In our big country

It’s a big country we’ve got here — 3.8 million square miles from sea to shining sea, with 327.2 million humans living in it. We’re the third-largest in the world, by population, behind China (1.44 billion!) and India, the population of which is over a billion more than the US. It’s staggering to think about.

We know how China has been handling the coronavirus: Its authoritarian government locked everyone down and started tracking everyone’s movements; they aggressively tested the population; and they got almost 18 tons of medical supplies from the US government in February, around the same time our president was calling the coronavirus a “hoax.” And, if you believe their numbers, they’re having great success — they managed to flatten their curve around 25 days after the hundredth case became known.

India is a different matter. They’ve only found 3,588 cases so far, though they’re adding a significant percentage each day. It’s a third-world country, though, so it’s tough to get people tested, to get important safety messages out and for the government to provide relief.

You’d think that here in the first world we’d be faring much better. But we’re not. We’re way behind in testing, though we’ve been steadily making up ground since March 24. But we’re adding way more cases each day than any other nation — we added more than 33,000 today. Next closest was Germany, which added about 9,000. China, meanwhile, claimed just 55 new cases today.

We’re scheduled to hit peak resource use on April 15, in 10 days. We’re supposed to lose 2,644 Americans to the virus that day, and the we should start to trend downward. If we stay home as much as possible, wear masks when we go out in public and, you know, wash our hands.

This is as good a time as any to talk about the numbers.

The numbers

A diversion

I never got to see Sammy Davis Jr. in concert, but I was a huge fan of his work — both the song-and-dance stuff, and also The Cannonball Run. He was a consummate entertainer, a sort-of activist (we’ll forget, for the moment, that weird thing with Richard Nixon) and an incredible talent. So let’s see him at the height of his prowess, in 1979, at the last show of his world tour in Australia. You can’t take your eyes off the guy.

Program notes

  • Tonight’s featured image is “The Lackawanna Valley,” by George Inness in 1856. Thank the National Gallery of Art’s public-domain collection for this.
  • If you’d like to help Triad City Beat, please consider joining our mailing list, or making a donation. Or, at least, share this link with your friends.

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