The Value of Life in a Pandemic, Part 2

4 mins read

Back in April, I wrote about the rush to reopen the United States. At that time the US coronavirus death toll stood at a shocking 47,992. In less than 13 weeks the death toll has grown by 88,306 to an unimaginable 136,298 Americans dead from COVID-19.

Still, there are a lot of people, including the President of the United States, who don’t seem to find this death toll significant. In late March President Trump said that a final US coronavirus death toll that fell somewhere in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 people would indicate that his administration had “done a very good job.” Then, on July 4, the President claimed of coronavirus cases, “99 percent of which are totally harmless.” This is just untrue. The US death toll is currently 4% of total coronavirus cases. When you add in the cases that result in permanent lung damage, heart damage and brain damage, that percent of “harmless” cases goes way down.

I’ve been trying to find a way to make people understand how many people our country has lost. Of course, the number climbs every day, but let’s focus on today, July 13, 2020. As of today, 136,298 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19.

Let’s look at some sports venues. The LA Coliseum, which has hosted the Olympics and seems huge when you are sitting in the top rows, holds 78,467 people. So you’d also need the ancient Roman Coliseum, which held between 50,000 to 80,000, to contain the total number of people who have died from COVID-19 in the US up until now.

Or, we can take a look at baseball ballparks. You’d need Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium and Yankee Stadium to fit the number of people who have died in the US from COVID-19.

The total number of people who have died in the US from the coronavirus is greater than the populations of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or Elizabeth, New Jersey, or Fargo, North Dakota, or Berkeley, California. Imagine any of those cities completely empty of people, and you get a real sense of how many Americans have died.

Our country’s death toll continues to climb. Unlike the US, countries that dealt with the pandemic on a national basis, where the leadership didn’t make mask-wearing a political issue, are well on their way to normalcy.

So, what can we do to stop this disaster? Wear a mask, stay out of crowds, be smarter and do whatever you can to support Joe Biden, who has a plan to deal with the pandemic on a national level. Call your senators, congresspeople, governors, mayors and Boards of Education and tell them that you expect them to put lives before politics.

Donate, phone bank or send postcards on behalf of Vice President Biden or the Democratic candidates who can send home the Republicans who have put loyalty to a corrupt president before the welfare of the country.

We can’t bring back the 136,298 who have died from this virus or the many Americans who may still die, but in the next 100-plus days we can dedicate ourselves to making sure we elect people who will put our lives first.

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