I have heard the argument that people who have died of the influenza in the United States are a small percentage of the total population of the United States. These same people argue that the total percentage of people that have died of Covid-19 is still a small percentage of the United States population. They use these arguments to justify not wearing masks and not socially distancing. They use these arguments to justify their reasoning for not following the airlines restrictions based on public health guidelines that cost very little to ensure our safety and protection from Covid-19.
Whenever I am confronted with these arguments, I have very little to say in response, because I am not armed with the real truth and numbers, that put their arguments in perspective.
The total population of the United States at the time I am writing this on October 2020 is 328,229,523. According to the CDC between 12,000 and 61,000 flu deaths have occurred annually since 2010.
From January 2020 to October 6, 2020 the number of Americans that have died of Covid-19 is approximately 211,000 or 3.5 times the worst year of the flu in the last 10 years.
President Trump has stated that we are in a war and our enemy is this unseen but pervasive and deadly virus. So, I decided to take him up on that comparison.
According to START (National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism), the number of U.S. citizen fatalities (between 1995 and 2016) in the world due to terrorism is 3,658 people. The number of United States citizen fatalities in the U.S. during that same period is 3277 people. Therefore, the number of U.S. citizens killed in the United States and around the world from terrorism totals 6,895 people.
If all these numbers are dizzying to you let me state it simply; if the number of dead from Covid-19 is 211,000 and the number of US dead from terrorism is 6,895. Wouldn’t it be patriotic to reduce the number of our U.S. dead during this viral war by wearing a mask and distancing yourself from others?
What does it mean to be patriotic? To me that is caring about each and every U.S. citizen who has died from Covid-19, in the same way that I care about each and every US citizen who has died during our war against terrorism.
This virus is terrorizing the US population and we still do not really know whether or not this virus wasn’t itself, an act of international terrorism. However, we do know that the response to this virus taken by the present administration does not rally the American people to make the sacrifices that could reduce the death of our citizens.
If after 9/11 the American people had refused to be checked at the airport because some Americans had made the case, that oh well, only a little under 3000 people died (statistically not that many) in that tragedy! What would have been our response? Please ask yourself that every time you think of not donning a mask that could potentially save even the life of one American.
What makes it even more shameful, is that the Americans that you would think were the most patriotic, because of their public comments and posturing, are the very Americans, including the President and his family who are not doing the one thing that might be the thing that would lower the mortality rate even if by one or two.
Every American is valuable. Men who have fought in both of the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm have gone to extremes to bring wounded warriors, out of harm’s way and return them back to their unit. They have often put their very life on the line to bring just one soldier back. I have a good friend whose father died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp after having survived the Bataan Death March. His good friends in the prison camp took considerable risk to their life (after my friend’s father died in the camp) when they buried three of her father’s fingers, so they would have remains to give to his wife to bury after they were liberated from the camp. That is what it means to care for one life.
Can’t we follow the lead of these courageous patriots and do the one thing that does not harm us by putting on a mask? People say we have politicized wearing masks too much, maybe we haven’t politicized it enough, and it is high time we do it in light of the Americans who have lost their life in this Viral War.
Deb has worked in mental health as a social worker helping her clients transform their lives.
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