Mark the date, as of May 26, 2020, over 100,000 souls had perished. Last week we hit a milestone I never imagined we’d see. Not in this day and age. It would take over 20 hours to speak each name out loud. 20 non-stop hours. That’s how far we’ve come in 100 days. The United States of America has lost one quarter of all the lives lost to the coronavirus in the world! And it will get worse.
Because now the virus is here, by low estimates over 2 million people have tested positive. That is 2 million more than we had when we started 100 days ago. But with the lack of testing, contact sourcing, making sure individuals quarantine and world-wide lack of data, we have no idea what the true numbers are. It’s conservatively estimated the actual loss of life could be 3 times the actual number. Especially now that the CDC has admitted fewer than half of all states are even reporting their positive numbers or deaths, many of which are not attributed to COVID that should be.
And now states around the country are seeing horrifying escalations in numbers after opening up businesses. Hospitals in Arizona sent out alerts that we are already at capacity in Yuma and Maricopa counties and soon to be in Pima county. This means beds are full, ventilators are taken. Will we start building hospital tents at the fairgrounds? If left to its own devices COVID will terrorize, decimate and destroy millions of lives.
By all accounts the death rate seems to be well above the 2-3 % originally estimated. At the moment we appear to be at more than 6%. To put that into perspective, the influenza virus has a mortality rate of less than one percent. For every 1,000 people infected with influenza, less than 10 will pass away. For every 1,000 people infected with the coronavirus, 20-30 will lose their lives. In order to let the COVID -19 pandemic, “run its course” as it appears has been decided, 70% have to get infected to create “herd immunity”. That’s the goal with any vaccine- to immunize a proportion of the people so when the virus pings around there are significantly fewer recipients to invade. But that means a devastating toll on American lives.
With approximately 330 million people, over 210 million need to get infected, 200 times those infected today! And if the mortality rate is only 2-3% then 4 – 6 million souls will perish! 4- 6 million! If it hasn’t already, that will impact every one of us. It could be our parents, siblings, spouses, children, friends, or co- workers. Eventually we’ll all be affected. For many, it’s just an esoteric concept, not personal. Incredibly, I still hear some claim it’s not real, it’s gone, or even worse- swear it’s a hoax. For me it became personal when the mother of someone I care about recently passed away from the coronavirus. She was just short of her 72nd birthday. She is not just a statistic. She is not just a number to be added to the toll. She was the center of her family’s world, cherished and now robbed of years she could have lived surrounded by the love she deserved. Instead she passed, alone with no one allowed by her side to hold her hand, give her solace, and tell her she will be dearly missed. Her family left to mourn on their own. Even denied the right to a funeral.
We cannot continue to let this happen. We cannot continue to expect truth, guidance and direction when it hasn’t been forthcoming for months. We have to protect ourselves. We shut down the country when only 1,000 cases existed. New studies have shown the world-wide shutdown saved 60 million people from getting infected. It was the most incredible, world-wide, unifying event that saved us all so much misery. But nothing has been done in those intervening life saving months to keep us safe. We are all eager to open up and get back to normal, but no one wants to die to see it happen. And even if you are, the virus isn’t that generous. It doesn’t allow us to pick and choose who will get infected or how badly. I’m shocked at the cavalier and reckless behavior of those around me.
Wearing masks is a symbol you respect and care for others. That their safety is important. It’s a symbol of unity and a role model for us all to protect each other. Especially the weakest among us. When over a third of those infected may be asymptomatic, or are early in their infection and do not wear masks, they allow their droplets to spew into the air and possibly infect others.
That businesses and large corporations are unwilling to demand that their own employees wear masks as a sign of respect to their patrons. At Home Depot they claim to care about their customers but not enough to ask their staff to respect their lives. Keep your droplets to yourself.
When you include social distancing and wear a mask you increase that respect and your own protection.Why is this up for debate? If you knew your child or loved one was going to be exposed to a deadly virus would you really do nothing? I picked a friend up at a local barbershop last week. There were three barbers all busy trimming patrons’ hair and beards. Only one was wearing a mask! I was shocked but equally as amazed by how they thought they could shake my hand when introduced and seemed to view my mask as a strange anomaly. This is going to be a long, hard, uphill battle. It. Is. Not. Over.
No one wants to hear that, believe that or acknowledge that. But it’s true. We are all scared to death and overwhelmed. It’s time we demanded the truth, the protection, the testing, the contact sourcing, the quarantine practices we deserve. This is not political, this is anatomy and virology. The bug likes our bodies and will do whatever it takes to get to us. Each and every one of us. It’s time we fought back, stopped it in its tracks. Or at the very least, made it as difficult as possible to succeed.
My heart breaks for those 100,000+ souls lost to the infection. And to the families devastated by their loss. Nothing can bring them back, nothing can lessen their pain and suffering. Those numbers are continuing to rise everyday. At a minimum we are losing 1,000 lives a day. In a time of war, no commander, no country, would tolerate those losses daily. It seems to be up to each of us now. Accept those catastrophic deaths as inevitable or do everything in our power to make sure we don’t hit another milestone.