This never had to happen

There were 341,138 American deaths from COVID-19 as of Dec. 28. This never had to happen. If this administration and conservative pundits had reported facts, many of those lives would never have been endangered.

I thank the dedicated medical personnel who have given so much for their patients. They are often forgotten. Their dedication, exhaustion and grief with each patient’s death are heartbreaking.

More Americans will die because some refuse to follow effective guidelines of wearing a mask, social distancing and staying home for the holidays. The cries of “freedom” by COVID-19 deniers are pathetic and selfish. Their willfulness has contributed to the astronomical number of deaths. Family gatherings and travel are expected to create another COVID surge. More businesses will close forever — not because of government mandates but because too many ignore safety guidelines.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan confirmed 3,610 COVID-19 cases and 689 deaths as of Dec. 23. This tragedy became real when I saw photos and short biographies of many who died. Memorializing victims of COVID in this way might break through to those believing COVID is “just the flu.” We are losing beloved family members and neighbors. Their families will never be the same. Neither will we.

JoEllen Rudolph

Petoskey

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