US Surpasses 500,000 Deaths From COVID-19 : Shots - Health News - NPR
Feb 22, 2021 2 mins, 16 secs
19, the incoming Biden administration hosted memorial to lives lost to COVID-19 at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool on the National Mall.

19, the incoming Biden administration hosted memorial to lives lost to COVID-19 at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool on the National Mall.

More than 500,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.

Losing half a million lives to this disease was unimaginable when the first few people died of COVID-19 in the U.S last February.

"The massive number and the loss of those people from our society has not been acknowledged," says Dr.

"If we had put the public health measures in place for the past year, we wouldn't be in this position," says Jones.

The politicization of public health messaging, on topics such as masking and the severity of the disease in comparison with flu, also confused and endangered the public, Bicette says.

Embalmer and funeral director Kristy Oliver (left) and funeral attendant Sam Deras load the casket of a person who died after contracting COVID-19 into a hearse in El Cajon, Calif.

Embalmer and funeral director Kristy Oliver (left) and funeral attendant Sam Deras load the casket of a person who died after contracting COVID-19 into a hearse in El Cajon, Calif.

Lives like that of Xavier Gaines, a 26-year-old security guard with underlying conditions and without health insurance, who died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital on Dec.

6, shortly after getting COVID-19, which is killing Native American, Black and Latinx people at disproportionately high rates in the U.S.

Regina is one of more than 3,400 health care workers in the U.S.

She notes that the COVID-19 memorial tribute last month, on the eve of President Biden's inauguration, in which lights were placed around the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool, was the first formal acknowledgement of the pandemic's death toll in the U.S

For most of the past year the burden of processing the grief has fallen on health care and funeral home workers

"The hardest part is watching loved ones who want to be with a patient, and patients who want to be with their families — and cannot be [due to COVID-19 restrictions]," she says

Bentley says the nonverbal parts of saying end-of-life goodbyes — holding the hand of a loved one, stroking their face or sitting beside them for hours — are lost

Her work helping families say goodbye remotely has raised her own risk of COVID-19 exposure

The toll of witnessing these deaths has largely fallen on frontline health care workers

"When you're the person that's putting your own health at risk and your own family's health at risk, and you're the person witnessing those very real and raw situations, this is a great burden that's felt," Bentley says

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