Marin coronavirus death toll hits 200 mark – The Mercury News


In March 2020, San Rafael resident Margrit Gonzalez lost her husband to COVID-19. Since then, another 199 Marin residents have died from the virus.

The county hit the grim milestone of 200 deaths during the holiday. Almost all of the victims were over 65 years old.

“I’m still very sad, sometimes I still cry for him,” said Gonzalez, whose husband Lucio was 73. “I miss him terribly.”

As of Friday, more than 64 million Americans had been infected with COVID-19 and more than 844,000 of them had died. The World Health Organization estimates that there have been more than 312 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide – and more than 5 million deaths.

Sixty-eight percent of those who died were residing in long-term care centers when they were infected. Unlike the Spanish flu, which was more deadly for young people, COVID-19 has proven to be a scourge for seniors.

More than 77% of Marin’s COVID-19 deaths were in people over 75, while 93% were over 65 and 97% were over 50. Only 2.5% of deaths were among Marin residents between the ages of 35 and 49. No Marin resident under the age of 35 has died from the virus.

“This is a powerful sign of the particular vulnerability of our elderly residents,” said county public health officer Dr. Matt Willis. “Age is the most important mortality risk factor.”

Black residents of Marin accounted for 5.2% of COVID-19 deaths despite making up just 3% of the population. White residents make up 72.5% of coronavirus deaths in Marin and 71% of the population.

“If we look at it as a proportion of the population,” Willis said, “the highest death rates are among our African American residents.”

Fifteen percent of Marin’s deaths have occurred among Latino residents, while Latinos make up 16% of Marin’s population. Marin’s Latin American population tends to be younger than the white and African American population.

Willis said the most important message the statistics deliver is the importance of getting vaccinated.

From March 2020 to February 2021, before vaccines became available, 173 Marin residents died from COVID-19.

“We were seeing someone die every other day,” Willis said.

But since Marin residents began being vaccinated in May, there have been 14 deaths from the virus, or about one death every two weeks.

“Vaccinations have significantly reduced death rates in Marin County,” he said.

Willis said that because 75% of Marin residents over the age of 55 have been fully vaccinated and given a booster, “in terms of mortality, the worst is behind us.”

This brings little consolation to the many Marin residents who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. According to research by Penn State sociologist Ashton Verdery, there are nine mourners for every person who dies from the virus.

“That means in Marin County we have 1,800 mourners who have really had no community outreach and no sense of community,” said Sandy Sverdloff, whose husband, Edward Charles Peterson of San Rafael, died of COVID-19 in March. 27, 2020, at age 67. Peterson was at increased risk because he had type 2 diabetes.

“There is no greater loss than the loss of your spouse,” Sverdloff said. “I really didn’t think I would survive it. It shattered my life.

Sverdloff said she had to go to South Bay to find a support group because she couldn’t find any help in Marin.

“It was the loneliest time of my life,” she said.

Debra Demello, whose 93-year-old mother died on September 8, 2020, after contracting COVID-19 at Novato Healthcare Center, said, “I was very close to my mother until the day she died. I’m like the rest of society trying to figure out how long this is going to last.

Demello said that aside from losing his mother, the hardest part of the pandemic has been isolating others.

“It changed the way we live,” Demello said. “It looks like this strange time warp.”

Both women said they would eventually like to see some sort of COVID-19 memorial created.

However, Sverdloff said, “I think you can’t really do a memorial until it’s finished. The Vietnam Memorial was not built until the end of the Vietnam War, and only God knows when that will be.

Demello suggested that perhaps a monument should be dedicated to honor the doctors, nurses and other service providers who have worked tirelessly for more than two years to prevent more people from dying.

She said: “I feel like there’s so much more we need to do for those who served, trying to keep people alive.”


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