Families of Those Lost to Covid Wrestle With Mixed Emotions as Emergency Ends

Shannon Cummings, 53, has been trying to move on after her college professor husband, Larry, died of COVID-19 in March 2020.

She flew from her home in Michigan to Southern California to attend a Harry Styles concert with family and friends. She attends her group therapy classes twice a week. She started going out to lunch in public again, but it took her years to do this.

“We have lost over a million people to the pandemic,” she said. “It is not an honor for any of them not to live my life.”

But she still wants the country to reach a milestone on Thursday, when the Biden administration authorizes a three-year coronavirus public health emergency and declares a separate national emergency to prevent the pandemic from becoming official. I’m working on something like closing. expires.

“Some people just don’t seem to accept that there is an emergency,” Cummings said. “For those of us who have experienced real losses from this, this is truly heartbreaking.”

The coronavirus public health emergency in the United States will end when a vaccine is effective and widely available, testing is readily available, and treatments are vastly improved from the beginning of the pandemic.

More than 1.1 million Americans have died from the novel coronavirus, and the death rate has slowed markedly in recent months. In 2020 and in 2021 he was the third leading cause of death. At this point in 2023, it has fallen to seventh place, according to preliminary data.

But the Biden administration’s measures, which take effect Thursday, have mixed feelings for many Americans who have lost family and friends to the pandemic.

For some, there is concern that the pandemic is once again politicized.

“The trigger is people saying, ‘I know we didn’t have to shut down or wear masks,'” said Cori Lusignan, who lives in Florida. Her father, Roger Andreoli, passed away in 2020 from the novel coronavirus. See her suffering up close and intimate. And that led us to believe that we weren’t making hasty, unimportant decisions. These were the choices we had to make, and for good reason. “

For others, Mr. Biden’s recognition that the country is in a different place than it was before is welcome.

“I don’t think it’s too early,” said Vincent Tunstall, a Chicago resident who lost his brother Marvin to COVID-19 in November 2020. ‘ said.

Tunstall, who wears a mask indoors in public spaces and on his daily train commute, said he remains more cautious about the coronavirus than many. Mention of the novel coronavirus reminds him of his older brother. It’s a lingering pain that only those who have lost people to the pandemic know.

“Unfortunately, when you think about the coronavirus and the pandemic, he’s intertwined with both,” he said.

Pamela Addison, a COVID-19 widow, mother of two, and survivor advocate, said the government’s decision to allow the state of emergency to expire means that the federal government will help children who have lost a parent or caregiver. He said it was a reminder that he could do more.

“Children are neglected all the time,” she said. “We don’t want to talk about them. I feel like we don’t want to talk about the fact that they exist.”

With the end of the state of emergency, after Thursday, private insurers will no longer have to pay for up to eight home tests per month, so there could be new costs for coronavirus testing.

Laura Jackson, who lost her husband Charlie to coronavirus, questioned the need to move. Putting the virus-related out-of-pocket burden on Americans is tantamount to “throwing this back” on the public, she said, even though the country remains ill-prepared for future pandemics.

“There is still a lot of work to be done,” she said, noting that questions still remain about the origin of the virus in China. “You shouldn’t stop the resource,” she said.

For Jackson, who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, the end of the pandemic’s classification as a public health emergency on Thursday almost coincided with her husband’s death on May 17, 2020. Both days she had a good time, she said. with fear.

She still regularly encounters people who deny the coronavirus is real or imply that her husband died from a chronic illness, and the comments stick.

“I never thought I was acknowledging the people who died,” Jackson said. “We always feel like we were in a rush to move forward from there. But it’s still very real.”

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