“You know the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance?” asked Dr. Emily Landon, a coronavirus expert at the University of Chicago medical school. “I think the American people are in all five of them — but different parts of the country are in different stages.”
As death stalks us, especially our elders, have we simply become inured to the idea that many of us are doomed?
The stock market appears to have priced in a huge wave of deaths. In the 2008-2009 recession, it fell 50 percent and took four years to recover. In March it fell only 34 percent and has made up much of that ground already. Looked at with Wall Street’s bloodless arithmetic, that makes sense: Most of the deaths are among the very elderly and nursing home residents, who no longer travel or dine out or contribute much to the economy, and who are a burden on the struggling Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds.
One can even argue that the acceptance of death as master of us all is part of the human psyche. But because of modern medicine, we have been out of touch with our ultimate fate for generations.