avatar
Covid By The Numbers


Source: Common Dreams

I was feeling better before I started this. How much better? Two, three, 500 times better? It’s hard to say. Numbers are blurring in my mind.

Six is a number I’m clear about. Come Sunday, six is the number of weeks I will have spent in this place. Two, the number of people in my household. Two, the number of people I know personally who have died from Covid-19.

Two hours old, the official death toll I read this morning: 14 in the rural county where I’ve been sheltering; 11,267 in my city, New York; 15,302 in my state; 48,201 in this country; 185,494 counted dead so far across the world.

Two and three-quarters of a million—that’s the number of cases worldwide as of this morning.

Million, I always have to check, is two groups of three zeroes. One million is 1 zero zero zero zero zero zero. To write 20 million, the number of Americans currently officially unemployed, I’d have to add one more.

Four to five hundred million dollars is what our deadly president claims the US is contributing to the World Health Organization per year—the contribution he says he wants to suspend. For reference, $300 million is what Mr. Trump owes Deutsche Bank on loans connected to the Trump Organization’s failing Washington hotel, the same hotel for which the Trump Organization has applied to the Trump Administration for relief.

The World Health Organization’s budget is in the billions—about $2.4 billion. To save a billion dollars, I’ve heard that I’d have to save $100 a day for more than 27,000 years or 304 generations.

$2.4 billion is a lot. It’s even more than the US Department of Homeland Security will spend on the president’s idiotic border wall this year ($2 billion), but a good deal less than that same sick project will also receive from the Department of Defense ($3.8 billion).

Ten times 2.4 billion is what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has made in 2020.  Want to pay the WHO to fight pandemics and poverty around the world for a decade?  One man called Jeff could do it today and still be worth $114.5 billion as he was at the end of last year.

That’s two-four, zero zero zero, zero zero zero, zero zero zero, in just three months.

Which takes me back to three. The number of weeks before she died that we saw our friend. 64, the number of years since her birth that at least that many of us were celebrating.

Zero, the number of ways to measure the volume or touch of a life or its absence.

Numb, that’s what all these numbers tend to make us, but we’d better snap out of it, because one thing’s for sure, our days, and the days of living with math like this, are numbered.

Laura Flanders is the award-winning host and executive producer of The Laura Flanders Show, a nationally-syndicated TV and radio program that looks at real-life models of shifting power in the arts, economics and politics. Flanders founded the women’s desk at media watch group Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) and produced and hosted the radio program CounterSpin for a decade. She is also the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species. Flanders was named Most Valuable Multi-Media Maker of 2018 in The Nation’s Progressive Honor Roll, and was awarded the Izzy Award in 2019 for outstanding achievement in independent media.

Leave a comment