:

A Columbia University study released last week found that had the US started social distancing a week earlier, it could have prevented the loss of at least 36,000 lives.

In the New York metro area alone, 17,500 fewer people would have died if the US had acted one week earlier, Columbia epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman said.

Shameful. Yet recently on Facebook, a friend of a friend commented: “The cure cannot be worse than the disease… We must resume to live.”

I wrote back: “The cure is worse than death? For the 100,000 people who have died of covid-19 in this country? For the many, many more who will surely die as standards are relaxed?”

An argument ensued, and nobody’s mind was changed.

All the while, our president has put the coronovirus in his rear-view mirror, as though the virus is a pesky driver that can be passed and left behind. Onward to the 2020 election, which appears to be what is chiefly on the president’s mind. Suffering and death? Not so much.

There have been glimmers of hope. Not every country has behaved as stupidly as ours has. As the writer Umair Haque writes, “New Zealand… didn’t just flatten the curve. It ‘crunched’ it, as epidemiologists say. Do you know how many people died of the virus in New Zealand? Just 21. Twenty one….That’s a stunning accomplishment….Sure, New Zealand’s a small country. But being a big country doesn’t give you a license to just watch helplessly as thousands die. That’s just a rationalization for negligence.”

Can the U.S. learn from New Zealand and its admirable prime minister, Jacinda Ardern? Again, who knows?

Despite my heavy heart, I live in hope.

52 thoughts on “Taking Stock: Over 100,000 Deaths”

  1. Some seem to think the survival rate being over 99% it’s no big deal. Yeah, that means about one out of every hundred dies! Which one of your hundred closest friends, relatives and neighbors do you want to sacrifice? (And you’re right, Facebook arguments don’t change minds; we just get to vent.)

  2. The economy, that is the priority it seems.
    I remain in lockdown despite many of my fellow countrymen and women behaving as if it is all over and time to go to the beach! What saddens me most is that so many health professionals have been killed by the terrible neglect of our government (UK) as it did not provide adequate PPE.
    Well done NZ!
    The environment is benefitting and I take comfort there – and yes, I too live in hope.
    Stay safe Laurie. xx

  3. Sobering stats to take in. What is hard is that was just the first wave. There WILL be wave 2 and those who are in denial, will have trouble facing that, as it will most likely be worse. It is bad news on top of bad news. And our govt. agencies have been disappointing in their response, to say the least. Hold on to your hats.

  4. I think the US is unlikely to learn from NZ. In order to do so we would have to change our entire culture. Then again, how great that would be!

    1. It’s hard not to be angry. This well-known quotation from Macbeth seems particularly apt: “And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
      The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
      Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
      That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
      And then is heard no more: it is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
      Signifying nothing.”

  5. There is no doubt that this pandemic has brought out the best and the worst in most countries….it was interesting to read the link (put on by Rupali) about the women leaders. Staggering to read of the amount of US deaths in comparison to the recent wars.
    Best wishes Laurie, and let’s be hopeful for some positive turning points soon.

    1. The U.S. has over a quarter of the world’s covid-19’s deaths. Heartbreaking that this should be true of the World’s richest country.

  6. Between coronavirus, crazy racism that won’t go away, riots and the future not looking a whole lot better, I don’t know what to say. No woman lead here any time soon! (virtual hugs)

  7. The lock down here in New Zealand was hard…but it seems to have worked. The economy has taken a blow, but hopefully things will recover bit by bit. Tourism, a big part of the economy, has obviously taken a blow, but equally lots of Kiwis are taking advantage of deals to travel this holiday weekend. Now we have to hope the virus doesn’t come back. Anyway, this is a thing here https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/121643986/the-curve-crusher-bloomfield-merch-raises-140000-for-womens-refuge

  8. It’s a tragedy and far from over. I wish I could do my normal summer things as others seem to think they can do, but I accept the reality.

  9. Although Wales is part of the UK it has some autonomy and our government has decided to be more cautious than England. As of today I can meet up to 5 other people outdoors as long as they are local (within 5 miles) and we stay 2 metres apart if they don’t live in the same household. I, for one, am glad of the caution. I am quite willing to stay home apart from walking the dogs and chatting, at a distance, to people I see in their gardens or also walking. Of course, I might feel differently if |i had a small business that was closed. I can’t change what others do but I can do my best to keep myself safe. Take care Laurie and keep hoping that good sense prevails.

    1. Many thanks! Easy to get discouraged. The U.S. has the dubious distinction of having over a quarter of the worldwide deaths from covid-19. I could write more, but I will stop.

      1. It is so hard to swim against the tide! But please continue to take care, asses the risks for yourself and do what feels right.

  10. I echo your thoughts and believe we are not seeing the scale of the suffering. Excess mortality in the UK suggests deaths are closer to 1 in a thousand. I wish we had the slightest chance of having a leader in Jacinda Ardern’s mould any time soon (I would rather have a sure fire certainty, but even a hint would be welcome).

    1. Right? Sigh. I sent you an email asking for your mailing address so that I can send you a “flower” from my garden. If you didn’t get it, let me know, and I will send you another email.

  11. I understand your sorrow, Laurie; this is an unprecedented time in our lifetimes. I think NZ had the benefit of watching those countries which were impacted earlier and learned well from doing so. I struggle to disentangle the news from UK and US – what is real, what is not – and for every statistic that does seem real, there will be another which presents things a little better or a little worse. I certainly felt shock when the deaths in your country from Covid exceded those from THREE wars. War deaths naturally shock and sadden us; deaths from the virus apparently less so. I do not understand why this is – a life lost is the same regardless.

    We can only do our best to remain safe and be responsible towards keeping others safe. And watch and wait. One thing I have become much better at since this pandemic began is learning to live in the present. Taking it one day at a time and relishing the smallest of pleasures 🌻

    Keep well, stay safe 🙂

  12. So sadly common that nobody’s mind gets changed. So many are pretending or truly believe that the virus is just…over and gone. Meanwhile, I am still in phase one (stay at home) as much as possible. Which is easy for me because I like being home.

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