It’s one of the sad truths of the human experience that you can’t count tears. Maybe the first few you might be able to, but then they just flow from your eyes, running down your cheeks until you can taste them on your lips, a flood of salty sorrow and pain and helplessness.
This article first appeared in Salon.
That is where we are: beyond counting, beyond being able to measure the tragedy and loss of COVID. Statistics can’t do it for us anymore. We’re reduced to comparisons, a doctor quoted in the New York Times on Thursday comparing 1,000 deaths a day to “two jumbo jets dropping from the sky. If every day, two jumbo jets would drop from the sky and kill everybody, don’t you think that everybody would be in a panic?” asked Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease specialist at Emory University.