How to Put 170,000 COVID Deaths in Perspective

R&I – FS

What does it mean that 170,000 Americans have died—so far—from COVID-19?

How are we supposed to understand the scale?

Consider breast cancer. We all have a mother, a wife, a sister, who has battled breast cancer. The country wears pink every October because of it. In recent years, a little more than 40,000 women have died of breast cancer every year.

COVID-19 killed that many people in about six weeks.

When you tell people that this epidemic is the worst since the Spanish Flu of 1918 killed about 675,000 in America, their eyes glaze over, the importance gets lost.

But tell people that close to 85,000 Americans die from diabetes every year.

And then show them that COVID-19 has killed twice that many people in less than six months.

You can help people understand the true scope of COVID by putting it in the personal context of the health problems we all see in our families’ lives. For instance, prostate cancer kills 33,000 men every year.

Which means that COVID has already killed five times as many people this year as prostate cancer will.

Or, if you prefer to look at it another way: The coronavirus has already killed more people in 2020 than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes combined.

Sir Tainley

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