100,000 people have died from Covid-related causes. These deaths have occurred largely alone. They have been without notice, discounted, under-counted, preventable, and not properly mourned.
When my dad passed away in 2003 I stood next to his bed and held his hand. I will remember the feeling of his hand in mine the rest of my life — my eyes are red and hot that for the many people who couldn’t say goodbye to loved ones in-person. Were it not for the nurses, doctors, and therapists holding an iPad, these losses have been unseen. They are here to heal us and they have had to act as our witness.
Three million Americans live in nursing homes, 40,000 or so of them have died. One of them at least is someone I know. His kids received a phone call across the country with the news.
I talked with Rachel Maddow about this a few weeks ago. The lack of accountability. Of visibility. Of a plan. She pushed this into people’s consciousness. And still people die by the dozen. Americans are being buried without funerals, sometimes in mass graves. Sometimes with a few loved ones. Sometimes on Zoom. Often unidentified by their loved ones.
Americans are taking every opportunity they can to mourn and there’s a hole. Often someone will discount these losses as Trump did today with his “the number” is “only going to be 100,000”. In those moments, the victims of this disease are unseen.
100,000 people lost and I can count on one hand the number of scenes from hospitals, funerals or nursing homes shown on TV and seared into our memories. We need to bear better witness. There have been no scenes like 9/11. I talked about this with NJ Governor Phil Murphy. He flew the flags at half-staff. Not because the president ordered it. He flew them at half staff because doing so would create a public discussion.
A CNBC host today criticized the scientists for making too much of Covid-19 and hurting the economy (his stocks). That’s the party line. They’re only people. Since you can’t say that, the…