Mar 28, 2022 - COVID

How one Virginia county is memorializing COVID-19 deaths

A row of white flags in the grass outside the Washington Monument
Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

More than 35,000 people have died of COVID-19 in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia since the pandemic began. Now, over two years later, one local county is considering how to permanently memorialize lives lost.

Driving the news: Local agencies in Fairfax County are working on designing and estimating the cost of a permanent COVID-19 memorial in a park, under the direction of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chair Jeffrey McKay.

  • Nearly 1,500 people have died of COVID-19 in the county.

What they're saying: McKay began thinking about more permanent ways to help residents process and heal after holding a vigil for victims last summer.

  • “We have some very beautiful, serene, calming park properties throughout the county where people on a daily basis go to reflect, be one with nature, and rejuvenate,” McKay says.

The idea wouldn't be to list names, McKay says, but rather design a memorial that speaks to anyone who has experienced loss.

What's next: The county is working with the local arts community on potential designs. The project is expected to take a year before actual construction starts, and cost between $100,000 and $300,000, McKay adds.

Zoom out: An advocacy group is pushing Congress to establish a national remembrance day. A congressional resolution to do so has 67 sponsors in the House, but hasn’t moved forward since being introduced last February.

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