77 Seconds

In the time needed to read this article, another American will have died from COVID-19.

The mortality rate from the pandemic in America has now reached one person every 77 seconds – enough time to read about 350 words. A death every 77 seconds – that statistic is shocking and unconscionable. At this rate, COVID-19 is on pace to become the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. this year after cancer and heart disease.

As sobering as that news is, we have it in our power to change the awful trajectory of the coronavirus. Of the many ways to address the pandemic, here are two that resonate the most with me, as the husband of a pulmonologist and the CEO of a global healthcare company:

Trust our scientists, public health officials, and healthcare professionals. They are the experts, so when they tell us to avoid big parties, wear face coverings in public, and practice physical distancing, we really ought to follow their advice. Of course, this holds true for experts anywhere in the world, since the coronavirus observes no geographic boundaries.

Support these same scientists, public health officials, and healthcare professionals globally. They are working tirelessly to develop therapies and vaccines, determine the right social policies to defeat the pandemic, and care for the ill, putting their own lives at risk. More than 600 healthcare workers in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We owe these individuals a debt of gratitude we can never fully repay, but we shouldn’t let that stop us from trying. When you have the chance, thank these heroes and advocate for policies that advance their work.

If we follow these recommendations, we will return more quickly to our normal lives and avoid deaths that are truly avoidable. And if we don?t, we increase the risk that the mortality rate becomes something worse than every 77 seconds.

Instead, let?s follow the guidance of the experts so we can get back to discussing more pleasant data, such as this one: An American is born every 8 seconds. That’s a much happier statistic.


Stanley M. Bergman
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer