“Yes, the vaccine is coming,” I told myself as I spent my first Thanksgiving without any of my 70something parents in the hope of keeping them safe. Yes, the vaccine is coming, I tell myself as I look ahead to what will be an even lonelier Christmas. Yes, the vaccine is coming, I tell my father, who hasn’t see his grandchildren in months. Yes, the vaccine is coming, I silently mouth as I look into my children’s bedrooms as they stare into the blue lights of their computer screens, deprived of school, friends, family and what used to be called normal life.
As we were warned, the “darkest winter in history” has arrived on our doorstep, with the most chilling of numbers: More than 2,800 Americans died on Wednesday, the most reported in a single day since the pandemic started back in March. And on Friday, more than 226,000 new cases recorded, another new single-day record. California is about to go into another lockdown, and unbelievably, one of every 800 people in North Dakota have now died of coronavirus. Hospitals from Missouri to New Mexico to Minnesota say they will soon run out of beds for the patients who need them. We are a country with more than 14 million cases of coronavirus—with the numbers rising every day.
Being stuck at home with unhappy teenage kids is depressing—but I know I am one of the very lucky ones. The toll this is taking on the country as a whole is almost unimaginable. According to the Washington Post, “One in 8 Americans reported they sometimes or often didn’t have enough food to eat in the past week.” And the U.S. economy “has a greater jobs deficit than was the case at the very worst point of every previous postwar recession, including the Great Recession.”
We are a country that is sick, broken, and broke. Our president golfs and rages about the election, completely uninterested in the destruction he’s wrought. His response to the coronavirus has been a humanitarian nightmare of unprecedented proportions. More than 14 million Americans have had COVID-19, and the real number is likely significantly higher since our president isn’t a fan of testing because he believes it “creates more cases.” Mitch McConnell seems uninterested in providing financial relief for the millions who suffer, though stimulus talks are ongoing.