Today, as I heard the best case scenario would be at least 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, I tried to wrap my head around a virus that will kill so many of us in such a short period of time. Dr. Fauci states at least 100,000 death, Dr. Birx said it could be up to 200,000 if we do everything perfectly. The Imperial College predicts a minimum of 1,100,000 even as we try to mitigate the spread.
100,000 to 1,100,000 is a very wide spread of numbers. For my head to wrap around the numbers, I had to make context comparisons. What does that look like in terms of people lost? Below is what helped me picture the loss. The comparisons also saddened me deeply when I thought of the large number of the family and friends also affected by each and every loss of a human being.
If only 100,000, we would lose the whole of one of the following cities:
- Four of my hometown, Athens, OH.
- South Bend, IN
- Las Cruces, NM
- Roanoke, VA
- Kenosha, WI
- Columbia, SC
- Erie, PA
At 200,000, we would lose the whole of one of these cities:
- Little Rock, AR
- Amarillo, TX
- Montgomery, AL
- Aurora, CO
- Glendale, CA
- Huntington Beach, CA
- Fayetteville, NC
And at 1,100,000, we would lose the whole of one of these cities:
- Indianapolis, IN
- Columbus, OH
- San Francisco, CA
- Jacksonville, FL
- Austin, TX
- San Jose, CA
Can you imagine the whole of any of these cities gone? So many deaths? So many families in mourning?
What will that loss mean to our society? To our emotional well-being? To our sense of safety?
My hope, and my prayers, are for the loss of life to be much less than predicted. The realist in me knows one of the above estimates will come to be.
The saddening, and the maddening, part of this is so many of these deaths would have been preventable if we had acted sooner. Many of these deaths can still be prevented, but only if we practice social distancing, stay home, and wash our hands a lot. It will only work however, if ALL of us—all of us in every town, city, and state—participate. If even one state doesn’t, the worst case scenario seems more likely.
Bottom line take away: Practice social distancing, stay home, and wash your hands!
Your life, and my life, depends upon it.