Numb to the Numbers

Becoming desensitized to the news surrounding COVID-19 only makes our collective response worse.


photo courtesy of WSLS

While the United States is one of the most wealthy and educated countries in the world, COVID-19 hit the nation harder than anyone could have expected.

Abby Pingpank, News Editor

533,436. That is how many people have died, as of 6th period today, from COVID-19. However, that number is not the world death count; it is just how many people have succumbed to the virus in the United States alone. On average, that is one American dying every 28 seconds. 

Last March, we were told to wear a mask, stay socially distant, and stay home if we felt ill or had been in contact with someone who has tested positive. Like many people, I thought at the time that this would all be over by last summer. Yet, here we are, a year later, averaging over 2,400 deaths a day.

To put that statistic in perspective, that daily number is just a below the death toll from the September 11th attacks.  It’s surreal to think that 9/11 was an event many Americans will never forget, and now, we basically have a similar disaster happening every single day. 

It is hard to believe that we have come this far. I remember watching the news in March and watching the death toll going up by single digits. The US was nearing 100 deaths. At the time, we all thought that number was awful. 

Now, 11 months later, with over half a million people dead, it appears that many Americans have become desensitized to the number of deaths. Many of us simply do not understand the size of that number.

Last night, President Biden addressed the nation in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 being classified as a pandemic.

“A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked, denials for days, weeks, then months.  That led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, and more loneliness.”

COVID-19 has done a lot to everyone physically, mentally, and emotionally over this time. Events have been cancelled left and right, many people have been stuck in the house for days on end, and a vast majority of Americans know somebody who has lost their life to the virus. 

The only way we are going to recover from this virus is if we face it head on. In order to do that, we have to stay vigilant and watch what is happening around us. ”

Because this has been going on for some time now, everyone is sick of it, which contributes to our mass desensitization. People have become numb to the idea of COVID-19 itself. They are so tired of hearing it on the news that many unintentionally ignore it. 

It is not even that we intentionally choose to ignore everything that is going on.  It’s that everything relating to COVID all blends together. Because everything surrounding it is so negative, I find myself not wanting to know the reality.

I know that is not good, because the only way we are going to recover from this virus is if we face it head on. In order to do that, we have to stay vigilant and watch what is happening around us. 

With over half a million deaths, our country has the highest death count in the world. We are one of the most educated and powerful countries in the world, yet we seemed to be getting slammed the hardest. 

Because people are so tired of this virus, they have let their guard down. People try not to pay attention to the news on COVID-19, and are therefore unaware of the number of lives this virus has continued to take. Yes, there is the vaccine, but the reality is that a majority of the country is still not vaccinated. We are still at risk. 

While we have been battling COVID-19 for so long, we are getting closer to getting back to our normal lives. If everyone is able to follow basic precautions and remember the guidelines we were told back in March of last year, we will be able to beat this virus.  If we all, including myself, keep our guard up for just a bit longer, we may be able to keep our country safe.