Tears for the 500,000

Where do we begin to fathom such incalculable loss?

The FilAm Editorial

The number is mind-numbing. 500,000. At least half a million American lives lost to the stealth killer coronavirus. Thousands of them of Filipino ethnicity. Almost 300 of them Filipino American doctors, nurses, and other health care frontliners, based on data from Kanlungan.net, a memorial dedicated to Filipinos in the healthcare system.

How did it happen that way? Where do we begin to fathom such incalculable loss? Have we become like clueless people whistling past a graveyard? Or humming the numbers to the tune of “Seasons of Love?” Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred…

Some people have justified that the old and the elderly are, in a way, perishables. That’s a cruel thing to say.  Just as painful is the fact that many young Americans have also died from this plague.

The tragedy is that the outbreak of COVID-19 had been foretold after it was first detected in China in late 2019. Actually, scientists who track diseases have warned us for years, no, decades that a contagion is likely to hit us.  Soon. Not later. Or in this case, now. When it did, the previous administration acted like it came out of nowhere. It was a delusion that proved deadly. There was front and center denial that the disease was in our midst and raging out of control. Instead of speaking to educate the public about the threat of not taking the pandemic seriously, Donald Trump politicized the wearing of masks and stoked the fires of hate against Asian-Americans.

Who should be held to account for our irresponsible response to the coronavirus which has killed so many? What accounts for the cavalier attitude of some toward COVID-19  with people around us dying at an alarming rate? Like half a million over a period of more than a year?

There are some encouraging signs, according to The New York Times: The vaccines seem to be working. Nursing home deaths are slowing. Still, troubling indications remain. Infections continue to spread. Vaccination logistics remain problematic.

Plagues, such as the coronavirus, are going to hit our society again because of our casual attitude toward science and the environment. Some continue to dismiss the idea that we are stewards of our planet for now and for the next generation. We increasingly invade wild areas, coming into contact with plants and animals whose bacteria and viruses make the jump to humans who have no defenses against these elements. A lot of times, the invasions are justified on the basis of creating a better life for ourselves without thought of environmental consequences.

The litany of diseases that has been caused partly by our indifference, and sometimes hubris,  is getting long and worrisome. AIDS made the jump from simians to humans and exploded in the 1980s.   SARS burst in Asia in early 2000, and we are just fortunate it did not spread elsewhere. Ebola, which was a health scare from 2013 to 2016, is still cropping up in Africa.

It is only a matter of time, as every serious scientist has asserted, that another germ will be upon us and spread like wildfire. COVID is mutating, and some are predicting it may have a permanent presence in our lives just like the flu.

This means we need to get a shot every year. We need to have confidence in our vaccines. We cannot have half a million deaths more.

Forever Business Owner: Nieva
Quezon Burdick
Website: https://aloe23dragon.flp.com/
Email: Nqburdick1@gmail.com

(C) The FilAm 2021

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