I have been thinking a lot this week about General Colin Powell who died on Monday from complications from COVID-19. Powell was the first African American man to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and also the first African American man to serve as Secretary of State. I remember his public presence as both influential and humble. I was grieved to learn that, after all the battles he had fought, after all the struggles he went through in his personal and professional life, he was defeated by COVID-19! People are still dying from this disease!
We have lost so many in our nation to this terrible virus and this on-going pandemic – some who were well-known personalities like General Powell, and many more who were known only to family and friends. More that 700,000 have died, just in our country. And millions more across the globe have also died from this disease.
Even as the United States approves booster shots and prepares to roll out vaccines for children between 5-11 years old, so many other countries are still waiting to begin the vaccination process. I heard on the radio this week that less than 3% of the people who live on the continent of Africa have received even one vaccine shot. Even if this number is ‘fake news’ and the reality is five times higher, it would still be far below the percentages in North America and Europe.
As our community and our nation emerges from the worst of the pandemic, I pray that our global political leaders and health care industry leaders will find the political will and the practical solutions to bring health and the promise of hope to every part of our world.