How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal?

Ed Yong, writing for The Atlantic, examines the distinct lack of societal change that is occurring after millions have died and nearly a million alone in just the United States.

He starts and doesn’t let up:

The United States reported more deaths from COVID-19 last Friday than deaths from Hurricane Katrina, more on any two recent weekdays than deaths during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, more last month than deaths from flu in a bad season, and more in two years than deaths from HIV during the four decades of the AIDS epidemic. At least 953,000 Americans have died from COVID, and the true toll is likely even higher because many deaths went uncounted. COVID is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after only heart disease and cancer, which are both catchall terms for many distinct diseases. The sheer scale of the tragedy strains the moral imagination. On May 24, 2020, as the United States passed 100,000 recorded deaths, The New York Times filled its front page with the names of the dead, describing their loss as incalculable.” Now the nation hurtles toward a milestone of 1 million. What is 10 times incalculable?

The whole thing paints a sad portrait of America.

March 8, 2022


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