For most of the country, this is about the time COVID-19, two years ago, when cases start turning up. To date, we’re closing in on 950,000 deaths in the U.S. and nearly six million globally. On this anniversary, I still maintainthat tens of thousands of these deaths were preventable and that irresponsible government officials need to be held accountable.

We know about pandemics; they’ve been circling the globe for centuries. We even knew this one was coming. We know how viruses are transmitted. We know that masks (any mask) and isolation are deterrents to viruses. Yet we still are acting like neophytes as people continue to die.

The country is seeing a slight dip in COVID-19 cases. Mandates are dropping. So what do people start doing? Flying. We are about to see a repeat pattern of just before the Omicron variant hit. We know that the longer viruses are not put in check, the more likely mutations will happen.

We know that this pandemic has affected us in ways that we don’t even understand yet. We’ve learned a lot about one another during this crisis.

We know that the virus has been politicized along racial lines and party affiliations. We know that some people will try to kill someone for wearing a mask or not wearing one, depending on what your political views are.

We know that people living in pro-trump counties are three times more likely to die from the virus than those who in counties that voted for now-President Biden. We know that folks who believed the hype and refused to wear masks or get vaccinated are among the dead.

What we know about unvaccinated people is that they have wreaked havoc on the health care system and put our frontline workers at deadly risks. We know those workers are overworked and traumatized. We know they have also been victims of the virus and many have died.

We know that about 200,000 children have been orphaned by the virus by losing parents or their main guardians. We know that the human and societal cost of this fact is incalculable.

We know that our mental health has suffered because of anxiety, isolation and depression. There’s now a COVID-related term for this; psychologists call it languishing. We know that drug use increased over these last two years, especially opioids. Drug overdoses surged. We know that suicides increased for people of color and young adult males.

Virtual learning? We know that there’s virtually no learning happening in most urban public schools. We know that the achievement gap grew and that an educational crisis is looming in the future.

We know that COVID-19 has decimated the economy, sending tens of millions of workers from the tourism, hospitality and the service industries into the unemployment ranks. We know that many small businesses, particularly restaurants, will shutter permanently.

As lay people, we know a lot about COVID-19 now, thanks to epidemiologists and other practitioners of science. How will we take this knowledge that we’ve learned through fire and create a more humane, more rational, more loving, more just world for 2022? Or will have to endure another year of ignorance and selfishness hiding behind patriotic slogans as white folks talk about their individual rights being violated at the expense of Black and Brown lives.

Let’s see what progress we can report on next year as to how we tamed this beast and have been able to move towards our higher selves.

BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member and Columnist, Jamala Rogers, founder and Chair Emeritus of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis. She is an organizer, trainer and speaker. She is the author of The Best of the Way I See It – A Chronicle of Struggle. Other writings by Ms. Rogers can be found on her blog jamalarogers.com. Contact Ms. Rogers and BC.

  Bookmark and Share

Bookmark and Share