“There is no analogue in recent U.S history to the scale of death brought on by the coronavirus, which now runs unchecked in countless towns, cities and states. It’s equivalent to Sept. 11 happening nearly 100 times. One person now dies every 36 seconds from COVID-19.” From NPR: How Do We Grieve 300,000 Lives Lost? In households, we grieve the way we always grieve. As a nation, we’ve taken refuge in our collective political rage, which might be an easier emotional space to occupy than grief. But at some point, we need to take a breath and consider what so many in our communities, our country, and our world have been through over the past year. Maybe 300,000 is as good a place as any.

+ “As of Thursday, coronavirus has killed a higher percentage of Gove County residents than any other county in the United States: One out of every 132 people has died. Their intertwined stories illuminate the toll the pandemic has taken on communities across the country as emotional debates over how to control the infection have unfolded amid mounting losses.” USA Today: Deadliest place in America: They shrugged off the pandemic, then their family and friends started dying. Even today, mask-wearing remains controversial in Gove County, and friendships are being strained as authorities struggle to persuade their neighbors to follow basic public health guidelines, such as avoiding large gatherings. President Donald Trump won the county with 88% of the vote in November, and many of the residents, including the farmers who raise up corn and sorghum, are deeply skeptical of government and public health orders, often echoing the language Trump has used about mask-wearing and the pandemic’s severity.” There’s a scene in Rocky where Apollo Creed’s trainer admonishes his boxer: “He doesn’t know it’s supposed to be a show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!” That line has been popping into my head all year. On one hand, there’s a cynical show in Washington that is only about power and votes. Then there are people who risk life and limb in the name of what’s being said and tweeted in that show. And then there’s the virus, and the virus doesn’t care what you think.