Former Minister of Health Marek Krajčí at regular information on the number of deaths at COVID-19.
Author: Ľuboš Pilc, Truth
Together with her sister Lenka Straková, she created a support group on the social network. They bring together relatives of coronavirus victims. In addition, they prepared a petition entitled: A call to end the inhumane labeling of COVID-19 victims as nameless “deaths”.
They demand that the authorities and institutions, as well as politicians, “stop treating the dead as an elusive figure in statistics.” They say that with this dictionary, their loss is set in seven-day averages, statistics and curves. “They distract the public from real people, real victims,” they think. The full call can be found at: https://www.peticie.com/…obete_covidu.
What led you to declare the petition?
The death of my mother. My sister and I have seen this sensitively before. We take the pandemic and the measures seriously. We were careful. Still, our mom got infected. We have gone through a very traumatic period. And this persists because of the way in which the pandemic and its victims are reported.
It is very difficult to write about death. Why do you think this is a targeted dehumanization of the dead?
Because it’s overtaking records. Mortality charts are kept, but media headlines usually say that we are the first in the number of deaths. Not that we are the first in the number of victims. It’s unworthy. Our loved ones do not deserve it. We don’t deserve it. The death of our mother became a collective death. One day we lost it and the next day the table of the National Center for Health Information reported it as one of the deaths, someone else may have written a comment on the topic stating that the situation is slightly improving, because in the last week there were on average 78 deaths a day and the week before it there were an average of 87 deaths. People are lost behind these comments, ratings, statistics, numbers. Try to say that the situation is slightly improving, as only 78 people died today, while 87 people lost their lives last week… You say that it is difficult to write about death. I say that death is very easy to write about today. After all, we compare week after week in time, we compare regions, whole countries, death is the number one topic everywhere. But it doesn’t touch us. The company has been depersonalized. You’re used to it. They don’t see people there, but the curves in the charts. Who will be helped when the information clinks on the mobile phone every morning, how many people were connected to artificial lung ventilation yesterday, how many we have for that day of death… Will it do anything to the public? Do they understand that information? In my opinion, they don’t care if there is five more or less.
So what should change?
If they can report at the National Center for Health Information, the Ministry of Health, the Public Health Office about the number of people vaccinated – and not vaccinated, the number of people tested positive – not positive tests, hospitalized patients – not hospitalizations, then they can write down the number of victims. Not death. But they don’t do it. I can understand the terminology used and the reporting of statistics… But this vocabulary has become natural to us. It is being taken over by the media. People. And those real victims won’t get into those articles then. Finally, the representatives of this country, who are responsible for the desperate situation in which Slovakia finds itself, find it easier to communicate numbers that are already separated from people. These are no longer thousands of affected families. Missing moms, fathers, sisters, friends… But death. Then it doesn’t matter if there are 9,875, or 9,876, or 9,900. A few numbers up and down. And then, if you’re responsible for each number, you’ll probably sleep more easily.
What affected you the most?
Having a relative who is struggling with COVID-19 in the hospital is a horror. Trust me. The impossibility of physical contact. Our mother was only 57 years old. She was healthy. She worked from home, only went out with her dog. She wasn’t even in food for half a year. Apparently she got infected in the entrance of the apartment building. We didn’t meet for half a year because we followed the rules. We live, we lived two hundred kilometers apart. She didn’t see my daughters, her granddaughters. We just called. Even at Christmas… Then we made video calls when she was in the hospital. She was hospitalized in early February. Then we wrote to each other because she couldn’t call anymore. And then she called us very briefly and since then I have only called the doctors from the ARO. And now it’s part of the curve. In addition to being your relative in the hospital, you face it all out there. Politicians are just crying, the health minister is sorry, people are aggressive and arguing because they have to wear respirators, they secretly go to cramps. The media bring reports from covid wards, doctors interview the suffering of their patients, and pathologists describe the autopsies of covid victims in detail. And the numbers are commented. Every day. When your loved one dies, all this continues. Just without him. Nothing will change.
So you couldn’t say goodbye to your mom…
Not physically in the hospital. But we made the funeral as beautiful as we could. He was dignified, but we missed kar. We are not allowed to mourn in the circle of family and friends. This is difficult.
You’re right, behind every number is a man and his story. Do you think that’s how humanity, humanity, disappears?
Sure and I don’t just think so. My sister and I set up a Facebook support group on the families and friends of COVID-19 victims. A psychologist who helps us for free is also a member. There are a lot of those stories. Support groups abroad also work beautifully in this way. And you know what? It’s all repeated over and over again. Those stories and experiences are very similar to ours. And even there, the survivors emphasize that their deceased are not just numbers.
So how should we talk about the number of victims of the virus?
As for the number of victims of COVID-19. Like people who have died. Not about impersonal deaths.
Do you feel that in society there is now some kind of sadness, grief for a loved one?
We’re not used to talking about it. Even now during the pandemic. On the other hand, we have neither how nor with whom to talk. We are isolating ourselves. So we can only mourn alone or online.
There’s a petition outside – what’s next for it?
We created the challenge and the support group together with my sister Lucia Ďurajková. We want people to really realize how dependent we are on each other. How my decision will change someone else’s life. How great a tragedy is the state in which this country finds itself, and what its inhabitants are going through. Behind every single “death” is great suffering, pain, loss. And I am also convinced that politicians and state institutions owe great excuse to the victims and their survivors. At a time when hospitals do not have free beds with oxygen, they are arguing, regretting and crying on their own press. Igor Matovič gave status to his profile, as he took ten years of his life as one prime minister. I say that one of his years as prime minister took the lives of tens of thousands of people.
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