The nation is grateful for the visible existence you once had in this life. As you transition into the invisible on your journey to the great beyond, we will continue to draw inspiration from your unique and extraordinary memories and your courageous battle for survival.— Washington Radar
Americans quietly mourned as the 100,000th victim was lost to coronavirus on Wednesday evening, just four months into the ongoing pandemic that has swept the world.
It was a stark, yet transient manifestation of the brief, yet profoundly damaging war the country is fighting against an unseen but lethal enemy.
There have been so many fatalities that it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t lost a family member or friend to the disease.
Seventy-year-old Andrew Brooks Steel Jr.’s last days were painful and brutal. He was a devout Seventh Day Adventist and active retiree who “loved to be out and about” before coronavirus cut his life short on May 6, 2020.
That morning he was lying in a coma with an oxygen mask over his face, hooked up to a ventilator. Several other tubes and wires were attached to his body as doctors and nurses struggled to keep him alive, but they were no match for the hellish virus.
He was hospitalized in February with COVID-19 symptoms but tested negative for the virus. He was transferred to a nursing home after a slight improvement but he was still very sick.
One month later he was hospitalized again and tested positive. By the time he was diagnosed it was too late to save him. His family was unable to visit him during his two-month-long battle and he died alone.
The Zoom funeral was brief and limited to ten people, exacerbating their grief. It is a story of profound and unexpected loss shared by so many.
President Donald Trump expressed sorrow for the 100,000 lives lost on Thursday writing on Twitter. “We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000,” he tweeted, sharing in the nation’s grief as he too lost friends to the disease.
‘To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!’
‘This is the hardest part of his presidency — going through this pandemic,” White House press secretary Kaleigh McEnany told reporters in the briefing room. “It’s real to him, it’s personal to him.”
“So he does see his role as that — comforting the nation,” she emphasized. “But reopening the country, giving the country hope at this time,” was another duty the president was compelled to fulfill during the pandemic.
On Monday flags were flown at half-staff “in honor of the men and women in our Military who have made the Ultimate Sacrifice for our Nation,” the president tweeted.
“I will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus,” Trump tweeted last Thursday.
“He lowered the flag to half-staff for several days in anticipation of this number coming up,” the press secretary said.
“He grieves for the loss of life,’ she told reporters. “And, you know, because of this president, we stayed far below that 2.2 million estimate that was initially out there. The extraordinary efforts of this administration and the work of the American people helped to keep this from being much worse than it could have been.”
There have been at least 1,725,656 cases of coronavirus in the US, and approximately 101,706 people have died, according to a Friday tally by Johns Hopkins University.
More than 5.7 million cases of coronavirus have been reported worldwide and more than 358,000 lives have been lost.
Behind the gloves and masks people across the world are clinging to the faint hope that scientists will soon discover a life-saving treatment and better yet, a vaccine.