Opinion: Canton resident wonders when is the time to go back to normal
To the Editor:
Back in 1962, when James Meredith wanted to be the first black student enrolled at the University of Mississippi, Governor Ross Barnett, on the phone with President Kennedy, said “Now is not the time.” Kennedy answered: “When would be the time?”It is fair to ask the same question of today’s government officials when they say “Now is not the time” to let down our guard, to stop wearing masks, to gather together, or to travel freely. When would be the time?
According to https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7014e1.htm there were “approximately” 3,358,814 deaths in the United States in 2020. COVID-19 was listed as the underlying or contributing cause of 377,883 of these deaths (114.4 per 100,000 population, or 1,032 deaths per day).
Unlike previous years, the CDC has not provided a breakdown of all underlying causes of deaths in 2020. They have provided a bar graph at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7014e1.htm#T1 (Figure 2) on which COVID-19 is listed as the third leading cause of death, and the only contagious cause among the top ten.
If you died in 2020, there was an 11.25% chance it would be attributed to COVID-19. As of April 19, the seven-day moving average posted at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/ was 740 deaths per day, nationwide, the lowest number since October 17. How low does that number have to go before we get our lives back? Would 474 deaths per day be low enough? That is how many people died in 2019 from unintentional injury (52.7 per 100,000). Would 136 deaths per day be low enough? That is how many people died in 2019 from influenza and pneumonia (15.2 per 100,000).
According to https://stlawco.org there have been 95 deaths attributed to COVID in St. Lawrence County since April 8, 2020 (88.2 per 100,000). That is the county death rate during the entire pandemic. Since March 8, 2021, in six weeks’ time, there have been four deaths attributed to COVID in St. Lawrence County. This is less than 5% of the deaths in a county where 770 persons die, on average, every year.
How low does this number have to go? When would be the time?
Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.