NBC's Lester Holt suggests 'free will' is partly to blame for the 1 million COVID deaths

“Today’s soul-crushing milestone comes just as we begin to peek out from behind our masks lower our guard willing the pandemic to be over,” Holt told viewers while showing COVID-era images, including caskets. “But the slowly rising tally of the dead won’t let it be and forces us to confront some tough questions like how many of those 1 million deaths might have been prevented.” 

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“We counted on the tools, the vaccines, the masks, the distancing, but we forgot about the unpredictability of free will, mistrust in science and simple human behavior,” the anchor said as images of anti-mandate protests appeared on-screen. 

NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt hosts an NBC News town hall event with U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden in Miami, Florida, U.S., October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt hosts an NBC News town hall event with U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden in Miami, Florida, U.S., October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Holt pondered “what such a moment called for” as the U.S. reached various death toll milestones, saying the pandemic has “changed our rituals of death and grief” by keeping loved ones physically separated, perhaps only connected virtually. 

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“One million dead sounds like an ending to a horrible story, not a chapter, but that’s what it is. A number that shakes our consciousness, demands our attention, forces us to pause and consider who and what we have lost,” Holt continued, adding, “You’ve got to believe there are better days ahead.”

OLYMPIA, WA - APRIL 19: Hundreds gather to protest the state's stay-at-home order, at the Capitol building on April 19, 2020 in Olympia, Washington. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee instituted the order last month in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

OLYMPIA, WA – APRIL 19: Hundreds gather to protest the state’s stay-at-home order, at the Capitol building on April 19, 2020 in Olympia, Washington. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee instituted the order last month in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Much of the media demonized anyone who protested lockdowns as well as mask and vaccine mandates throughout the pandemic. 

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