We Have Become Accustomed To Constant Mass Death

While it might be tempting to think that the country is reopening because we're "beating" COVID, the truth of the matter is that we're not beating COVID at all. In fact, a second wave is emerging. Texas, a state famous for its "Go Topless Jeep Weekend," for example, just reported 2,504 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day total since the pandemic started. Florida, another state with more beach action and looser government regulations than the entire Jaws franchise, has reported 8,553 new cases, which is the most of any seven-day period.

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So why are we still reopening despite mass death all around us? It might be because people have just accepted it.

There are now 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The USA, with 110,000 deaths. Such numbers would have seemed unfathomable a few months ago, but if at this point those numbers are starting to appear meaningless to you, there's a reason. The human brain has trouble empathizing with death on a mass scale. It's a psychological phenomenon known as "statistical numbing," and it's why you're more likely to donate to save one child from famine rather than donate to save 80. It's also why me telling you how I lied earlier, as there are actually over 115,000 deaths, not 110,000, probably doesn't make much of a difference to you emotionally. It's only a difference of 5,000 deaths, but also, it's 5,000 deaths.

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So, as the numbers continue to rise, coronavirus begins to transform within our minds into something like heart disease or cancer -- just another one of those things too massive and terrible to even think about. That COVID could end up claiming over a million American lives by the end of the year, almost twice the amount of deaths caused by heart disease, is irrelevant to many. Mass death is mass death, and we're in a Dark Ages mindset now. Of course, it doesn't have to be this way. There's still the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives with proper social distancing measures. But maybe that's too big a number to think about.

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Top Image: Angela N. Perryman/Shutterstock, Photocarioca/Shutterstock

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