No doubt most of my fellow citizens here in the U.S. have learned that we have reached the unimaginable milestone of having lost 500,000 people to Covid-19. 500,000 people. It’s difficult to wrap your brain around that figure isn’t it? That just about matches the number of Americans who gave their lives in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam combined. The U.S. death toll is the highest in the world and accounts for over 20% of the 2.5 worldwide coronavirus deaths. Were some of these deaths preventable? Absolutely. Just last week the respected medical journal The Lancet found that 40% of the deaths could have been avoided. It compared the pandemic in the U.S. to other high income nations and discovered much of the blame attributable to Mr. Trump’s “inept and insufficient” response to COVID-19, as well as decades of harmful public healthcare policy decisions. But meanwhile, while most of us are waiting for vaccines to become more widely available, we’re still politicizing mask wearing, social distancing and the vaccines themselves. And to top things off, there are about 31 million people who are uninsured. It’s unfathomable that a country who likes to think of itself as the “greatest nation on Earth” can’t take care of its citizens. If I sound angry and frustrated it’s because I am. For the most part, except for people like our frontline workers, and some instances of heroism and basic human kindness, this pandemic has brought out the worst in us. Selfishness, violence, and callousness that was breathtaking in its scope. And the continuing willingness to use simple lifesaving measures for political expediency is the height of stupidity. If we had any brains at all we’d take a long, hard look at ourselves and our reactions to the pandemic over the last year and change our behaviors and attitudes. Obviously that’s not going to happen. Anyway, you’ll be relieved that I’m stopping my rant now. I apologize, but I’ve been stewing about this all day. Just think though: 500,000 lives gone. People who had family, and friends. People who died horribly, afraid and alone. Many of them needn’t have, and it’s not over yet. If any of you missed it, here is President Biden’s Memorial which aired a few hours ago.
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