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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Covid toll in US once reaches unfathomable numbers: 1 million deaths

A white flag with a memorial written on it is one of thousands of white flags representing Americans who have died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the National Mall in Washington, September 26, 2021 It is housed in 20 acres.

The United States passed 1 million Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday, according to data compiled by NBC News – a once-unimaginable scale of damage even for the country with the world’s highest recorded toll from the virus.

The numbers – comparable to the population of San Jose, California, the 10th largest city in the US – had reached an astonishing speed: 27 months after the first case of the virus was confirmed in the country.

“Each of those people touched hundreds of others,” said Diana Ordonez, whose husband Juan Ordonez died in April 2020 at the age of 40, five days before their daughter Mia’s fifth birthday. “It’s an exponential number of other people walking around with a tiny hole in their heart.”

While deaths from Covid have decreased in recent weeks, about 360 people are still dying every day. The casualties are higher than most people imagined in the early days of the pandemic, especially because former President Donald Trump repeatedly downplayed the virus while in office.

“This is their new hoax,” Trump said of Democrats in front of an enthusiastic crowd at a rally in North Charleston, South Carolina on February 28, 2020. “So far we haven’t lost anyone to the coronavirus.”

A day later, health officials in Washington announced the inevitable: A coronavirus patient had died in their state.

Now, more than two years later and 999,999 people have died, the US death toll is the highest in the world by a significant margin, the figures show. In distant second place is Brazil, which has recorded just over 660,000 confirmed Covid deaths.

Christopher Murray, head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said that although this milestone is drawing near, “the fact that so many people have died is still horrifying.”

And the toll continues to rise.

“It’s far from over,” Murray said.

Each death causes a wave of lasting pain. Diana Ordóez’s husband worked in information security management and was promoted before she died. When he was not working, he preferred to be with his family.

For their daughter, Mia, who is now 7 years old, losing her father has brought anxiety, extreme sadness, trouble sleeping and many questions. Ordonez, 35, of Waldwick, New Jersey, doesn’t always have the answers.

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“I try to understand, but I’ve definitely felt at times that I’m not equipped to parent this person,” she said.

She finds that there is sadness even in happy times.

“It’s capped, ‘God, I wish he was here for this,'” Ordonez said. “It can be simple moments, like seeing Mia at the ballet, or going to a birthday party and watching her jump up and down holding hands with her friend.”

‘We got the opportunity to be a shining example’

Many see America’s staggering deaths as evidence of an inadequate response to the crisis.

“We had the opportunity to be a shining example to the rest of the world about how we deal with the pandemic, and we didn’t,” said Nico Monteiro, 17, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Monteiro made headlines earlier this year when he traveled to Philadelphia, where children age 11 or older can be vaccinated without parental consent, at age 16 to get their shot. for.

Dr Robert Murphy, executive director of the Heavy Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said many expected the US to better control the spread of the virus.

“We were very encouraged by the rapid development of vaccines, and everyone really thought we were going to have our own way out of this,” he said. “But then we had people who didn’t even take the damn vaccine.”

Steven Ho, 32, was an emergency room technician in Los Angeles when the pandemic began. He said he thinks the public has been confused by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s changing guidelines, while disputes over vaccines and masks have cost lives.

“We just didn’t do well,” he said.

Ho quit his hospital job last year – one of many health care workers to do so. A recent study calculated that about 3.2 percent of health care workers left the industry per month before the pandemic. This share increased to 5.6 per cent from April to December 2020. Relative to February 2020, the health care workforce has lost nearly 300,000 workers, the US Department of Labor reported April 1.

Ho decided to become a comedian. Combining his experience treating COVID patients with comedy, he donned his hospital scrubs to create a popular series of TikTok videos called “Tips from the Emergency Room”.

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This was Ho’s way of coping with what he had seen.

“It helped me release this suppressed energy, anger and sadness,” he said.

an epidemic that continued long after the advent of vaccines

More than half of US Covid deaths have occurred since President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January 2021.

Most of those deaths — for example, more than 80 percent between April and December 2021 — were unrelated Americans, according to the CDC. CDC data shows that as of February, the risk of death from COVID for non-vaccinated people was 20 times higher than for those who were vaccinated and increased.

Murphy said, “We know that vaccines work. We know that masks work. We know that social distancing works, and we know how to control the crowd, limiting crowded places.” , working. It’s a no-brainer, but we can’t do that,” Murphy said.

Sherry Helms Gamble – whose mother, Patricia Edwards, died of COVID in August 2020 – is concerned about the effects of the ongoing pandemic on health care workers. Edwards, 62, was an intensive care unit nurse for three decades who treated her patients as if they were family, her daughter said.

“I still talk to people who were working with him. I always find myself saying, ‘Please be careful. I’m thinking of you,'” said Gamble of Greenville, South Carolina . “Two years later and they’re still in a fight – I know it can’t be easier.”

Nine months after Edwards’ death, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in Nursing. Gamble said it was a pleasure to accept the award on behalf of his mother.

“It reinforced the work he’s done,” Gamble said.

The family created a scholarship, hoping to bring more nurses like Edwards to the field. Gamble said she thinks that if Edwards were still alive today, she might be asking everyone to take care of themselves.

“She’ll probably be saying, ‘Not only does your health affect you, but it affects other people too, so do what you can to keep yourself healthy,'” she said.

Gamble is certain her mom will have another reminder too: “Don’t take life for granted and the days when you’re still here on Earth.”

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