Note: This thread is related to #Coronavirus #COVID19

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Andy Slavitt @ 🏡+ Your Authors @ASlavitt Ex-Obama health care head. Helper. Host podcast #IntheBubble. Listen: Founded @usofcare & @townhallvntrs. Insta: @andyslavitt. May. 27, 2020 4 min read + Your Authors

COVID Update May 26: 100,000 people have died from COVID-related causes.

These deaths have been largely alone, not properly mourned, without notice, discounted, under-counted, and preventable. 1/

When my dad passed away in 2003 I stood next to his bed and held his hand. I will remember the feeling of his hand in mine the rest of my life & my eyes are red & hot that for so many people this couldn’t happen. 2/

But for the nurses, doctors & therapists holding an iPad, these losses have been unseen. They are here to heal us & they have had to act as our witness. 3/

1.3 million Americans live in nursing homes. 40,000 or so of them have died. One of them at least is someone I know. His kids received a phone call across the country with the news. 4/

I talked with @maddow about this a few weeks ago. The lack of accountability. Of visibility. Of a plan. She pushed this into people’s consciousness. And still people die by the dozen. People should not die by the dozen. 5/ 

Americans are being buried without funerals, sometimes in mass graves. Sometimes with a few loved ones. Sometimes on Zoom. Often unidentified by their loved ones. 6/ 

Americans are taking every opportunity they can to mourn and there’s a hole. 7/ 

Often someone discount these losses as Trump did today with his “the number” is “only going to be 100,000” as he did today.

In those moments they are unseen. New Yorkers. Old people. Numbers.

See them. 8/

There have been no scenes like 9/11. I talked about this with @PhilMurphyNJ. He flew the flags at half-staff. But not because the president ordered it. Because we discussed it. 9/ 

A @CNBC host today criticized the scientists for making too MUCH of COVID-19 and hurting the economy (is, stocks).

That’s the party line. They’re only people. 10/

Since you can’t say that, the acceptable way you dress it up is by saying how many MORE people are dying for other things than COVID. 11/

A lot of new people suddenly care about deaths by suicide and overdose. If it had a hope of lasting this would be a great thing. Sadly I fear people are throwing number all’s around about people they won’t help.

Extremely false numbers. 12/

Deaths are also under-counted. Unless someone has tested positive or are in the hospital, they are not counted.

And now a number of states have decided that if you die from COVID but have another condition, you died from that other condition. 13/

Have skin cancer? You didn’t die from COVID. Have diabetes? You didn’t die from COVID.

These are games. These are just numbers. In the end, they don’t matter. But too many people are dying. 14/

But wait! The argument gets flipped on it’s head. These must be “lock down” deaths. Excess suicides and heart attacks and overdoses.

There are even websites (with no sources or comparators) with respectable sounding names that show the data. 15/

I’m going to say this right here. There has been incredible trauma from COVID-19. There have undoubtedly been deaths of despair. And anxiety. And depression. And more addiction. No question. 16/

These deaths are an impact of this pandemic. But not the lockdown. The the lockdown saved more lives than it cost. This was clear in 1918. And the 20,000 lives saved in May alone will be 5-6x the number of people lost for other reasons. 17/

If the idea were to value all the lives lost equally, I would be the happiest man on earth. We would handle the public health crisis of mental health & addiction AND the pandemic. But instead I’m afraid it’s only to discount the lives of those lost during the pandemic. 18/

Finally as EVERY family member who has lost someone knows, so many of these deaths were preventable.
-preventable if Trump had not eliminated nursing home regs (~40k lives)
-preventable if we had not denied this problem for even 1 more week (35k lives) 19/

-preventable if we had PPE (our health care workforce)
-preventable if we had early testing (containment instead of community spread) 20/

It is NOT all one person’s fault. I blame these losses on the disease. We can hold our leaders accountable as we choose.

Blame and hatred will so us no good to stick around. 21/

While more people will be lost, I am confident we can save MANY lives if we do the right things. Value all lives. #OpenSafely. Give our scientists time. 22/

Some time soon we will properly mourn. Until then I feel like I’m carrying an unpaid debt.

I will admit to you that like many it has been hard for me to sleep. That I can never do enough. 23/

I don’t know how to honor these people but some day these names will all go up on a plaque in the Mall and I want to be there the day it opens holding hands with whoever is next to me. /end

You can follow @ASlavitt.


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