June 11, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
June 11, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

A National Day of Mourning for COVID-19 Victims

(Courtesy of SMGH) Almost one year after the first known U.S. COVID-19 death1, activists and community groups are uniting in a nationwide effort calling on officials to memorialize the more than half-million2 Americans who have died with an official COVID memorial day. Arizona Rep. Greg Stanton is planning on introducing a House resolution to make the first Monday in March “COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day.”

St. Mary’s General Hospital joined in this effort as it hosted a heartfelt vigil in front of the hospital honoring those lost to the virus. The purpose of the event was to encourage an environment of support for one another as the impact of loss and grief has touched so many during the past year.

In other times of trauma—9/11, Hurricane Katrina, World War I and II—flowers, photos and memorial services provide visual symbols that help people process grief and build strong communities to lower the grief level. So too, with this day, visual public memorials were seen throughout the country.

“At St. Mary’s General Hospital, local floral artist Amanda Elisca, owner of Made With Love, donated a heart wreath and petals in memory of those we lost to COVID-19,” said Vanessa Warner, CSG, director of marketing. “We also had our pastoral care team presiding over the service: Director of Pastoral Care Rev. Peter Carey; Catholic chaplain Father Bob Wisniefski; and Jewish chaplain Rabbi Joseph Levy. We recognize that the pandemic is not yet behind us, and this service highlighted the importance of pausing to remember and grieve for those who have passed away.”

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey3 as of March 4 was 799,476 (9 % of total population) with 23,383 deaths (0.2% of total population). As of this date in the U.S., there have been 28,804,121 (8.7 %) confirmed cases and 518,079 (0.2 %) deaths. The number of deaths in the U.S. is greater than lives lost in combat4 in World War I (53,402); World War II (291,557); Korean War (33,686); Vietnam War (47,424); Gulf War (149); Afghanistan (1,833); Iraq (3,836); and 9/11 (2,977)5 for a combined total of 434,864. COVID is one powerful enemy, “And, while it may have slowed down, it is still with us,” said George Matyjewicz, PhD., community liaison. “So, we owe it to the victims and their families to remember them each year as we remember those from war, or 9/11. We at St. Mary’s General Hospital cheered when patients who were seriously afflicted with COVID-19 left the hospital. We became attached to each patient and their discharge was a joyous time for all. Personally, I had some close friends and colleagues lost this past year. Let us not forget the toll this incredible pandemic has caused. And let us daven that COVID-19 leaves us soon, and life gets back to normal. But then we will suffer the aftereffects of this dramatic, lengthy interruption of our lives and look for counseling or behavioral health services.”

St. Mary’s General Hospital, nationally recognized and locally preferred, is among the top hospitals in America for health, quality and patient safety. A center of excellence for maternal-child, the hospital has over 550 physicians and 1,200 employees, with every staff member committed to providing respectful, personalized, high-quality care to satisfy patients’ needs and exceed their expectations. St. Mary’s General is a proud member of Prime Healthcare, which has more Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients for five consecutive years (2016-2020) than any other health system in the country, including a “Top 15 Healthcare System” by Truven Health Analytics. To learn more about St. Mary’s General Hospital, visit www.smh-nj.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral.

For more information, contact George Matyjewicz, Ph.D., at [email protected]

1 https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/04/coroner-first-us-covid-19-death-occurred-early-february

2 https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_casesper100klast7days

3 https://news.google.com/covid19/map?hl=en-US&mid=%2Fm%2F09c7w0&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen

4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war  (killed in combat)

5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_September_11_attacks

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles