US officially passes one million deaths from Covid.
“The U.S. will record one million confirmed deaths from COVID in the next several weeks. This toll is likely an undercount because there are more than 200,000 other excess deaths that go beyond typical mortality rates, caused in part by lingering effects of the disease and the strain of the pandemic. These immense losses are shaping our country—how we live, work and love, how we play and pray and learn and grow.
“We will see the rippling effects of the pandemic on our society and the way it impacts individuals for generations,” says Nyesha Black, director of demographic research at the University of Alabama. “This is definitely a huge marker in the way we will think about society moving forward—it will be that anchor event.” COVID has become the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer.
These deaths have wide-ranging consequences. The effects on children may be the longest-lasting. In the U.S., an estimated 243,000 children have lost a caregiver to COVID—including 194,000 who lost one or both parents—and the psychological and economic aftershocks can have lifetime negative impacts on their education and career.
Younger people have not escaped. About 240,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 have died, nearly a quarter of the total toll. Among working-age Americans, “we are seeing right now the highest death rates we have ever seen in the history of this business,” said J. Scott Davison, CEO of the insurance company OneAmerica, in late December 2021. “Death rates are up 40 percent over what they were pre-pandemic.” For comparison, he said, “a one-in-200-year catastrophe” would lead to a 10 percent increase, “so 40 percent is just unheard of.”
“People are dying in the prime of life,” says Andrew Stokes, an assistant professor of global health at the Boston University School of Public Health. “They’re leaving families. They were caregivers. When we think about the children left behind, the single moms and single dads who don’t have a partner any longer, that’s going to create inequity that will be experienced for years to come.” Those lost took others to the doctor or checked in on friends or neighbors to make sure they were eating well and their blood pressure or sugar levels were okay. “What does it mean when these ties have been broken?” Black asks. “Can you put these pieces back together?”
The milestone was officially passed Wednesday, but as noted in the SA article that is probably a major undercount. We are by far the leader in deaths world wide with the next closest number of deaths is in India with slightly more than half our number of deaths. India has four times our population.
It is so shameful that our country with its wealth, education and access to vaccinations has had such a miserable response to this life threatening disease. Our response was worse than most 3rd world countries.
The reason for such a miserable response lies at the feet of one person – Donald Trump. But others deserve a lot of blame. Fox News broadcast lies and disinformation about the pandemic 24 hours a day while hundreds of thousands died.
Locally, Covid Kim Reynolds did more than any other to spread the disease as she kept meat packing plants open as workers died and failed to investigate nursing homes as residents died. Iowans should never trust her with any decision making power again. Her only concern was keeping businesses open and pleasing the former president. Iowans were dead last in her concern.
We are far from the end of this pandemic and its effects. Americans are still dying at a rate of near or over 300 a day. Cases are on the rise. Some people were so damaged by their bout of Covid that they may never be able to work again. And we have no idea what the effects of long covid will be or when it may strike. It is the stuff of the scariest horror stories.
And don’t forget that climate change has and will create the environment for even worse pandemics to emerge. First and foremost we need competent leadership who will act responsibly immediately. America can’t handle any more incompetency like Trump or Reynolds. It could kill us all.