Remembering the Lives Lost to COVID-19

Original artwork honoring all the lives lost to COVID-19

Our Communicator of the Month series showcases individuals whose voices have made a lasting impact on our country. In the wake of one of the most challenging years in recent history, 2021 brought a renewed sense of hope for our ongoing public health crisis. It did not come without sacrifice. Thanks to the inventions, efforts and voices of those who were at the forefront of the battle — and some whose pioneering work decades earlier provided a solid foundation for innovation — this was the year we could see some light at the end of the tunnel.

In this year’s calendar, we recognized 11 of humanity’s heroes who helped — oftentimes unknowingly — identify, treat, teach others and spread awareness about COVID-19. Whether they advocated for equal health care among underrepresented and under-resourced identity communities or developed treatment methods and PPE to protect us against the coronavirus, the actions of these individuals were critical in advancing education, communicating facts and developing medical innovations that are providing a pathway forward for us all.

While the achievements and sacrifices of the 11 individuals we showcased January – November are without question remarkable, we know that there are many other heroes out there whose names we may never know. In December, we reflect on those who made headlines as well as the many others who didn’t; we pay respect to what they brought to their communities in large and small ways, which will never be forgotten.

As we remember, here’s a poem for your reflections written by the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, Amanda Gorman. Poem presented below as shared by PBS NewsHour.


The Miracle of Morning
By: Amanda Gorman, April 2020

I thought I’d awaken to a world in mourning.
Heavy clouds crowding, a society storming.
But there’s something different on this golden morning.
Something magical in the sunlight, wide and warming.

I see a dad with a stroller taking a jog.
Across the street, a bright-eyed girl chases her dog.
A grandma on a porch fingers her rosaries.
She grins as her young neighbor brings her groceries.

While we might feel small, separate, and all alone,
Our people have never been more closely tethered.
The question isn’t if we can weather this unknown,
But how we will weather this unknown together.

So on this meaningful morn, we mourn and we mend.
Like light, we can’t be broken, even when we bend.

As one, we will defeat both despair and disease.
We stand with healthcare heroes and all employees;
With families, libraries, waiters, schools, artists;
Businesses, restaurants, and hospitals hit hardest.

We ignite not in the light, but in lack thereof,
For it is in loss that we truly learn to love.
In this chaos, we will discover clarity.
In suffering, we must find solidarity.

For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude,
Shows us how to find hope, if we ever lose it.
So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain:
Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.

Read children’s books, dance alone to DJ music.
Know that this distance will make our hearts grow fonder.
From these waves of woes our world will emerge stronger.

We’ll observe how the burdens braved by humankind
Are also the moments that make us humans kind;
Let each morning find us courageous, brought closer;
Heeding the light before the fight is over.
When this ends, we’ll smile sweetly, finally seeing
In testing times, we became the best of beings.