05 July 2020

Florida Number 1 !

Few recognize the name Fran├žois-Marie Arouet but probably know his pseudonym, Voltaire. An advocate for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state, he’s little known for writing one of the earliest detective stories and some of the first science fiction, truly a writer ahead of his time.

Voltaire is best known for a satire, Candide, in which “all is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds.”

And here, in the best of all possible Floridas, we’re setting daily records! For, umm, coronavirus infections. We’re bigger than Texas! We’re bigger than California! We’re bigger than New York!

Florida! We’re number 1! We’re number 1! Er, wait…

COVID-19 coronavirus infections per day
COVID-19 coronavirus deaths per day

We recently broke 10 000 COVID-19 infections per day. Yesterday’s increment came in at 11 458 as the state approaches 200 000 cases and more than 3700 deaths.

Meanwhile the United States is quickly closing in on 3-million infections. It seemed only days ago we wondered if the nation’s death toll would hit 100 000, but already it’s 131 549 and growing. Once our infectious response teams led the world. Now third world nations shun us.

The US has 4¼% of the world’s population, but more than 25% of global infections… and deaths. Yet, in this best of all possible Candide worlds, 41½% of Americans think our government acted just peachy. Ironically, one of the organs the coronavirus attacks is the brain.

US world population versus infections

This is today’s take home message. I don’t give a damn what your politics are. I simply ask you to error on the side of caution and stay safe.

Additional Risk Factors
  • Age– the older you are, the more you’re at risk.
  • Sex– males are 6 times more likely to succumb than females.
  • Race– blacks are more susceptible than whites.
  • Blood– A and AB types pose a significantly higher risk.
How to Be Smarter than the BBC

If you can bear with the numbers a moment longer, the death rates bandied by news outlets, including the venerable BBC, are often in error. Their non-mathematicians typically divide the number of deaths by the number of cases– wrong! To get the correct number, simply divide deaths by the number of recovered patients. In other words,

COVID-19 Death Rates as of 4th July 2020
525 491 ÷ 5890052 = 0.0892 or 8.9% worldwide
131 549 ÷ 864 996 = 0.1520 or 15% nationwide


  1. Good point on the math- easy to forget it is a ratio.

  2. For a while there Louisiana seemed to want to lead the south in Coronavirus infections. We're still high but we don't have beaches.

  3. A thought: my brother in Mexico and my mother in law (who got stuck in Ecuador during their peak infection time) will tell you that the numbers reported by those governments are completely false- massive undercounts of deaths and infections. Brazil's chaotic government doesn't have the will or the means to be accurate. Russia and China don't give out accurate information. Historians will eventually review the burial records, compare the deaths to previous years and find the true death rate in these countries.

    If the U.S. looks terrible, it may be because we are making a mostly good faith effort to be accurate. By all means, take precautions, wear a mask! But remember the numbers you are comparing us to may be wildly inaccurate.

  4. I don't know who's dumber, the ones who say "it's just the flu," the ones who say "I have faith in my immune system," or the ones who want to have a large political rally and not wear masks.

    On July 3rd, Trump had a large political rally at the Four Stone Faces in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
    The governor of South Dakota said that masks would not need to be worn at the rally. If you were afraid of getting the virus then just stay home.
    Trump's son's girlfriend (a senior Trump fundraiser) hugged the governor before the rally.
    Trump's son's girlfriend subsequently tested positive and was driven back to the East Coast rather than flying back with the presidential party.
    Now, I'm waiting to see how the governor tests out.

  5. Leigh - all my sympathies, and please stay safe, stay well, stay home.
    R.T. - tell me about it. Living here in SD, the stupidity just burns. "We're asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country," Noem said. "But we won't be social distancing."
    What she doesn't say - what NONE of our SD politicians say - is that SD ranks among the 5 least populated states, the 5 with least population density. This means that in very rural counties, less chance of getting the virus; in cities, the same as anywhere else. It's not about freedom or normality - it's about how many people you interact with, and how. So, our Governor held an event of 7,500 people - that's the equivalent of 1% of the population of SD - without knowing where any of them had been. And the Pennington County GOP held a downtown rally (including among others, the My Pillow Guy) earlier that day.
    So yeah, around July 17th we're going to have a major spike. Just in time to fill up the hospitals by August, when the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will be coming West River...

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  7. Janice, I'm dismayed how often the wrong ratio is reported. Ironically, the White House was criticizing the media for mis-reporting numbers, when actually the rate was too low.

    O'Neil, you're right. Louisiana coulda been a contender, but we have the advantage of dumber politicians.

    Anon, you're right. For quite a while Russia pretended they had no cases at all. Last month here in Florida, our very own heroine, Rebekah Jones, revealed Florida was considerably under-reporting the numbers– this from the lady whose job it was to build the state's database and gather the statistics. The politicians turned on her and terminated her. She knew how to obtain the actual figures and began reporting them, which embarrassed the Sunshine State into reporting more accurate figures.

    RT, I couldn't come up with a fair way to include lack of savviness in risk factors, but some politicians don't deserve their loyal followers.

    Eve, S.D. just couldn't be satisfied with a low infection rate. You would think elected officials would give priority to keeping their constituent safe.

  8. I live in Connecticut. Governor Lamont had a huge advantage over many other politicians: he's never been very popular, so he imposed and enforced strict guidelines, including limiting traffic with New York. Since many residents of SW CT work in the Big Apple, that was a challenge.

    Lamont hasn't made a lot of friends, but our rates are staying comparatively low...so far.
    I worry about two weeks from now, though. A few of my theater friends and musician friends are getting too shrill about how bored and lonely they are.

    Since my immune system is a mess from other issues, I'm not mingling much. Barb and I will go out for our anniversary the 14th, but we have outside reservations at the restaurant and both wear masks whenever we're out of the house anyway.

    The willful stupidity and denial in this country about the virus is scarier than anything else I could imagine. And it keeps getting worse. I hope Karma's keeping a list.

  9. Steve, boredom doesn't last nearly as long as death. You'd think people would factor that in.

    Like you, I'm staying home, but I'm not one to go stir-crazy. This disease has many more more months to play out, and I'm in for the long haul. I'm glad you're staying safe.

  10. I've been telling people since the get-go that our major job is to survive the coronavirus, and the hell with the economy. You can't make money when you're dead. (Unless you're world-famous. And even then, you don't get to enjoy it.)

  11. Exactly, Eve. The gall of lieutenant governors and hate-show hosts urging grandparents to sacrifice themselves beggers the imagination.


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