There are many recent means of measuring the COVID-19 death toll

At just over 204,000 deaths, COVID-19 marks a grim milestone this week for the US. It stands as a sobering and inescapable fact as our nation remains split on the easiest of precautions such as wearing a face mask in public, social distancing and hand washing or sanitizing.

Many Americans across the country from the very beginning of this pandemic held fast to the claims that COVID-19 was being overstated, that it was a hoax or that it was no more harmful than the flu. Many of those same Americans have now doubled down on those claims even as the death toll continues to rise.

In contrast, I recently spoke with a group of millennials outside a coffee shop who were masked. I asked why they masked when so many others their age commonly don’t mask? One person said, “I do this out of respect to business owners like this guy serving us coffee and putting himself at risk.” Another said to me, “It’s no big deal, it’s just a mask, a piece of cloth, I really don’t mind.”

That same morning I ran into a gentlemen who had two masks on, one on top of the other. I asked him why he had two masks on and I could see the smile in his eyes as he said, “I wear this mask for me and this one for you.” I thanked him and wished him well. It’s reassuring to hear these kinds of comments when there are those at the extreme end of the spectrum who would just assume scream in your face, “I ain’t wearing no damn mask!”

The point is, doctors specializing in the field of infectious diseases all agree that masking, social distancing and hand sanitizing are all simple practices that could greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19 and allow us to return to some level of normalcy. Without the adoption of these simple precautions nationwide, we’re fated to a prolonged spread of this virus and a further weakening of our economy. To what end, who knows?

Now just weeks away from the November elections, we as a nation could not be more divided on many fronts. In the face of a weakening economy, racial divide and growing gun violence, COVID-19 stands the greatest threat to life itself. Even if a vaccine could be found before the years end, it would take most of 2021 to manufacture, distribute and administer the vaccine to all Americans as the deadly virus claims it’s last victims.

Lastly, there are many recent means of measuring the COVID-19 death toll such as:

  • It’s now the now the third-leading cause of death in the US
  • It now exceeds the combined death toll of all Americans killed in battle during the five most recent wars including the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf War
  • It’s now equivalent to 66 days of 9/11 attacks

For residents of the Coachella Valley, 204,000 plus deaths would be comparable to the loss of life of every man, woman and child for the cities of Cathedral City (55,007), Palm Springs (48,518), Desert Hot Springs (28,878), Rancho Mirage (18,528), Palm Desert (53,275). Truly a grim milestone and we’re still not at the end of this pandemic.


Image Sources

  • COVID-19 deaths: Shutterstock