101-year-old Aunt Snooks died the same day the U.S. hit a COVID
milestone: one million humans lives gone. There was more fanfare
around auntie’s death than this country made around the
stupefying number of people who have perished since the pandemic. I
feel like I’m one of the estimated ten million who have lost a
family member to the virus, but not quite. More about that later.
growing infection and death rates means that I am still on my crusade
to educate people on how they can guard themselves against the virus.
I am still persuading people that we all have an obligation beyond
our nuclear families to fight for the safety of ourselves as well as
and his cronies still need to be held criminally liable for their
reckless approach to the pandemic that has resulted in hundreds of
thousands of senseless deaths. Most health and medical expert agree
that a serious comprehensive and coordinated response early on would
have greatly reduced the number of infection cases and deaths.
of the western countries experienced this kind of carnage. France - a
little over 29,000,000 cases, nearly 150,000 deaths and 80 per cent
fully vaccinated. Germany - 26,0000,000 cases, nearly 140,000 deaths
and 78 per cent fully vaccinated. The U.K. - 22,000,000 cases,
178,000 deaths with 75 percent fully vaccinated.
in the corner, claiming to be the smartest, most powerful nation on
the planet is the United States: 83,000,000+ cases of infection, one
million deaths and 66 per cent fully vaccinated. Just shameful.
you have been reading anything I’ve written about the pandemic,
you know that what boils my blood is the disproportionately negative
impact it’s had on Black folks. I’m not hating on the
virus; the virus is doing what viruses do. It is non-discriminatory
on all counts; it’s just looking for a host to cozy up to.
conditions that have made Black people and other oppressed
nationalities more vulnerable to the coronavirus and all of its
variants is the system of capitalism and its racist institutions. The
heavy burden of the death surges, the social isolation and the
financial stress have taken their toll. It’s been like watching
a futuristic movie that a Black person didn’t write. You know
the Black people will die before the end of the movie. Those that
don’t perish will carry the scars internally and openly for a
long time and be human reminders of the disaster they survived.
governmental decisions about COVID have been made through the lens of
capitalism. Corporate exploitation must go on. Yet, the government
seems to be helpless in the face of the price gouging that continues
to victimize the most vulnerable.
back to my beloved aunt. Last year at 99 years old - still ambulatory
and in good mind and spirit - she fell in her home. She broke a bone
in her shoulder and was sent to rehab where she contracted COVID. The
hospital put her on a respirator and checked her off as a casualty.
My sister wasn’t having it and was determined to write a
different ending. She had my Aunt Snooks transported to her home in
another state where auntie was doted on by my sister, her daughter
aunt went on to be happily present for the 100th birthday party that
family had been planning for two years. A couple of months ago, Aunt
Snooks suffered a mild stroke. She drifted into her 101st birthday
this month but never regained her full faculties. My family wonders
out loud how long she would’ve lived had she not been touched
may not be one of the ten million who directly lost a loved one to
the pandemic but I’m still a statistic. I’m one of the 82
percent of Black folks who know someone who was hospitalized or died
because of the virus. That percentage is higher than in any other
death of my aunt has given me renewed energy. I’m recommitted
to the dismantling of the systems that produce and perpetuate
poverty, inferior education, disparities in health and housing and
the trauma that enshrouds our communities. COVID-19 is like the dye
they inject into your body to show where the problem areas are that
pandemic will linger on but eventually it will be put in check.
Capitalism is the cancer that will continue to destroy human life in
various ways and metastasize the ecosystem we live in. That’s
where our organized efforts need to localize.