Spackley Opinion – I’m a numbers guy Pt. 1

My former home state (which I work in) put in place yesterday an executive order (just call it a rushed law) that everyone is to stay put. That is everyone other than those deemed essential. No, you should not be shocked that the Media is deemed essential, and your lovely news anchors will be on live TV to keep their show rolling…..yet I digress. During all this COVID-19 fiasco, and despite having slept through much of my AP Stats class way back when, I seem to enjoy numbers and what they can seemingly tell us, or in many cases, be used to fool us. As such, I keep going back to what my gut says, and that is to look at the raw numbers.

Now, I’m not just talking about current\live numbers of COVID-19 around the world (ACCESSIBLE HERE), but I am suggesting to look at past numbers, historical information, as well as locations & demographics. On top of this, I think it should be considered and looked at other current and ongoing health crisis’ that are seemingly disregarded, or commonly accepted as business as usual.

In Pt. 1 here, let’s take a pluck at the low hanging fruit. As I type this around 12pm CST 3/21/2020, there have been ~11,972 reported deaths as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Based on the link above from (where data below is sourced from) they begin the date for the COVID-19 on January 22nd, but most accounts note that this began in China in December, if not sooner than that. No doubt that this is a LOT of deaths related to this. Let’s take a look at some other health related deaths that have happened this year.

First one that comes to mind for me is Alcohol. Why? Because as I sat in line at the grocery store attempting to buy deodorant, I couldn’t help but notice just how much booze many people had in their shopping carts. No worry, alcohol is only a poison to the body, but it’s OK as it’s socially acceptable to drink and drink to excess. Since January, there have been over 550,000 Alcohol related deaths. Given what I’ve seen in shopping carts, memes about wine tours in your home, and the quarantine many are under, I can only imagine the spike we’ll be seeing here this year.

Ok, so alcohol is one thing, but how about Suicide? There have been reported over 236,000 deaths by suicide in 2020 alone. That is over 75k PER MONTH. I’ll rattle through a few others:
Smoking related: 1,100,000
Abortions: 9,369,000
HIV\AIDS: 370,000
Seasonal Flu: 107,000

The above numbers I’d assume are blurred slightly by how everything is classified at the hospital level, and then reported, but the facts above remain the same. We are currently sitting at ~1/10 of what the regular Seasonal flu is at with regards to deaths, and compared to the others, barely a fraction of a percent. IE statistically negligible. Now, I’m shocked as anyone on the Abortion one, and everyone’s thoughts on that will vary. However it is one that by most all accounts is 100% preventable. This is a topic for a far other discussion…….so back to the numbers and pontification.

What I’m attempting to highlight with the above is the relative scale of the current situation that we’re facing. I completely understand that there are potential health consequences to the COVID-19 virus (including death). I care deeply for the health care workers, as there are several nurses in our family, as well as dental professionals, and teachers. I am concerned for them as anyone else is. My gut as noted above keeps going to the raw numbers, and tries to put it all into perspective. Is it for me mentally to ease the concerns over other things going on? Quite likely. However I’ll touch on those things in Pt. 2, and dive into some of the numbers related more directly to the current COVID-19 crisis. While I mash the keypad for a few hours, stay spackly (and safe).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *