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Perspective of how deaths can have a tremendous effect on people.

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The link to “Worldometrics” that I received from Joachim in Austria also changed my perspective, but in a different way. I realized this pandemic is only one of many horrific events occurring all the time that we never take note of. I didn't feel guilty, but sobered, and wanted to reach my heart out to those thousands of mothers who lost their babies, those infants who lost their mothers in childbirth, those people whose loved ones die in auto accidents, the misfortunes we read about that are simply statistics we read about and then go back to our busy lives. I think Joachim was trying to get us, entitled Americans, not to feel so entitled. But compassion fatigue is real. If I grieved for every child lost, every civilian killed in a war, I’d be reduced to a blob of melted protoplasm. Ever since I was in Africa in 1974, when I greeted an old man with the normal “Habari gani” (What’s the news) greeting and he responded with “Njaa hapa,” (There’s hunger here), I haven’t known how to turn off those unwelcome facts. Stalin, of all people, made the point: “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths are a statistic.” It makes me realize why I’ve been concentrating on those huge coronavirus statistics—to distance myself from the individuals who make them up, so I won’t feel so much pain about what’s happening.

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