Full disclosure – this isn’t an upbeat column. 

I’ve been bothered for some time about the perceived apathy toward the number of souls lost to COVID-19. I’m using the term “perceived” because that’s how it feels to me.  

Since the numbers were in the single digits and continued to climb to the current total that is staggering to me (as of this writing just shy of 185,000, sure to be more by printing), the reaction that I see and read about feels detached and indifferent. I have struggled with this for months. I’ve written stray words down over time trying to clarify my thoughts, never thinking to write a column, but mostly to try and wrap my mind around this phenomenon. 

Am I misreading this? Am I missing something? I did a straw poll with a few select people to see if others were having similar feelings and I found that I wasn’t alone in my dismay. Much has caused me dismay for some time, but this indifference to the lost souls and the families torn apart by the losses has left me shaken.  

I think I was moved to try and organize my thoughts because my dismay was escalated by the fact that I actually saw a poll that was taken about whether the number of deaths has been “acceptable or not acceptable.” The fact that there was a poll about something this heart-wrenching left me bereft. The fact there was a poll sadly confirmed my thoughts weren’t isolated. 

How I wish that weren’t the case. It took me a while to look at the poll results because it seemed to confirm the indifference to this tragedy. After looking at the results, I wish I could put that toothpaste back in the tube. I can’t unsee those numbers: 57% GOP: 10% Democrats: 33% Independents thought the number of deaths are “acceptable.”   

How is this possible in 2020? How is this possible in America? What has happened to the America I used to know? Apathy, sycophancy, fear, anger, hatred, distrust, lies, self-absorption and other ambivalent and uncaring behavior seem alive, well and flourishing. 

When did our fellow humans become expendable? I noticed with some election ads, including some in our county, which labeled differing policy views as “sins.” Really? So it’s now a sin to have a different approach or idea about solving problems? The names people have been called for having the audacity to have different views can’t be printed in a family paper. Personal attacks and demonizing fellow humans is now the norm. How sad is that? 

I guess it isn’t much of a stretch for tragic, and in some cases unnecessary, deaths to be footnotes at best, ignored at worst. What have we become? People have died alone. Families haven’t been able to hold the hand of a mother, grandfather, child, aunt, sister as they passed. The corpses of loved ones are stacked in mobile morgues because funeral homes are past capacity. Our frontline health care workers are tired and disheartened. And some still moan about wearing masks for a while?

Pearl Harbor: 2,403; Vietnam: 58,220; Sept. 11: 2,977; WWI: 116,516; COVID-19: 185,000 and counting. 

(10) comments

Joe Battin

Your horse seems a bit higher Jimmy! A bit holier than thou I believe!


185,000? Where? Worldwide? U.S.? Park County? Even the CDC admits that less than 10,000 Americans died directly from the flu, all others had serious underlying medical conditions and the virus just pushed them over the edge. The transparent attempt to paint Republicans as uncaring, "let 'em die" monsters is quite sad.

The fact is that all deaths are ultimately acceptable because life itself is a terminal disease. Let's just live our lives freely, accepting that bad things can happen as humans have for thousands of years.

Jim Jones

Everyone dies. Why are you wringing your hands over Covid-19 deaths in Wyoming when more Wyomingites died of suicide and diabetes? Where is you concern and outrage over 115 of your fellow Wyoming humans dying of the flu in 2017? I'm forced to ask if you have true empathy or is Covid-19 your chance to show us your moral superiority? By the way, if the human race really, really cared about itself you'd think family members and close friends would notice behavioral changes leading to suicide more often. Please get off your high horse.


So we should just not care about anything because everyone dies? Are you okay, Jim?

Jim Jones

Once you're able to actually read through my entire post, may I suggest an English comprehension class?


And to clarify, like COVID19 pandemic deaths are recorded in worldwide terms, so are the automobile deaths noted prior.


1,250,000 people are killed in automobile accidents every year. Where are the tears? Why do we ignore this? The answer to eliminating this carnage this is simple: horses.

There is probably a similarly simple answer for COVID19. I'm just not smart enough to figure it out, I guess.


When people drive in a way that endangers others or themselves, they get tickets and sometimes they even get thrown in jail. Because we all agreed that it was best for everyone if the government intervened a little bit when people weren’t using their brains while driving.

It’s possible to care about more than one issue. Bringing this issue up doesn’t mean that others aren’t important.

Jim Jones

Do you have any idea how many people died of diseases incubated in literally tons of horse manure that piled up on the streets every day in cities like New York before widespread adoption of the automobile? I'll bet more than a hundred New Yorkers died every year slipping on manure. Those cases were registered as manure-related deaths.

Joe Battin

“Manure related deaths “... suffering from one now after reading yet another post from the the largest producer of “hot air”.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.