A million goodbyes: The terrible toll taken on America by Covid

The US’s death toll from the pandemic is about to surpass the symbolic one million mark, with casualty figures cleaving sharply among class and racial lines. And yet, even after two years, both sides of the country’s political divide remain at loggerheads over what to do next

Elizabeth Cooper sits on a bench in front of artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg’s installation In America: Remember, which commemorates the US’s Covid-19 deaths, in Washington DC. Picture: Getty

On the evening of March 11, 2020, the annual gala of the Ireland Funds was in full swing beneath green-tinted chandeliers at Washington DC’s National Building Museum. The evening was following its well-worn course. Leo Varadkar, the then Taoiseach, had just delivered his speech when, around the vast hall, phones started pinging.

At 9.02pm, US president Donald Trump had announced that he was shutting down all flights from Europe to the US in response to ...