Mourning COVID-19 deaths in St. Louis

 St. Louis COVID-19 deaths and families mourning loved ones as of October 7, 2020

Our country and community have only just begun to process all our collective grief and loss from COVID-19 deaths. No memorials today – nothing in the obits and nothing submitted. This doesn’t mean the virus has stopped just because folks don’t write that in their obits or post publicly. People are continuing to die. Families are continuing to mourn.

According to the study “Tracking the reach of COVID-19 kin loss with a bereavement multiplier applied to the United States” (published 7/28/20) :”For every COVID-19 death, approximately nine surviving Americans will lose a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse, or child.” For families in St. Louis, using yesterday’s numbers of 1704 cumulative deaths (from Chris Prener ), this means that more than 15,336 people in the St. Louis Metro area are mourning the loss of a close family member to COVID-19.

A bereavement multiplier of 4 in the grandparent column means that if 100,000 people die, 400,000 grandchildren would lose at least one grandparent.” In local terms, this means that 6,816 people in St. Louis have lost a grandparent. Breaking down further, approximately 3,664 people in the St. Louis Metro are mourning the loss of a parent to #COVID19, 3,477 are mourning the loss of a sibling, and 784 are mourning the loss of a spouse to COVID-19.

These are YESTERDAY’S numbers! Are we really okay with this? I have not, personally, lost a friend or family member YET. As the CDC projects as many as 250,000 COVID-19 deaths by October 31, there will be over 2 MILLION people mourning the loss of a loved one who died in the past 8 months.

Families now “look forward” to empty seats at Thanksgiving, the first winter holidays without their grandparent, parent, spouse, sister, or brother… I don’t know how to end this. I want to say “when will be too many” but “too many” for me was the first 3. I guess it doesn’t matter to “too many” people as long as these aren’t “their” relatives dying… but if we keep doing nothing/too-little COVID-19 deaths will affect us all, and we can only hope to be the close relatives grieving, and not among the dead ourselves.

Originally posted this to Twitter: