Day 73. This week two noteworthy pandemic related milestones were reached. The first a grim one: in a short three month period the United States lost 100,000 people to the Corona virus. The second a positive, but concerning one: major portions of the Washington DC metropolitan area, specifically DC and Northern Virginia, have announced that they are ready to transition to a Phase 1 level reopening.
To put the first milestone in perspective, during the entire Viet Nam War which lasted several years, approximately 56,000 Americans lost their lives in battle. During the 1960’s, daily reports of American servicemen dying in battle led to an anti war protest movement which gained such prominence and influence that it ultimately forced an end to the war. So many Americans were so outraged at the enormous loss of life that they demanded that their government change its policy and bring an end to the dying.
In three short months the Corona virus has killed more Americans than died in the Viet War. And the death toll continues to rise.
Which leads me to the second milestone, the reopening of the Washington DC area. The transition to a Phase 1 reopening does not represent the end of the threat of Covid-19. Quite to the contrary, the virus is still very much a very serious threat to our health. What has changed is that the infection rate has been flattened such that health care facilities are now deemed to have adequate resources to treat those requiring hospitalization and critical care. In other words, the battle against the Corona Virus is still raging – no one has declared a cease fire.
Which means that to defeat the virus and stop the dying, America needs a Covid-19 “anti war” movement to rally against needless death. Such a movement requires a unity of purpose and action to combat the spread of the virus and reduce the risk of a deadly second wave.
What is perplexing, however, is that unlike the anti-war movement of the 1960’s which united against war and needless dying, today’s protest movements, the attitudes of many of our political leaders and pundits, and the lackadaisical behavior of many common citizens like you and me are the exact opposite – advocacy and behaviors that will lead to a second wave and that will sustain the death rate.
Americans will not be safe, the dying will not stop, the pandemic will not come to an early end until and unless we unite in mind and action, exercise personal responsibility, and protect each other from infection.
We need another “anti war” movement committed to ending needless death.