I once had a political science professor ask our class what percent of the United States is urbanized. The guesses ranged from 20-60%.
The closest person in the class? Me. I guessed 5% of the land was developed and urbanized.
The answer now, in 2020? 3%, according to the last available data (2010 US Census). That’s 106,000 square miles of urban area in 3,797,000 square miles of the continental United States.
Did you guess right? Were you close?
People lose perspective because they think in terms of their own experience and surroundings. Especially if you live in or around an urban area, it’s hard to gauge just how much land in the United States is undeveloped.
Apply this to the coronavirus.
There are 327 million people in the United States. A week ago, we were projected to lose 220,000 from the coronavirus (which doesn’t even factor in the blurred lines between those who die with the virus versus those who die because of the virus). Today, that figure was adjusted down to around 60,000 deaths.
0.018% of people in America will die from the coronavirus, if the projection is correct. (Spoken, that’s one-one hundredth of one percent.)
And before you can die from the virus, you have to get it. It’s too early to tell how many Americans are going to get it, but as of this writing, nearly 500,000 Americans have tested positive. That’s 0.15%. Spoken, that’s one tenth of one percent.
How many of you would leave the house for work if you knew you had a 0.18% chance of dying. According to the CDC, 2.8 million Americans died in the United States in 2018. That’s 0.85% of Americans.
Every day, you leave the house with a 0.85% chance of dying that day.
Meanwhile, in the last few weeks, 10 million Americans made jobless claims, with millions more to come. That’s 3% of Americans.
Those are real people who’ve built businesses, purchased houses, have families to feed, and have worked hard to build themselves a life. With everyone confined to their homes, obesity, drug and alcohol use, and the diseases that result from those activities – or inactivity – are on the rise. Throw in depression and suicide – especially among those losing their jobs, and we have a much larger problem.
The cure of stopping our economy cold is already taking a far greater toll on our country than this virus will.
People are reluctant to talk about the damage to the economy because they don’t want to be seen as heartless or uncaring. But our cure is destroying many more lives than the coronavirus disease.
People die every day from a wide variety of causes, and that will continue. There’s nothing we can do to stop it. Speaking personally, I’m going to die from something. It might be COVID-19, or it may be something else. Whatever it is, when it happens, it’s going to happen.
Until then, I’m going to do my best to support my local restaurants and small businesses. I’m going to support the economy. And I’m going to keep working.
As far as this pandemic goes, I’ve decided, out of care for the people of this country, I’m not participating.