U.S. PIRG promotes national “Week of Mourning”

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG

People across the country will grieve those lost to COVID-19 and call for action


WASHINGTON — U.S. PIRG is partnering with Marked by COVID for a national Week of Mourning, October 4th-11th. Virtual vigils and social media actions will commemorate the more than 200,000 Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19. People interested in participating can track and sign up for activities here

“Our hearts go out to those who have lost family members, friends and coworkers to this deadly virus. Perhaps the most heartbreaking part is the knowledge that so many of these deaths were preventable if our federal and state leaders had taken quicker and more decisive action,” said Matt Wellington, the director of U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns.

For months, health experts have laid out how to contain this virus and save lives. Nearly 1,400 health professionals signed a letter calling on decision makers at all levels of government to lower the number of virus cases by closing non-essential businesses and to only reopen once states have built robust testing capacity. Some of the nation’s top economists joined the call to make clear that rushing to reopen before squashing the virus would backfire and prolong economic damage. 

While a handful of states have the virus under control, it continues to spread like wildfire in much of the United States. 

“We are used to disasters striking suddenly: Two airplanes hit the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 in New York City. A lone gunman entered an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut and killed 26 people, including 20 kindergarteners. For each of these catastrophes and countless others, we took time to acknowledge what had happened, to honor those who had passed, and — in the case of September 11th — we vowed to “never forget,” said Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of Marked by COVID.

Urquiza noted that “the US has now lost 200,000 people in the last seven months, and I’m on a quest to ensure that we “never forget” them, nor what brought us to this colossal death toll, either.” 

Experts at the Harvard Global Health Institute and Brown School of Public Health released a new analysis Thursday of the amount of testing each state needs to do to effectively suppress COVID-19. The new targets show that most states still have a long way to go to build up testing, while a handful of states are leading by example. 

“There’s no silver bullet to get us out of this mess, but widespread testing could certainly give us some pieces of our lives back. The federal government has made it clear it won’t help so state governors need to make this happen now. Too much time and too many lives have been wasted already,” said Wellington.