Naming the lost

An on-line vigil, from 2 p.m. today to 2 p.m. tomorrow is an attempt to humanize a number: 92,000 people killed in this country by the Covid 19 virus. One thousand people, multiplied by 90 times, plus two thousand more. And counting, fast.

That is nearly the population of Albany.

In New York City alone, 199 people are dying from this virus every day. And that’s a massive drop from the number we lost every day just a few weeks ago.

How many people have died in this state? More than the entire population of Kingston. Double the population of Oneonta.


Friends. Co-workers. How much higher a multiplier can include the people who are grieving? There are millions. And how must they feel, each time some right-wing parrot argues this disease is a Democratic plot to discredit their president?

Naming the Lost is not sponsored by any one organization. It is supported by the Working Families Party, but I haven’t found a list of who’s involved. I honestly don’t care. It’s a necessary event.

It has struck me many times how unreal the devastation is to all of us. On 9-11, we all saw the towers fall. There was no arguing about whether it happened or not.

A pandemic is different.

There is a successful propaganda effort to downplay the seriousness of the threat. There are people who still refer to it as “a scamdemic.” Journalist Connie Schultz, in a podcast interview, said that the Democrats wear masks when her husband, senator Sherrod Brown, meets with fellow legislators in Washington. The Republicans take theirs off.

In New York, the governor tells us we have to wear masks. It helps us protect others. He admits the state can’t “make” people act responsibly. The social media, that loud, defiant, wailing baby, is full of howls that he’s a dictator.

92,000 people are dead. And it’s not over. Their names are out there. As many of them as can be read in 24 hours are being read at

Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.