Editor’s Column: A Sad Milestone

The United States marked a sad milestone this week: 500,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19. You can argue about the numbers. You can insist that the doctors who are treating those patients are fudging the numbers for nefarious reasons. You can say most of those people would have died anyway because they were old or had a pre-existing condition. You can say it’s no worse than the flu (although the lack of flu cases this year does leave one wondering if wearing masks, staying home when you’re sick, and washing our hands has had an impact on flu).

Regardless, half a million people are dead in the U.S. alone, leaving millions more in the grip of grief. The effects of that loss will be felt by generations to come, and will have an impact on us all. As much as we like to take pride in our “independence,” especially out here in the West, the truth is we’re all much more interconnected than we want to admit.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

~ John Donne
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