Weeks later, when Cindy Pollock began planting small flags in her backyard, one for every 1,800 Idahoans killed by COVID-19, the death toll was generally high. While two women he had never met rang the doorbell in tears, looking for a place to mourn their lost husband-father.
Then Pollock knew that his tribute, no matter how heartfelt, would never begin to transmit the grief of the epidemic that has now claimed nearly 500,000 lives in the United States.
“I just wanted to hug them,” he said. “Because that was what I could do.”
A year after the epidemic broke out in the United States, the epidemic was about to pass, a period that at one time seemed unthinkable, reminding us that the virus is spreading to all parts of the country, of all sizes.
“It’s very difficult for me to imagine an American who does not know a deceased person or a family member who has died,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor of health measurement at the University of Washington in Seattle. “We do not really fully understand how bad it is, how devastating it is for all of us.”
Experts warn that more than 100,000 deaths are likely in the coming months, despite a massive vaccination campaign. At the same time, the nation’s wounds continue to accumulate in an unprecedented way in American life.
At other times of epic loss, such as the 9/11 attacks, Americans rallied to face the crisis and comfort the survivors. But this time the nation is deeply divided. Many families are facing death, serious illness and financial hardship. And many were left in isolation, unable to even bury themselves.
“In a way, we are all mourning,” said Shurman, who has advised the families of those killed in terrorist attacks, natural disasters and school shootings.
In recent weeks, virus deaths have fallen from an average of more than 1,900 a day to more than 4,000 a day on some days in January.
At nearly half a million, Johns ounce Hopkins University pays more than the population of Miami or Kansas City, Missouri. It is roughly equal to the number of Americans killed in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. It has been similar to 9/11 for about six months.
One in five deaths worldwide has far exceeded early predictions that federal governments should implement a comprehensive and sustained response, with some Americans paying attention to warnings.
Instead, the drive to reopen the economy last spring, with many refusing to maintain social distance and wearing face masks, helped spread the word.
Numbers alone do not come close to capturing the heartbreak.
“I never doubted he was going to make it. “I believed in her so much, in my faith,” said Nancy Espinoza, whose husband Antonio was hospitalized last month with COVID-19.
The couple from Riverside, California, have been together since high school. In parallel, they pursued a career in nursing and started a family. Then, on January 25, Nancy was summoned to Antonio’s bedside before her heart pounded. He was 36 years old, leaving behind a 3-year-old son.
“It’s us today. And tomorrow it can be anyone, “said Nancy Espinoza.
Late last fall, according to a Pew Research Center survey, 54 percent of Americans said they knew someone who died of COVID-19 or was hospitalized. Mourning was even more prevalent among Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities.
After that, the deaths almost doubled. Last spring, the virus hit the area north-west, north-west of the capital, which is angry with the virus, and last summer, the cities of the Ar-zone were hit hard.
In some places, the seriousness of the threat was slowly sinking.
Residents mourned the death of a beloved professor at Petoski Community College in Michigan last spring, but many doubted the severity of the threat, said Mayor John on Murphy. That changed in the summer after a local family had a party at the barn. Of the 50 who attended, 33 were infected. Three died, he said.
“I think people in the distance felt, ‘This will not appeal to me,'” Murphy said. “But over time, that is likely to change. Not our territory. “I’m not big enough until it became a real deal.”
For Anthony Hernandez, whose Emerson-Bartlett Memorial in Redlands, California, was overwhelmed with the funeral of COVID-19 victims, the most difficult conversations were the unanswered ones, as he wanted to console lost loved ones, fathers and lost children. new ones:
His chapel, which organizes 25 to 30 services a typical month, opened in January at 80. He had to explain to some families that he had to wait weeks for the funeral.
“For a moment, we had every decoration, every dressing table, every freezing table,” he said.
In Boise, Idaho, Pollock inaugurated a memorial in his backyard last fall to counter widespread denial of the threat. When the deaths matured in December, he planted 25 to 30 new flags at a time. But his frustration has been alleviated by those who slow down or stop paying homage or mourning.
He thinks. “I think it’s part of what I want people to talk about,” he said. “Not how. Look at how many flags there are in the yard today compared to last month,” but I try to help people who Lost loved ones talk to other people. ”
Associated Press video journalist Eugene Garcia contributed to this story.