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150,000

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We have now passed 150,000 official COVID deaths in the U.S.

One of the dead was a friend of mine, the New York housing activist and policy expert Tom Waters. You can read about him here. He died early in the epidemic and I only found out about it a week ago. I knew him well from his time in Knoxville, when we worked together on living wage campaigns. He was also an incredibly committed and generous guy and a very good organizer. He then moved to New York when his wife got a job at a university there and moved into housing advocacy. He was completing his Ph.D. from CUNY on these issues when he died. We would get together for dinner and a beer when I was in New York and talk about free jazz and punk and old-time country and politics. That he was only 56 is especially scary.

I am sure many of you have lost someone that mattered to you. We really aren’t going to know the real death toll until we calculate total deaths above normal, if even then. I mention this because I also wanted to highlight someone I never met, but who was a close friend of my wife’s family. That is Chris Posch, a Franciscan priest who was active in José Andrés work in feeding those struggling in the COVID crisis. He was on the front lines in Silver Spring in the poorest communities distributing high quality food made by chefs. He technically did not die of COVID. He was tested seven times and came up negative every time. And yet, he had every single symptom of COVID, was working in a hot spot, and was on a ventilator for a month. So ?????? The doctors evidently were equally confused. He was all of 58 years old.

This is an open thread for the mourning of the 150,000 dead.

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