Though we also were struck by this: We were sorry to see that Mara Gay has been very ill with Covid-19.
We were glad to see that she's on the road to recovery.
In this morning's New York Times, Gay writes a very instructive essay about her experience with the virus. Her essay starts like this:
GAY (5/15/20): The day before I got sick, I ran three miles, walked 10 more, then raced up the stairs to my fifth-floor apartment as always, slinging laundry with me as I went."In the emergency room an hour later, I sat on a hospital bed, alone and terrified, my finger hooked to a pulse-oxygen machine," Gay says as she continues.
The next day, April 17, I became one of the thousands of New Yorkers to fall ill with Covid-19. I haven’t felt the same since.
The second day I was sick, I woke up to what felt like hot tar buried deep in my chest. I could not get a deep breath unless I was on all fours. I’m healthy. I’m a runner. I’m 33 years old.
Again, we're happy to report that Gay is home and feeling better, but still not close to well. Below, you see her self-description. Also, you see what she wants you to know:
GAY: I am one of the lucky ones. I never needed a ventilator. I survived. But 27 days later, I still have lingering pneumonia. I use two inhalers, twice a day. I can’t walk more than a few blocks without stopping.Every word Gay writes is worth reading, though we'll also include the passage shown below. We're including it because we think it's also important, though Gay's improving health, and her wishes for others, take prominence today.
I want Americans to understand that this virus is making otherwise young, healthy people very, very sick. I want them to know, this is no flu.
We strongly recommend Fay's essay. Late in the piece, we were brought up short by the passage show below. We were struck by this for two reasons:
GAY: Why are more people dying of this disease in the United States than in anywhere else in the world? Because we live in a broken country, with a broken health care system. Because even though people of all races and backgrounds are suffering, the disease in the United States has hit black and brown and Indigenous people the hardest, and we are seen as expendable.We do live in a broken country. That point is very important.
But how about Gay's question? Why are more people dying here than anywhere else in the world?
Mainly, it's because we're the world's third largest nation by population! This is what deaths per million population look like this very day, as we type. We're omitting a few tiny nations, showing the highest death rates:
Deaths from coronavirus per million population, as of May 15:Are "more people dying here" than in Belgium or Spain? It never ceases to amaze, the way our brightest high-end journalists don't seem to grasp the importance of adjusting for inflation / population / demographics / whatever else may apply. Even at our highest end, the most elementary handling of statistics seems amazingly hard.
United Kingdom: 501
United States: 265
(Tara Westover calls that an education. We call it anthropology.)
For the record, here are some other numbers of interest. So far, Sweden is badly losing the Nordic states race. Meanwhile, South Korea:
Deaths from coronavirus per million population, as of May 15:We make one other point. Gay is, at 33 years of age, a member of the New York Times editorial board. In our view, it's a sign of the possible confusion of the age that she seems to include herself with those who are said to be regarded or treated as expendable.
South Korea: 5
New Zealand: 4
Does that really make sense? How does that seem to others?
Gay's essay is superb. We hope she's more healthy and hale every day. WE hope she offers more superb essays. That one passage did catch our eye.