This disease has been tearing our hearts apart, as it tears the bodies of our family members, friends, and neighbors. The endless sirens, the sight of ambulances by apartment buildings, the stacks of plain coffins by the funeral homes. The posts on social media. The tolling of church bells every afternoon. Every day has been bringing news of someone we know sick, someone we care about at a hospital, and increasingly the worst news of all – so many deaths.
Last night 731 residents of New York City died in a hospital setting from COVID-19 or related complications, but the real number is much higher, as neighbors have been dying at home at alarming rates. Some get sent back from hospitals, others never make it to them.
“The FDNY says it responded to 2,192 cases of deaths at home between March 20th and April 5th, or about 130 a day, an almost 400 percent increase from the same time period last year, (In 2019, there were just 453 cardiac arrest calls where a patient died, according to the FDNY.)” Gothamist reported today. “That number has been steadily increasing since March 30th, with 241 New Yorkers dying at home Sunday — more than the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths that occurred citywide that day. On Monday night, the city reported 266 new deaths, suggesting the possibility of a 40% undercount of coronavirus-related deaths.”
There is little that can be done, other than staying home, and taking precautions necessary when that’s impossible, and that feeling of powerlessness is the worst. We’ve been sharing stories that show how neighbors are coping, and helping and surviving, and I just want you to know that no matter how bad it gets, no matter how alone you feel, you are not alone. We will bury so many more amazing individuals, taken from us too soon, in the weeks ahead. We are stronger together, and since we can’t actually be together – do share the stories and memories of your loved ones. May their memory be a blessing.
RIP, Janice Rodman, 52. “Janice’s roots in the Bed-Stuy community made her a master connector of new to old neighbors,” reads the Facebook post from the YMCA. “She remembered everyone by name, kids ran through the door to greet her, and if you needed a special favor with registration, she was your go-to person.”
RIP, Professor Moshe Augenstein, Brooklyn College announced. “With profound sadness, we share news of the passing of Professor Moshe Augenstein of complications from COVID-19. He was the Undergraduate Deputy Chair for Computer and Information Science, serving the college for 45 years. Prof. Augenstein was beloved by all and will be missed.”
RIP, Mehmooda Rehman, mother of Kashif Hussain, in Kensington.
RIP, loved ones.