GREAT DIE-OFF: Sheila Jackson, Former Chicago County Coroner
Excerpt from "COVIDsteria: An Oral History of America's Great Reset" - see https://covidsteria.substack.com/p/covidsteria-table-of-contents
The chaos of the Great Die-Off and COVID Spring was traumatic for much of urban America. Many of the oldest or largest cities in the country (especially those in the Northeast, Midwest, and Upper Midwest or coastal areas in general) saw largescale population decreases or demographic shifts. Many survivors left for more suburban, exurban, and rural areas of their states for new manufacturing and energy sector jobs or to work from home. Others moved further afield to smaller cities in the booming Sun Belt, Heartland, and Mountain West regions.
I headed to the now booming Downstate Illinois, where many ex-Chicagoland residents like Sheila Jackson, the former ChicagoCounty Coroner, have fled. I wanted to talk to Sheila about what it was like to be a Coroner during the COVIDsteria pandemic and the Great Die-Off...
When I was growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I could not avoid being surrounded by death. There were often multiple fatal shootings a day in my neighborhood. Then there was the constant stream of deaths from drug overdoses, suicides, the lack of good health care, and the stress of living in urban poverty!
I guess you can say being surrounded by death made me fascinated by it! It was why I decided to become a forensic pathologist and a coroner.
When I finished my studies, I took a job in the Chicago County Coroner’s office. I worked my way up and was eventually appointed County Coroner by the County Board of Commissioners.
What was the impact of COVIDsteria on your Coroner’s office?
I was expecting our morgues to be overflowing. The media kept telling us that COVIDsteria was an airborne Ebola and a Black Death with some Spanish flu mixed in that required a great reset to contain because there were no treatments until you needed a hospital ventilator. But that never happened.
By late spring and into the summer months, there was a noticeable increase in deaths – mainly elderly living in nursing homes or those with comorbidities. Deaths were in line with a bad flu season or what you would expect with a contagious respiratory virus going around and sickening or killing off the weakest members of the population. Most of the bodies in the Coroner’s office were still full of bullet holes because it was Chicago. We were also seeing more and more drug overdoses and suicide victims due to the stress of being under lockdowns.
But then that stupid national news correspondent Fredo Ratto came to Chicago and the County Coroner’s office saying he needed dead bodies for a news story. Well, if you need dead bodies for a news story, Chicago was the #1 place in America to find them! Of course, most of the dead bodies were full of bullet holes, stab wounds, or drugs. But that never mattered to that stupid Fredo and his crew of hungry newshounds. He still did a big primetime story about how poor black folks in Chicago were dropping like flies due to COVIDsteria and a racist President who did not care at all about it! [She rolls her eyes.]
What bothered me the most was what happened as soon as they turned off the news cameras. That stupid Fredo immediately took off his mask and started coughing all over my bodies without making any attempt to cover his mouth! I mean, show a little respect for the dead, man! And not everyone in a Coroner’s office is already dead! I was livid that he might have COVIDsteria and make my colleagues and me sick! [She frowns.]
And sure enough, I later heard he probably did have COVIDsteria when he had visited Chicago for his story! And not only that, he was refusing to properly quarantine himself or wear a face mask when not on TV! [She shakes her head and frowns again.]
By autumn, though, the overall death rates in Chicago began to fall back down to normal seasonal levels as clearly the worst of the pandemic was over. However, I found myself under tremendous pressure from the county commissioners, the mayor, the governor, and all the public health officials to keep the COVIDsteria death numbers high.