By now, I would guess that most people have seen images of today’s New York Times. The cover features 1,000 names, a mere percentage of the people our country has lost to Covid-19. We live in Bergen County, New Jersey, an area that has been deeply impacted by this virus. Still though, on local Facebook pages today, I see comments implying that this virus isn’t real. That we lose more people each year to heart disease. That each winter we lose many, many people to the flu. Reading these thoughts, from people who live in a hot spot, worries me. But more so, it makes me understand how difficult it is for people outside of our area to comprehend the seriousness of this issue. Other parts of the country quarantined in time to avoid the number of losses we have felt here but as our country opens up, I fear that more and more communities will be impacted the way ours has.
This morning, a friend posted that her mother’s is one of the names on the front page. I think about all the pictures I have seen over the years of her big family gatherings with her mother, always in the center, so clearly loved. This is just one family on a list of 1,000 representing a list of 100,000 families.
Many of these deaths were avoidable. This statement is not based in politics but in science.
I almost wonder if the number of deaths is now becoming so large that people, who somehow have not been impacted personally, are unable to wrap their heads around this number. Not because they aren’t intelligent, just because the number is so big it makes it hard to personalize.
I know it is time for us to get back out in the world and I think we can do it safely. But I think we have to maintain distance from people. I think we have to wear masks when we are in public places. I think we have to limit the sizes of our gatherings and I think we have to try to gather outside as much as possible.
I love what the Times did this morning but I wonder if we, as individuals, need to think beyond this list to the individuals. If you are lucky and don’t know someone personally, maybe think of my friend’s mother? Or maybe read this list closely and see if one of the individual’s bios resonates with you and then think about that person when you navigate your way around the world for the next few months.