But despite all their precautions, Walter and his father, John, both contracted the new coronavirus and, after 19 days in the hospital, John Walter died on May 10.
On Sunday, Brian Walter was one of nearly two dozen people directly affected by the coronavirus to mourn the more than 200,000 Americans killed by covid-19 and push for a national recovery plan.
They gathered on the Ellipse Grass just south of the White House and near the Rose Garden, where attendees in President Trump̵
“It’s very important to get the message across that this is not a hoax, a conspiracy or a bogus disease,” Walter said. “Just because it didn’t affect you personally doesn’t mean it’s not real. The events of the past weekend show that you can be isolated for a while, but if you make a wrong move, the virus could get you.”
Walter looked at 20,000 empty black chairs that had been placed on the Ellipse over the weekend, each representing 10 people in the United States who died from covid-19. The U.S. coronavirus death toll rose to over 200,000 last month, and Covid Survivors for Change, a network aimed at helping those affected by the virus locate support groups and other resources, declared a National Remembrance Day Sunday. .
The group recruited local volunteers to organize the installation. They started removing the chairs after Sunday’s event.
Those who spoke reflected the myriad of ways the pandemic has shaken people’s lives. A Virginia teacher who cared about the health of his students. A black businessman who is struggling to get by. An emergency room nurse who was hospitalized with the virus and lost her brother to covid-19 weeks later.
Although each speaker’s story was different, their message was the same: the pandemic is far from over, and a national strategy with cohesive leadership is the only way to prevent another 200,000 deaths.
“When I saw that event at the Rose Garden I was horrified. I have seen children, adults and the elderly all unmasked and not socially distanced, against all the recommendations we have, “said Dara Kass, emergency medicine physician and associate professor of emergency medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.
“When I think of the 200,000 deaths, and all the people who will be infected as a result of how your administration has behaved, it continues to disappoint me not just as a doctor, but as an American,” she said.
Kass, who spoke on Sunday, said she was particularly concerned about those who went to the Rose Garden ceremony and did not immediately self-quarantine, even after it became apparent that someone in attendance had been infected. Attorney General William P. Barr decided not to self-quarantine even though he was exposed at the event, the New York Times reported. Kellyanne Conway, the president’s former senior adviser, tweeted that she would only go into quarantine on Friday night after learning she tested positive for the virus.
“How many people have you infected in the time you discovered that someone was contagious near you?” Kass asked. “How many people will be infected with those actions that day and how many people will we never know?”
Those who spoke at the remembrance were joined by religious leaders, health professionals and other frontline workers affected by the pandemic. They were led by Grammy-winning singer Dionne Warwick, a former US health ambassador who played a key role in fighting the AIDS crisis.
“The loss of life grows every day, leaving us all directly or indirectly affected by this disease,” Warwick told the group. “It takes everyone to raise our voices: we know we can’t always rely on the people in charge to hear us unless we say it loud and clear.”
Warwick also touched upon the disproportionate impact the coronavirus has had on people of color, and praised frontline and essential workers “who have endured so much to keep us fed, housed and educated.” He added: “We haven’t done enough to honor those sacrifices and our country hasn’t given them what they need to help us and keep us going.”
Coronavirus concerns were further amplified in the Washington region on Friday, as health officials from the District, Maryland and Virginia reported the highest number of cases in a single day since September 18.
Aarion Brown, a US Postal Service employee, said he gets frustrated thinking about how the government prepared for the virus outbreak.
Brown said the DC building where he works has had six confirmed coronavirus cases in the past month and, as a representative of his union, complained that more than six months after the pandemic, he still cannot insure. to his colleagues that it is safe for them. Come to work.
Feeling more vulnerable than ever, Brown called on US leaders to respond to the crisis with more accurate testing, improved contact-tracing protocols, and “leaders who don’t hide the truth from the American people.”
Brown said, “Trump wasn’t doing enough to prepare people. He knew it was real, but he downplayed it so people wouldn’t panic. With Trump in the hospital, it shows he didn’t take it. seriously. If he didn’t take it seriously, how can we expect him to drive? “