America reels from 500,000 COVID-19 deaths as nation reaches grim mark

A year ago, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the coronavirus outbreak was heading towards pandemic status. In the weeks that followed, we tried to close shops and schools because we believed we could slow the spread.

Today more than 500,000 Americans are dead.

There is a lot of blame, especially given the previous administration’s monumental fiddling with this public health emergency. But that’s not the conversation I want to have right now. Today we mourn. Today we mourn with the families who had to say goodbye to them Lover – Parents, grandparents, spouses, aunts and uncles, siblings, sons and daughters.

The loss of half a million people is devastating. It’s heartbreaking. The tribute – both literally and figuratively – will be felt for decades. And while we have hope for vaccines and a steady decline in new COVID-19 cases, this emotional milestone is a reminder that every statistic is a person and part of a community.

“People in decades will be considered about it terrible historic milestone In the history of this country, these many people are believed to have died of a respiratory infection, “said Anthony Fauci, the leading US expert on infectious diseases, on CNN Sunday.

I’ve read story after story of those who died when their families couldn’t see them or had to say one last “I love you” via video chat. I’ve seen more cable news than is probably healthy and recorded the chaotic scenes in overcrowded hospitals across the country. While I am depressed, I think that feeling the loss is important. The numbers are so overwhelming that we could easily become deaf to their significance. We can’t let that happen.

President Joe Biden delivered a speech at the White House Monday night, followed by a moment of silence and a candlelight ceremony. He also ordered that flags on federal buildings and properties be lowered to half the staff for the next five days to mark the 500,000 death toll from the coronavirus pandemic.

I can’t believe we’re here. I hate that we are here. However, there are people who still refuse to believe that COVID-19 is real or are unwilling to take action to fight the virus. Open your eyes. Show some compassion. We all know someone who has been affected by the coronavirus, is seriously ill, or is mourning a loss.

Members of the National Guard help process COVID-19 deaths and temporarily store victims' bodies in the coroner's office in Los Angeles on Jan. 12.

We lost almost more Americans than we did during World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined. The numbers are almost too big to capture. And unfortunately, more people will die from COVID-19. The best way to honor them and their families is to continue wearing – or starting to – wear masks and social distancing.

With grief comes determination. Let’s never forget this moment.

National columnist Suzette Hackney is a member of USA TODAY’S editorial staff. Contact them at [email protected] or on Twitter: @suzyscribe


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