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Red America's Compassion Fatigue: A Report From Mobile, Alabama

Posted On: Dec 1, 2021   |   Posted By: The New Republic

Red America's Compassion Fatigue: A Report From Mobile, Alabama

Divinity was everywhere I looked in Mobile, Alabama. It glinted in the language used to describe the pandemic: the purgatory of its looping ebbs and flows, the perils of congregation, the miracle of vaccines, and the blind devoutness of the sheep inoculated with them. Hoping to tap its deeply religious community's trust, Mobile County had converted some of the city's 370-plus places of worship into vaccination clinics. Hoping to boost its health care workers' morale, local leaders asked the houses of worship to toll their bells each day at noon for eight days of appreciation in August. Even I-a nonbeliever, and a Northerner plopped down in this Bible Belt county of 413,210 people-felt it, too, in the two nuns aboard my flight to Mobile, and the sign outside an abandoned building I kept driving by that proclaimed, ambiguously, SHIELD OF FAITH.
But alongside these spiritual symbols, I also witnessed the grotesque realities of a county battling its worst surge-more than a year and a half into the pandemic and...

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