The Next Challenge: COVID-19’s Recovery
We rightly celebrate the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and the lifting of “stay-at-home” orders. No one yet says the Pandemic is over. Many see that the end is in sight, that there is “light” at the “end of the tunnel.”
If we are not careful, not thoughtful about the challenges on our joint recovery road, the light might be a train.
We will take a while to process the scale of COVID-19’s toll. That toll does not measure easily. More than 580,000 American lives lost. Over 33 million Americans ill. These numbers only begin the tally. By one estimate, in 2020 alone, U.S. women and men lost over 4 million “years of life” – a measure used by insurance companies and actuaries to gauge the number of years shaved off “normal” life by disease and death. Focus on that for a minute. COVID-19 cut short four million years of productive life – Life people would have “used” earning livings, learning, enjoying other’s company, and engaging in those things which make life worth living.
The loss of four million years of useful life does not fit in my brain. Can we put another number on it? The median American makes $38,000 per year. Do the math. Four million times $38,000 equals what? My calculator reads: 1.52e11? That is One-Hundred, Fifty-Two billion dollars — $152,000,000,000.
Every dollar lost means less spent on college, retirement, entertainment, food, clothing, shelter, movies, music and so
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