August 24, 2020

Hard for me to wrap my head around this story

Today I read the results of a poll done by CBS/YouGov and wept. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it all day. The results said that 90% of Democrats and 67% of Independents think 176,000 deaths in the US due to COVID-19 (estimated so far) are not acceptable, only 10% and 33% respectively think that number of deaths is acceptable. But I am blown away that 57% of Republicans think that 176,000 deaths are acceptable. Only 43% said it is unacceptable. I am stunned by this data. What has happened to our country? Most of us are still decent and loving human beings who are all doing the best we can to navigate the pandemic. But what has happened to the people who call themselves the “party of life”? I really am starting to believe they have become a cult, influenced by social media, false news sources, and other influencers. Logic is long gone.

Now, 176,000 or more families are grieving. I personally am grieving the loss of more than 900 frontline healthcare workers. The Guardian has made an interactive database to document and examine if these deaths were preventable. Other data shows that primary care and family doctors, rather than hospital providers, have been most at risk from dying, possibly due to lack of access to PPE in their small, barely hanging on practices. Hospitals by default are set up to deal with severe infectious diseases and family doctors are not. Sobering news. Everyday that the virus spreads, especially in rural areas, more family doctors are exposed, risking their lives.

This COVID-19 projection data is sobering too. They project almost 310,000 deaths by December 1. Alarmingly, it shows an increase to 421,000 deaths if we ease up on restrictions, as recommended by our President and many governors.

But if everyone masked up, the numbers of deaths could fall to 240,000 deaths. Still too many, but almost 200,00 less than if we loosen up our restrictions, and “only” 70,000 more than now.

Lots of very smart scientists are working on a COVID exit strategy which can help each state see how they are doing and what measures will help. More and more data support the effectiveness of mask mandates which can be adjusted to how each state and locale is doing.

I am grateful that so many people are working to decrease the deaths and understand the virus. That work is so important and inspiring. My wish is how to get the rest of the country on board. Already reports from at least 7 states show COVID-19 cases linked to the motorcycle rally in Sturgis earlier this month. Reportedly more than 450,000 people attended and have now returned to their communities across the country.

At this point, I do think disinformation is funneled to people though their social media accounts like Facebook or the television and radio news that they listen to. We are being attacked by enemies, both foreign and domestic, to incite our hatred and fear of each other. These forces are hard to block. We can use valuable energy and heartbreak trying to change their minds, so best not to engage unless they seem willing to listen. At some point, we can start to heal and find common ground, but not yet. Save your energy. We are needed elsewhere right now. Such difficult times and not just from COVID-19.

For now, our best defense is to continue doing what we have done the last 5 months. We have stayed safe and can continue. We mustn’t lose heart. Remember that most everyone wants to help and most people are trying hard.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and remember to show love and compassion.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.