More than 200,000 people have died of Covid-19 since we started paying attention six months ago. Let me put that into perspective:
The columns represent the total number of deaths for each event (blue) or per year (gray). The line represents those deaths on an annualized basis. At 400,000 deaths per year, Covid-19 now ranks as the third leading cause of death in the US for 2020 after cancer and heart disease. We're on course to have 133 9/11s or 12 times our usual number of car crash deaths just this year.
Whatever you might think about the policy distinctions between our two political parties, surely the Republicans' callous disregard for human life in this pandemic matters, right?
The cartoonist and author behind Hyperbole and a Half has returned with a new book, which I should receive tomorrow. This news offsets pretty much all the other news from today:
I'm sure there's more, but I'm done for the day.
Choral board meeting followed by chorus rehearsal: all on Zoom, and as president and generally techy guy, I'm hosting. After a full day of work and a 5 km walk. Whew.
So what's new?
Finally, if you want to be a Cook County Judge of Election, you can still sign up—and earn $230.
In just the last week, three iconic Chicago restaurants have announced permanent closures: Southport Lanes, Fat Willy's Rib Shack, and Lawry's The Prime Rib.
I'm having beer at Southport Lanes this afternoon and ribs for dinner Thursday. Lawry's, I'll see you before the end of the year.
The official death toll in the US for Covid-19 has passed a milestone Deborah Birx predicted back in March:
In the predawn hours of March 30, Dr. Deborah Birx stepped in front of the camera on the White House lawn and made an alarming prediction about the coronavirus, which had, by then, killed fewer than 3,000 people in the United States.
"If we do things together, well, almost perfectly, we can get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities," Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, told Savannah Guthrie of NBC News' "Today" show.
On Saturday, Birx's prediction came true, as the number of lives lost to Covid-19 in the U.S. topped 200,000.
Meanwhile, though they have consistently done almost nothing right in the six months when 200,000 ordinary Americans have died, the Republican Party has put the pedal to the metal mobilizing after one Associate Justice died. It's all about power, nothing about the people.
As Covid-19 cases rose in large cities, people started moving to the suburbs in larger numbers. Crain's reports that the combination of fear, downtown office closures, and low interest rates caused home sales nearly to double in 14 Chicago-area suburbs. Barrington, a wealthy village of horse barns and huge houses, saw the largest number of home sales last month, with Lake Forest (a similar place) close behind.
Amanda Mull, writing in The Atlantic, sees this as a big gamble:
When we talk about people leaving America’s biggest cities right now, people largely means the rich. In The New York Times’ analysis of cellphone location data, 420,000 people fled New York City for some period of time from March 1 to May 1. Those who left were heavily concentrated in the city’s wealthiest zip codes, especially those in Manhattan. A similar phenomenon was found in the city’s trash-collection patterns, in which the amount of garbage dropped most sharply where rich people had vanished.
[T]he work-from-home “revolution” is already off to an uneven start, with many people returning to offices at the behest of their employers in states that have more fully reopened. There’s reason to believe that will continue.
People whose employers are amenable to fully remote work might still see consequences if they stay out of the office. Some employers could use remote work as an opportunity to tighten budgets beyond just their office leases, especially if the economy stays in a recession for a while. Facebook, among the first big companies to make working from home a permanent option, has already made clear that it will cut workers’ pay if they relocate from the Bay Area to less expensive places—a cost-cutting tactic common among employers whose workers retain their jobs when they move to less expensive areas.
There’s not much evidence that the pandemic has changed the tastes of otherwise enthusiastic city dwellers. And even if moving seems like an effective strategy to stay safe, it’s not exactly clear that it will look that way in hindsight. No one really knows how the pandemic will progress over the next year, in big cities or elsewhere. New York City’s outbreak now seems to be under far better control than those in many popular migratory destinations in the Sun Belt, which could change the calculus for panic-movers.
Those of us who love cities still love them. Of course I understand the allure of suburbs; getting out of Chicago for a few hours was one of the motivations for the Brews & Choos project. But I just don't like the costs of living in the suburbs, like having to drive everywhere, and "everywhere" means a chain restaurant or box store. The only suburbs I could imagine wanting to live in are Evanston and Oak Park, not coincidentally two of the densest in the area and both with multiple rail lines to downtown Chicago. There are millions of people who agree.
Working from home with a gigabit Internet connection has at least one major perk: TV on in the background. I've gone through a lot of it in the last six months. The Expanse, Tales from the Loop, Wyonna Earp, Warrior Nun, Upload, and The Umbrella Academy were all worth watching. Some of them even have new seasons coming out soon.
On the "return to the office full-time" front, we probably have another six months to wait. The New York Times has a rundown of the 92 Covid-19 vaccines currently under development. But despite the president's lies, none of them will be available before the election. And getting 7 (or 14) billion doses manufactured and distributed will take time as well.
So, we work from home, wash our hands, wear our masks outside, and have lots of TV on in the background. Yay us.
Just a few of the things that crossed my desktop this morning:
And last night, Cubs pitcher Alec Mills threw the club's 16th no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers. In the history of Major League Baseball, there have only been 315 no-hitters. The last time the Cubs won a no-hitter was 51 years ago.
When you ran out on me six months ago, I thought I would never see you again. I looked everywhere, high and low, north and south, but I couldn't find you. I went online, searching even the darkest corners of the web to see if someone—anyone—could deliver you to me, but alas, no one could, not for any price. I nearly gave up hope of ever holding you again.
And then today, there you were! You and your sisters, sitting in the last place we met almost a year ago, looking just like the first time I saw you. My heart leapt with joy as I took you in my arms, reunited, at long last!
Oh, how I've missed you.
Here we go:
Finally, for only $875,000, you can own this contemporary, 2-story house...on top of an 8-story building.