The U.S. Centers for Disease Control published a report on the number excess deaths related to COVID-19. “Excess deaths” are those deaths that occurred above and beyond what is typical in a time period. The numbers are staggering, as reported by the Washington Post:
“The excess-deaths figure surpassed the milestone last week, reaching 1,023,916, according to Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. The center updates its estimate weekly.“
Indeed, most of these deaths are due to COVID-19 itself, but there are also excess deaths due to other conditions as well, such as heart disease, hypertension, and the like. The number of deaths from COVID-19 itself is approaching one million, with the latest number as of this writing being 920,097.
And the devastation wrought by COVID-19 goes well, well beyond the actual number of deaths. Around each of those deaths are concentric circles of family and loved ones who are living with the grief and horror of losing a loved one.
Among many of those survivors are children who have lost one or both parents; among many of those survivors are spouses who lost their partners; among many of those survivors are parents who lost their children. Those concentric circles of grief will continue to live with that pain and sadness for many years to come.
I know this grief all too well, as I lost my daughter to cancer in 2009. There is not a day that goes by where my heart does not ache for her loss. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t fight with every fiber of my being not to succumb to the suffocation of having to bury my little girl. The pain never goes away, and there are millions upon millions of fellow Americans who are having to deal with this same pain as well.
The devastation goes far beyond the actual number of dead. And this is why I have been so passionate and forceful about everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Yes, I think by now, entering into the third year of the pandemic, attitudes and beliefs have hardened. I think, by now, those who have not gotten vaccinated will never be vaccinated. I pray that I am wrong, and I have feeling that I am right.
But given what I’ve seen; given the horror of watching family member after family member form their own concentric circle of grief and pain, I have to keep trying. I have to keep advocating for vaccination, as much as I can.
And if I can even convince one person to get the jab, and that person will be saved, by the Grace of God, from dying due to COVID, then I have done good. If I can help save one family, by the Grace of God, from having to live with the concentric circle of grief and pain, that can only be a good thing. Seeing what I’ve seen, I simply cannot give up.