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I haven’t stopped thinking about this Twitter account honoring COVID-19 victims

Published Sep 23rd, 2020 9:18PM EDT
Coronavirus deaths
Image: famveldman/Adobe

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  • At least one Twitter account has been tracking coronavirus deaths among a specific demographic — health care workers who’ve lost their lives to the COVID-19 virus.
  • This Twitter account posts blurbs about those health care workers, making the account a constantly updated memorial to victims of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • As of Wednesday, more than 201,000 people have been recorded as dying from the coronavirus thus far in the US.

The faces are so haunting. As you scroll through the Twitter account that belongs to @CTZebra, the name of which makes clear the account is meant to honor “US HCWs Lost to COVID19,” you see one face after another staring back at you — faces of the lives lost to the terrible coronavirus pandemic that’s hammered the entire world.

They belong to people like Marie Brumbaugh. Each health care worker lost to COVID-19, like her, gets a blurb on this Twitter account that tracks coronavirus deaths, from which we learn that Brumbaugh was a 40-year-old medical assistant in Branson, Missouri. She died from the coronavirus earlier this month after having spent a month on a ventilator, eventually suffering a catastrophic stroke. She left behind three children, the youngest of whom is just 10 years old. Meanwhile, just below Brumbaugh’s blurb, there’s another honoring Dr. Bruce Greene — a 61-year-old psychiatrist from West Orange, New Jersey, who died of COVID-19 back in mid-April.

Greene, according to @CTZebra, was a snorkeler and voracious reader who was also a trivia buff and avid collector of PEZ dispensers. “Kids intuitively liked him,” his short tribute continues. “He possessed a relaxed confidence.”

This is the human face of a tragedy that tends to get lost in the crush of news coverage focused on coronavirus trends, updates, vaccine developments, and statistics related to the virus. The team at Johns Hopkins University, for example, is to be commended for the intensive work it does by making available a constantly updated tabulation of coronavirus data including the numbers of cases and deaths in the US and around the world.

That data is heavily relied upon by everyone from journalists to political leaders tracking the pandemic. One shortcoming of the data that you have to acknowledge, though, is that it’s just that — data, and as such it doesn’t convey a sense of the humanity behind the numbers. All the lives lost, families wrecked, and communities irrevocably changed by this massive public health crisis.

As of the time of this writing, the Johns Hopkins data shows that, to-date, more than 6.9 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the US. Also, more than 201,000 people have died from the virus — a number that tragically includes so many health care industry workers. People who took the risks and made the sacrifices that we don’t have to. People like these and so many others:

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.