The strange times continue.
It’s Earth Day today. The best thing we all can be doing right now is staying home. The skies are unusually clear all over the country. Smog reports have vanished from places like L.A. and Seattle. Factories have shut down or slowed. Trucking is going strong but traffic jams are seldom. Gas prices are at a low that we haven’t seen in more than 20 years — $1.80 a gallon avg. across the U.S..
Some other crazy numbers:
- Over 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment. A first round of 300+ billion (yes, with a B) dollars went out to support small businesses and stop them from laying people off, but more money is needed. That money is already tapped out
- 2,585,468 cases globally with 178,845 deaths so far, but 696,177 people have recovered (mortality rate of 6.92%)
- 826,258 cases in the U.S. with 45,382 deaths so far. Only 75,519 have recovered (mortality rate of 5.49%)
- Just to be clear to all the naysayers that have thought “This isn’t any worse than the seasonal flu,” 38,000 people died from the flu in 2016-2017 out of an estimated 14,000,000 people who visited the hospital with symptoms. Closer to 30 million people were symptomatic. That’s a mortality rate of 0.25% with the 14 million number, or 0.12% with the 30 million number
It’s hard to feel like we are making a difference by isolating ourselves and staying home. People are still dying. Businesses are suffering and struggling to adapt (of all sizes). Schools are closing for good this academic year. Summer plans are being questioned. People are boycotting rent and mortgages. COVID-19 themed commercials and messages are everywhere.
Bands are releasing Zoom-looking music videos while in quarantine. John Oliver does his show from his desk at home along with many other late night folks. John Krasinski is doing a web show from his house focused on good news — something we all need. 4 million people watch it in only a few days.
It’s big. And it’s small at the same time. People are suffering but the hunker down mentality keeps people focused inward (mostly). What do I need to do to make sure my family will get through this. I want to help in ways that I can, of course. Ordering take out feels like a small, selfish thing ever though I know it means a great deal to someone else. Nothing feels like enough.
In more uplifting news, I had often wondered if there were ever again come a time when the Country needed to ask its citizens to do something that was not easy — something that required them to change their daily lives. I thought of the way Works Progress Administration posters advocated for people to save scrap metal, start victory gardens, and the like. Well, here we are. The Country has asked us to do something difficult. And while they are not funding the creation of a marketing campaign, artists have taken the ideas into their own hands.
Day 37. I can’t believe I am saying that. Chris, my boss, weeks ago said that he though this was going to last until June. I didn’t want to believe that he might be right. Here we are, though, last weeks of April with May around the corner. Now, instead of thinking that June is the light at the end of the tunnel, I wonder if it will be more of the same and we are actually looking at July instead.