US COVID deaths hit 1 million in less than 2.5 years
Washington National Cathedral’s largest bell in the nation’s capital rang 1,000 times a week ago, once in every 1,000 deaths. President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered flags to be half-mast and called every life an “irreparable loss.”
“As a nation, we should not be numb to such grief,” he said in a statement. “In order to be healed, we must remember.”
More than half of the deaths have occurred since vaccines became available in December 2020. Two-thirds of Americans are fully vaccinated, and almost half have received at least one booster dose. But demand for the vaccine has plummeted, and the weapons campaign is plagued by disinformation, mistrust and political polarization.
According to the CDC, unvaccinated people are 10 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people.
“It’s especially heartbreaking for me,” Nuzzo said. According to her, vaccines are safe and significantly reduce the likelihood of serious illness. They “pretty much eliminate the possibility of death.”
Angelina Proya, 36, from New York, lost her father to COVID-19 in April 2020. She runs a Facebook support group for grieving families and has seen her divided over vaccinations. She fired people from the group for spreading misinformation.
“I don’t want to hear conspiracy theories. I don’t want to hear anti-science statements,” said Proya, who would like her father to be vaccinated.
Sarah Atkins, 42, of Wynnwood, Pennsylvania, is channeling her grief into the fight for global vaccination and better access to healthcare in honor of her father, Andy Rothman-Zaid, who died of COVID-19 in December 2020.
“My father gave me orders to put an end to this and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Atkins said of the pandemic. “He told me, ‘Politicize to hell with my death if I die from this.'”
Julia Wallace and her husband Lewis Dunlap had only one digit in their cell phone numbers. She keeps paying to keep his number. She calls him only to hear his voice.
“Sometimes it’s so important to hear it,” she said. “It gives you a bit of confidence and it also breaks your heart.”
Some offered solace in poetry. In Philadelphia, poet and social activist Trapeta Mason created 24/7 Healing Verse Poetry Hotline. Traffic to the Academy of American Poets Website poets.org grew up during the pandemic.
Brian Sonia-Wallace, Poet Laureate of West Hollywood, California traveled the country. writing poetry to order. He imagines a memorial of a million poems written by people who don’t usually write poetry. They talked to those who are grieving and listened to common ground.
“What we need as a nation is empathy,” said Tanya Alves, 35, of Weston, Florida, who lost her 24-year-old sister to COVID-19 in October. “In two years of a pandemic, with all the lost cases and lives lost, we need to be more compassionate and respectful when we talk about COVID. Thousands of families have changed forever. This virus is not just a cold.”