But despite all their precautions, Walter and his father, John, both contracted the novel coronavirus, and after 19 days in the hospital, John Walter died May 10.
On Sunday, Brian Walter was one of nearly two dozen people directly affected by the coronavirus to mourn the more than 200,000 American who have been killed by covid-19 and push for a national plan for recovery.
They gathered on the grassy Ellipse just south of the White House and in proximity to the Rose Garden, where those attending President Trump’s announcement of his Supreme Court nominee flouted recommendations on wearing masks and social distancing. Trump and at least eight other people who attended the Sept. 26 ceremony have since tested positive for the coronavirus.
“It’s very important we get the message across that this is not a hoax or a conspiracy or a fake illness,” Walter said. “Just because it hasn’t affected you personally doesn’t mean it’s not real. The events of last weekend prove that you can be isolated for a while, but if you make one wrong move, the virus could get you.”
Walter looked at 20,000 empty black chairs that had been placed on the Ellipse over the weekend, each representing 10 people in the United States who have died of covid-19. The U.S. coronavirus death toll soared past 200,000 last month, and Covid Survivors for Change, a network aimed at helping those affected by the virus locate support groups and other resources, declared Sunday a national day of remembrance.
The group recruited local volunteers to set up the installation. They began removing the chairs after the event Sunday.
Those who spoke reflected the myriad ways the pandemic has shaken people’s lives. A Virginia teacher who worried for the health of her students. A Black entrepreneur who is struggling