We’re about to enter the grimmest period of the covid-19 pandemic, with cases, hospitalizations, and deaths spiking across the country and with holiday travel and gatherings driving what will likely be a deadly surge. As the Washington Post noted, we may soon “reach levels where hospitals are forced to choose which patients to save and which to let die, and where lockdowns become unavoidable realities of everyday life.”
That this is bleak goes without saying. That this is a situation brought about largely by the massive failure of our government, run as it is by the Republican death cult and bringing to mind what the scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore has coined “organized state abandonment,” also goes without saying, despite all of the scoldings about individual behavior and personal responsibility.
And the story of Dr. Joseph Varon, the chief of staff at Houston’s United Memorial Medical Center who was captured in a heartbreaking photo on Thanksgiving Day embracing an older patient, illustrates the very human toll of that abandonment.