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Covid-19 is Worse Than War

by Skyler 3 months ago in humanity

Looking at The Numbers

America's understanding of covid-19 to its deniers is apathetic. Over time, nay, since the beginning of covid-19, these people view it as a nuisance or conspiracy. Many take a belief that it is something we can simply whether through and sit out. You cannot do much during a bad thunderstorm, save for staying inside and waiting for it to subside. You know by tomorrow, the storm will be over, and a sunny new day will be shining. Sadly, a pandemic does not function in the same way. Will it take time? Yes, but not in the same way. Time is not on our side.

This deadly disease arrived on our shores on January 13th, 2020. We do not have our first casualty from this pandemic until February 29th, 2020. The day after, another and the body count begins to go up. By the end of March, we have lost over 3,000 American lives. In April, the death toll is tens of thousands of Americans.

In July of 1950, the United States enters the fray of the Korean War. Three years later, the war ends in a stalemate, and over 36,000 men were gone. Understandably, many do not know these details or forgot about them. After all, this conflict also carries the name of 'The Forgotten War.' Hardly do we paint it glamorously like World War II. No doubt, Korea became controversial at its time, but nothing like the Vietnam War. There is more reason to forget it now. Go back to that number of over 36,000 lives gone. By April 20th, 2020, we lost 37,455 Americans to covid-19. Think about that! More Americans died in three months to this disease, rather than three years in the Korean war!

Being the Forgotten War with no big movies like a Saving Private Ryan or Apocalypse Now, maybe this conflict holds no weight for some Americans. Hence, these 37,000 + American deaths have no bearing. Fine, let's fast-forward to May 1st, 2020! By this time, 58,931 Americans die due to covid-19. Why is this number of any importance, you ask? The Vietnam War cost us 58,281 Americans. Many Americans may still remember the times of this conflict. Granted, America was involved in this fiasco in Vietnam since World War II. Some may want to cite Lt. Col. Peter Dewey as the first casualty of the Vietnam War. Dewey was a U.S. Army officer with the Office of Strategic Services (the precursor to the C.I.A.). In 1945, Vietnam was not part of the Cold War yet. Unfortunately, Dewey was mistaken as a French officer and shot by Vietnamese forces. Hence, his death does not count toward the body count for the containment of communism. Maj. Dale R. Buis and Master Sgt. Chester M. Ovnand is our first two casualties. These two men were military advisors killed in a bombing by the Vietcong near Saigon on July 8th, 1959. U.S. Marines - Charles McMahon and Darwin Lee Judge are the last two men to die in the conflict on April 29th, 1975, with the fall of Saigon.

Over sixteen years then, over 58,000 Americans die. Perhaps some context is of need, given how we think of and remember the war does not start until 1964 under President Johnson. Hence, one can argue over eleven years - we lost the majority of those 58,000 lives. Any way you slice it, covid-19 beats the Vietnam War in only less than four months. I bring this up due to the nature and memory of Vietnam. Every day the news brought more coverage. Author and Vietnam veteran Karl Marlantes puts it best,

They talked about, "Well, we can kill 300 North Vietnamese for every one of us." Do the American people care about the 300? No. They care about the one. Every day on the news was the body count. They try to sell it positively with how many enemies died in comparison to our men over there.

Under President Wilson, the United States of America declares war on Germany in 1917. However, troops will not see combat until late May of 1918. World War I comes to an end in November of the same year. Now American troops do not begin arriving at the front until late May of 1918. Yet, over more than five months, over 116,000 soldiers die. Assume we are going off the first death of World War I (May 24th, 1918) to the last (November 11th, 1918). Then 116,000 soldiers died in five months and eighteen days. Whereas 117,000 Americans died from complications to covid-19 from February 29th, 2020 to June 30th, 2020. Hence, more died in four months and one day to this deadly disease than the atrocities of trench warfare.

Finally - World War II, which the United States of America enters on December 8th, 1941. Although, Americans will not see combat until the summer of 1942. More than three years later, we will commemorate the lives of over 419,000 soldiers. In less than a year from its first casualty, covid-19 tallies over 419,000 lives on February 1st, 2021.

As of this writing, more than half a million Americans have died under this horrible pandemic. I dare not say it or wish it, but it appears we may catch up to, if not outpace, The American Civil War. Recall, this war's casualties range from 600,000 - 1,000,000. What is to be done? What can be done? There is much to these wars we can learn from and use in this pandemic. Karl Marlantes makes a good point in regards to Vietnam and the obsession with the body count. After a time, even many middle-Americans and conservatives grew weary of the conflict. What were we doing over there? How many more of our sons, fathers, and friends have to die before we can admit this is a lost cause? What will it take to get our act together and say enough is enough?

Luckily, in time everyone in America saw this, both citizens and the U.S. government. They knew the best way to end these senseless deaths was to do something about it - pull out of Vietnam! I think it helps that back then, the people and the media were obsessed with this issue. America does not see victory, entertainment, or politics. No, Americans are seeing dead men being flown away in helicopters. They see portraits of men in uniform, leaving behind a family as they died in another country. Today, the media and people are more concerned with politicizing this and or non-issues. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are dying, yet, many people are upset the next Hollywood blockbuster got pushed back.

We can take a page from both World Wars with compromise and sacrifice. Meatless Mondays were a thing, voluntarily giving up meat so that our troops have more at the front. Fuel, paper, food were saved or recycled for the war effort. Americans saw this as patriotic! People at home may not be soldiers, physically fighting the powers of tyranny, but they were doing their part to help those soldiers in their fight. One can argue it was a collective time, where people put away their petty self-interests. Sure, Hitler may have no desires toward you, but guess what - neither does covid-19. Nonetheless, taking whatever action you can will help take down both threats. Understand that masking up and getting vaccinated helps America. Comprehend the seriousness of this threat and how being proactive will end it. It was not a lackadaisical attitude that helped vanquish the Axis Forces.

I can understand past conflicts like Vietnam for example. What have the Vietcong done to me? Hence, why go to war with them they ask. Plus, it looks the Vietcong had no real interest of fighting Americans outside of their own country. Never was there some invasion plan. Therefore, this anti-war stance holds some ground. Yet, Covid-19 does not function in the same way. Instead, Covid-19 attacks indisriminately and has no hidden agenda. The time for union is now.



Full-time worker, history student and an avid comic book nerd.

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