Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was almost canceled due to the CoronaVirus pandemic. Ahead there may be no traditional New Year’s Celebrations with millions of NYC people partying. Probably no Mardi Gras next year. Many of us are asking, “Will America ever be the same again?”
This question was surely asked after World War I, after the Spanish Flu Pandemic 1918-20, and after WWII. No, America was never quite the same again after those world altering events. And we won’t be the same after we conquer the CoronaVirus Pandemic.
This Clearly Is A War
We’re clearly in a war with a virus. But let’s have some perspective on our situation. A war against a virus is recoverable despite the economic damage. World Wars are a different kind of hardship altogether.
To date, 258,000 Americans have died from Covid 19. Too many, especially if they were friends or relatives. But, it is still a tiny number compared to early 20th Century world wars.
Consider that in World War II alone, 35 to 60 million people died.
How do you start over from the destruction the wars left across cities and farms across Germany, Russia, France, England, China and Japan?
How did New York recover financially and mentally from terrorist attacks of 9/11?
Answer: It’s a slow process. It takes time.
It’s Time for Some Perspective
It’s very odd to other people in the world how upset Americans get when we see the tragic death of one individual— George Floyd. The death by virus of 258,000 is an American tragedy our nation cannot understand.
We can’t even grieve properly with Zoom funerals, relatives and friends who can’t come travel and at least console you with a hug.
Is it possible to put any perspective on the issue? Here’s what the CDC says about last year’s flu season, before Covid 19.
What we commonly call “the common viral flu” caused 38 million illnesses in the U.S. last year, 400,000 flu hospitalizations, and 22,000 deaths as reported by the CDC.
In the the 2017-2018 flu season, 45 million Americans suffered from the FLU, some 810,000 people were hospitalized, and 61,000 Americans died. It was a very bad flu season indeed.
But, we did not ground airplanes, destroy the travel industry, close restaurants, shutdown businesses, or send kids home from schools.
We did not shut down the economy nor lockdown Americans in their homes. The experts predicted Covid would be worse, much worse— and it is.
Let’s Talk About Death and Dying
In the United States, 858,000 people died in the 12 months ending 2020 Q1. Death is not rare, it’s inevitable. We understand and mourn for the additional deaths we will see this year from the CoronaVirus. But, this is not one of the Bubonic Plagues that killed one third to one half of the people across Europe in the Dark Ages.
Beyond Deaths, Daily Life Disrupted for Every American
Closing businesses, restaurants, doctor’s offices, dentists, governments, churches and schools is also tragic. It has turned our world upside down.
Media hype, combined with governments’ fear and over-reaction, have changed our world— perhaps irresponsibly.
Time, it is said, heals all wounds. Or in this case, gives us time to create a vaccine. If we do find a highly successful vaccine in so short a period of time, it will be a miracle. It looks like two or three miracles so, far!
We feel that modern medicine will use this exciting new approach to create an HIV vaccine and go on to perhaps rid us of the annual viral flu completely.
In my lifetime, Americans have survived and conquered the Spanish flu, the Polio epidemic, Tuberculosis, measles, mumps, chicken-pox, 1957 Asian flu, ’68 Hong Kong flu, Russian flu, and a host of other diseases. Many cancers can now be cured. If only we could cure the world of the desire for war.
Thinking About WWII Compared to Covid
I simply cannot imagine post-World War II Europe after 15-20 million deaths. The loss of family, friends, homes, churches, cities, factories, businesses and a way of life are painful on any scale. The Soviet Union alone lost 16,825,000 people who died in the war, over 15% of its population. China also lost an astounding 20,000,000 people.
It was surely a world in grief and despair— broke and starving.
Likewise, every Covid 19 death leaves behind loss and heartache. However, this nation can absorb the death toll, over time. We can revitalize our nation’s economy and recover. Unlike a destructive World War II, not a single American factory has been bombed. All U.S. cities are intact. All European and Asian cities ok. Our homes and business buildings have not been destroyed.
Our infrastructure has survived unharmed— roads, bridges, ports, airports, railroads, cell phone towers, cable TV, and the internet all in perfect working order. (Well, never perfect.) Police, fire, EMS, hospitals are as close as dialing 911. Amazon, Whole Foods, Walmart, Target Home Depot, Lowes and many other stores are open for business and delivering to cars or homes.
You know the negatives, the inconveniences, the business disruptions and how upsetting mentally the COVID-19 virus has been. But, this virus will end. There will be vaccines available for Americans soon. New treatments are already successful. It won’t be tomorrow for Covid, but “This Too Shall Pass.”
America, Let Us Be Thankful
Let us be thankful for the many blessings Americans have always enjoyed. Freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. At the heart of America is the free market system that must be preserved despite the current emergency environment.
No, there will be no traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade this year. But, tune in Thanksgiving morning. We might all be pleasantly surprised. Here’s what to expect.
Remember this… no virus and no government on Earth can stop Americans from spending money and celebrating Christmas. Go forth and shop… it’s your American duty!