Image Description: A person with light skin, brown hair, and brown eyes looks into the camera while wearing a blue mask with small white flowers. Public domain image.

On August 7, a family held a wedding in the Millinocket-area of Maine, taking few if any precautions concerning COVID. As a result, 270 people contracted the virus.

And here’s the main thing I want to point out:

Because of these choices, 8 people died, and *none of them attended the wedding.*

Our choices impact other people’s outcomes — the quality of life that people are having and even the outcome of living itself. When we make risky choices while having the ability to choose otherwise (some don’t have that ability, and that upsets me too, but many of us do) we are denying people the liberty we say we’re trying to uphold. Liberty involves being able to make your own choices to live, correct?

Approximately 224,000 people have died from COVID, and yesterday in the U.S., we had the highest number of daily contracted cases that we’ve had since this virus started moving through our population.

Hospitals in Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Wisconsin are filling up beyond capacity. One of the members of my family is a physician in Colorado, and that hospital reached total capacity two days ago. And when people came in for acute care — for COVID or for something else — there was nowhere to send people because all the neighboring hospitals were filling too.

COVID is hard to control totally, yes, but the spread of this virus did not have to be and still does not have to be this broad and extensive. 224,000 people is a high number… But people are more than numbers. This is another matter entirely when this is about your Grandmother, or your Son, or your Best Friend.

And though 224,000 is a high number of lives lost, an even larger number of people are dealing with Long-Covid — sickness that is lasting months and seems to be causing long-term damage to respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological systems.

And as COVID runs through our population, the economy is stalled and more people are losing jobs. Because healthcare is often tied to employment, people’s healthcare is now at risk during a pandemic.

No matter how deeply we’re impacted personally, all our lives are disrupted. The longer we refuse to think collectively, the longer this persists with all its damage…

If we care about liberty, we have to care about the liberty of people beyond ourselves.

Renee Roederer

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