Monday, July 20, 2020

The Thing About Excess Death

Many of the terms we use to describe things sound innocuous. Okay, not innocuous, when you have the word death in there. But when folks talk about how a pandemic that causes an economic crisis in a country where healthcare is tied to both jobs and having money, well it doesn't seem like much.
Some of this is brain processing protection of course. There are so many people dead and ill right now. In my city juat looking at the COVID 19 numbers, at the difference between recovered and diagnosed, the gap is thousands of people. 
So yes, when folks' economic situation is precarious, in this country there is more death. When millions of people lose their access to health insurance, there is more death. When you know medical and hospital workers are right now working in terrible conditions, people are more likely to skip a screening, decide not to call about that issue that's probably nothing anyway. 
And of course, we know the time change every year leads to an increase in heart attacks and car accidents. When people's schedules get thrown out of whack, it sometimes shows up in the body.
So, it turns out excess death can even show up in celebrities. They are people after all. Sure, some folks were ill, or living with a possibly undiagnosed thing in their brain. All of these things would likely be true even without a pandemic. But when we ourselves are dealing with stress, grief, and anxiety for those around us, it seems like more. It feels like more.  
But it is more when paired with all the people in your immediate circle, or neighborhood, or city dying. 
So RIP to Carl Reiner, Grant Imihara, Naya Rivera, and John Lewis, in addition to all those less famous folks we are all keeping in our hearts.  You didn't have to personally know people to love them, for them to bring us joy.  It is only fair that we feel sadness in their loss.