What’s in the numbers?

As of 11 pm Central Standard Time, May 12, 2,000, there were 4,261,955 cases of the Coronavirus worldwide, and 291,964 deaths. In the United States, 1,369,574 cases and 82,376 deaths. In my tiny state of Arkansas, U.S.A., with 3 million people, the numbers were 4,164 cases and 95 deaths. Each day, I look at these numbers when I read my local newspaper. Early on, I would read them with an attitude of shock, and some fear of the sheer enormity of the increasing statistics. This morning, and for a few weeks now, I’ve focused on another aspect of these numbers. One that the media probably has no ability to address. These numbers represent losses, losses to the fabric of humankind.

The daily report of the numbers of souls, who have succumbed to the onslaught of the Coronavirus, can seem cold and sanitized. I’m sure there are data collectors around the globe who do their best to give us accurate data on how the virus is culling the peoples of the world. In my mind, I can see strikes through numbers of five at a time. Of course, I know the data are kept in a more sophisticated manner than that, but that’s how my mind works at times. I see marks on a poster board with strikes through them. Each mark has a head, a torso, arms, legs, rudimentary representations of bodies.

Sadly, I have found myself also thinking about who these people are whenever I hear reports of the increasing tally of victims. These are assets to the world that we will no longer have; one of them  could have found the cure for all the cancers that plague us, one could have discovered a way to produce energy that no longer pollutes the planet, one might have found a common rallying point for global solidarity. Alright, maybe those are just too highfaluting, but they were wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, neighbors of all kinds, people who made the world a better place within their small circle of influence.

Quite frankly, it has become just to darn depressing to listen to the updates about Covid-19. The numbers of victims seem almost like the work of an advancing army, equipped with weaponry that makes defeat too far out there for us to even envision what victory is likely to look like. Last night, I had difficulty nodding off for my nightly rest. I got out of bed more times than I can remember. I even found myself on the back deck of our house lifting weights, in hopes that my fatigued body would surrender itself to much needed sleep. It didn’t work, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Chris told me what I already knew, I was suffering from anxiety. The mind knows what’s on it even when the body doesn’t. There’s one thing I must come to terms with via body, mind and soul: The Covid-19 victims are more than numbers; however, what I can do is make contributions to foodbanks, volunteer to help in whatever safe manner I can; practice social distancing to help prevent spread of the virus and pray to my Creator that this tool of the reaper will become dull and ineffective as soon as possible. My anxiety offers no help at all.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

One thought on “What’s in the numbers?

  1. rangewriter May 16, 2020 / 10:58 pm

    Indeed. So much loss. And many COVID deniers try to mitigate the losses by presuming “it’s mostly just old folks.” Well, if that was your mother, you might think differently. Besides, now we are seeing strange side effects attacking small children as well. Plus plenty of middle-aged first-responders have died in the line of duty. I refreshed my memory to find out how many individuals died from the 911 attack, which precipitated our participation in a misbegotten war. The 2018 tally for 911, which included cases eligible for compensation after the fact, was 20,874. Compared to the 87,000 dead of COVID in just 5 months. There is no belittling this virus. No wonder you feel anxious.

    Liked by 1 person

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