We hit 200,000 deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19 earlier this week. Despite the related infographics and headlines, it didn’t seem like anyone was too shocked. too bothered or too affected. There were other stories in the news and other items on our to do lists. There was a sense that we should be in pain, but the pain itself was not even a dull ache, it was simply, undetraceable.
What makes this pandemic particularly surreal is that we are all impacted by it, yet we are detached from it, remaining consumed with the picture show that is our own life.
Sheltering-in-place and the debate over masks dominate the collective chatter and our mindshare, rather than the devastating realities of this pandemic – 1,000 deaths a day, humans barely hanging on while hooked to ventilators, families unable to visit loved ones in isolation, funerals that happen quickly and without a proper sendoff the departed deserve.
If we turned to face these realities, if we leaned into the despair of these people, it may just be too much to handle. And that may be the reason that we don’t. The loss is almost too great to fathom and has happened too quickly to keep up. So we process it only as needed or when nudged.
When we decide that it’s no longer about how far we can see, only then will we be able to feel beyond what is ours.
Resources and Reading I Recommend:
- This post was inspired by a piece in The Atlantic titled “A Failure of Empathy Led to 200,000 Deaths. It Has Deep Roots.”
- To keep it real, I follow @FacesofCOVID on Twitter. https://twitter.com/FacesOfCOVID
- I tune in weekly to the podcasts America Dissected and Social Distance to keep the realities of this pandemic front and center.