Grim milestones

Over half a million infected. That’s one American in seven hundred. Do you know 700 people? There’s a good chance you do.

More than twenty thousand dead. That’s four percent of the half million. That’s a lot, 4%. Four out of every hundred. How many times have you been in a group of 100 people?

We saw an Easter gathering on our walk this morning. The service was in the church parking lot with people in their cars. The preacher was up on a platform with a microphone. That’s a tough racket—being a preacher. You have to sell stuff that isn’t there! You have to convince people they’ve received what you’re sending them. I was a schoolteacher and I know that’s no mean feat.

It made me happy that folks figured out a way to celebrate. This pandemic has us imagining new ways to do things, and I like to see solutions to problems.

I suspect we will come through this crisis in due time. It’s the length of time that I can’t get a handle on. The distancing measures and lockdown strategies seem to be working. I’ve no idea when the timing will be right to ease off on those. Let’s hope the epidemiologists get a good model of the disease progression and can make better estimates. That way any public policy decisions can at least have some decent numbers to work with instead of just a bunch of useless opinions.

2 thoughts on “Grim milestones

  1. The numbers are grim. The seasonal flu normally has a fatality rate of about 0.1% or less in the US. The fatality rate so far of COVID is about 3% in the US. That probably doesn’t include some deaths, and undoubtedly doesn’t include a vast number of people with the disease, which means the fatality rate (so far, remember it May take 20+ days from infection to death) is much lower. I have been frustrated by the lack of graphical data. Everyone says we need to “flatten the curve” but no one seems to compile data to show if we are flattening the curve or not. The Chronicle has compiled information and I believe it is available to anyone at: as is their other Corona Virus coverage.

    Here is what I discern from the information: The Bay Area, one of the early places that the virus reared it’s ugly head, has about 40% of the population of California, but has about 22% of the known cases and about 21% of the deaths. California has about 10% of the nation’s population, but has about 4% of the nation’s cases and a little less than 3% of the nation’s deaths. Yay, us.

    If you look at the bar graphs that they update daily, further down the page, and mentally smooth the bar heights, you can discern what may be a flattening, or down-sloping of the curve, both in New Confirmed Cases in the Bay Area and California and in Deaths in the Bay Area and California. Further down, a bar graph of hospitalized COVID patients appears to at least flatten recently. That’s all good news. And finally, the graph showing the cumulative number of people who have received COVID test results takes a dramatic upturn shortly after April 1 – we’re still way short of the number of people that need testing, but if the number of tests are increasing and the number of infections is not, that has to be good news.

    Here is some opinions on re-opening the economy:


    • I’m actually encouraged by most of the projections I see. I really like the visualizations at and especially the one looking at daily new cases. Things really do seem to be slowing down.

      My fear is not that we won’t get through this infection, just that we’ll relax and get a “second wave” because there are too many asymptomatic carriers.

      I suspect a lot of people, coming our of all this, will say “why the fuck can’t I keep working from home?” Sure would save on a lot of gas and air pollution and crowded highways. There are a lot of things happening that might become the new normal. In a globalized, populated world, pandemics are part of the cost of living.


Please comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s