Coronavirus Math

What’s wrong with the third of my state that constantly criticizes the Governor’s handling of the seasonal flu global pandemic? Is it, in part, a lack of numeracy? Is math education to blame?

There are 7,615,000 people living in Washington State. There are 331,000,000 people in the (dis)United States. So we represent 2.3% of the country. As of 11/25/20, 261,636 people have died from Covid-19. If Washington State residents were dying in proportion to the country’s overall death rate, (2.3% x 261,636) 6,018 people would’ve died so far. In actuality, 2,655 people have died, 1% of the total. If twice as many people had died in Washington State, we’d still be below average.

Of course you and I know the Governor doesn’t deserve the majority of the credit for that, it’s the whole citizenry that’s rising above the Grand Canyon-like void in federal leadership, coupled with hardworking nurses, doctors, and a legion of other essential workers. Still though, the next time you feel like ripping the Guv for “taking away your freedom”, just put a mask on.

Bonus ‘rona prediction. All those ludicrous fights between the Mask Vigilantes and the Anti-Mask Nutters will continue after we return to mostly normal next summer. This is because some subset of the most cautious Covid-19ers will continue to socially distance even after the threat subsides. They’ll do it partially out of habit and partially because their anxiety will not turn off all of a sudden. Their continued “abundance of caution” will incense the “Live Free or Die” crowd which isn’t known for its empathy. Just don’t be surprised if next August you see an epic shouting match on your local bike path or at your local Costco. In the meantime, meaning the next few years prob, extend some grace to the most Covid-anxious among us.

2 thoughts on “Coronavirus Math

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