Tally of coronavirus death can overwhelm

Grief over the past year is natural

Lisa Olivia Fitch | 12/30/2020, 6 a.m.
The year 2020 was rotten and we are so glad it is over..
Mental Illness

This New Year’s, more than any in this reporter’s recent knowledge, is best represented by that traditional art showing the aged, wrinkled, crooked old grandfather time handing over his hourglass to the young, spry, naïve New Year baby.

“Good luck,” he seemingly tells the baby. “I had an awful 12 months.”

Most persons on planet Earth would agree with the old man. The year 2020 was rotten and we are so glad it is over. Particularly because of the arrival of the coronavirus and the disease which ravaged the globe: COVID-19.

As of Dec. 16, more than 1.5 million persons worldwide had died from COVID-19, according to worldometers.info, which keeps track of statistics from 218 countries and territories.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US provides updated maps, charts and data regarding the coronavirus. It recorded 302,992 deaths in the national tally, updated Dec. 16.

In a breakdown of states, the CDC site records that California had 82.2 average daily cases per 100,000 persons. The tenth highest state in the country.

The COVID-19 incident update from the LA County Emergency Operations Center reported that the county had suffered 8,568 deaths since the first case was recorded on January 26.

“For everyone who is now facing a future without a loved one or friend who has passed away from COVID-19, we send you our deepest sympathies and we wish you healing and peace,” said Barbara Ferrer, county director of Public Health. “We have the most difficult road in front of us and the virus is rampant in our neighborhoods. Every hour, on average, two of our neighbors, family members and friends are dying from COVID-19. The most important way we get through these hard times is for everyone to stay home as much as possible and only go out for work, exercise or for essential services.

“When you must leave your home,” Ferrer continued “always wear a face covering and stay at least 6 feet away from people you do not live with. Please cancel holiday plans that involve travel or gathering with friends and family that are not part of your household. Unless we remain more diligent through the holidays - and beyond – we will not be able to stop the surge and provide essential relief to our hospitals and healthcare workers.”

Those directions are now so familiar, but the sad news of the pandemic continues. And over the year, that old saying came true, “When White America catches a cold, Black America catches pneumonia.”

“Black rates started a deadly rise in October, and it seems to be out of control. Blacks have to speak out about staying safe and support each other as we practice safety,” says Brenda Watson, co-chair of Black Women Rally for Action – Los Angeles County. “Our hearts go out to all of the victims and their families and communities,” adds Watson. This month the group will launch their “Stop the Black Surge” campaign to reverse the trends.

Black Women Rally for Action – Los Angeles County is a coalition of individuals and groups who provide a mechanism for Los Angeles County Black women to advocate on behalf of their health and well-being. The coalition, which does not accept government grant funding, is dedicated to advancing health, economic, and social equity for all Los Angeles County Black women through direct action and connection to effective resources.

The New Year promises that the COVID-19 vaccine is on its way to the populace.

“It is the light at the end of the tunnel,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said when the first shipments of vaccine were arriving at LAX. “The end of this pandemic is finally, finally in site.”

“Anyone who’s ever run a long race knows... and I’ve done a marathon once in my life, you know that the final miles are the toughest,” Garcetti said. “This vaccine will prove a miracle of science.”

There have been tremendous losses in the past year. Greif over those losses is natural and the In the United Methodist Church website offers some tips for those experiencing virus deaths of family or friends:

  • Listen to your soul and do what is healthy for you. That may mean getting out in nature, taking a hot bath, reading favorite Bible verses.

  • Assemble a group who will accompany you through the grieving process. Identify your loved ones who will be happy to talk to you at 3 a.m. or the one who is OK to sit on the phone in silence for a long time, if needed. Find people who would not mind if you call them several times in the same day.

  • Hug the one you are with, even if that is a pet. An embrace is crucial during times of grief. For people who live alone, pets can offer affection. But also use tangible items, such as stuffed animals that hold sentimental meaning or a weighted blanket or quilt, which may be physically soothing.

  • Take advantage of technologies to stay connected. Use your phone, tablet, computer to talk, text, video chat with others.

  • Take your time to grieve. The normal pattern of grief is usually thought of in terms of two years as a starting point and the first year will be most acute.