“I’ve been thinking”: Numbers Do Tell a Story

By Jim Heffernan
Maybe something went wrong when my brain started developing, but somehow I ended up with an inordinate and unnatural love of spreadsheet software.
Normal people look at the numbers for Covid cases and deaths and say “Oh, dear.” Not me, I have to construct a spreadsheet, enter the numbers case and death numbers daily, and have the spreadsheet calculate case to death ratios and calculate death and cases per week. It helps that I am not encumbered with a day job that would infringe on my romance with spreadsheets.

My favorite sources are Worldmeter, CDC (Center for Disease Control), and The New York Times. I particularly like Worldmeter for its online spreadsheet that lets you sort by column. Sorting tells me the USA is a strong #1 in cases and deaths but slips to #31 ranked by cases per million and #19 in deaths per million.

If I wasn’t so busy caressing my spreadsheets, I probably would have hit on this Tweet from Ted Cruz sooner, “I love the Aussies. Their history of rugged independence is legendary; I’ve always said Australia is the Texas of the Pacific. The Covid tyranny of their current government is disgraceful & sad. Individual liberty matters.”* His sentiment has been echoed by numerous “conservative” sources.

The Texas/Australia comparison I think is a very good one. The population of Texas is 28 million and change. The population of Australia is 25 million and change. I suspect their standards for reporting are quite similar. I wonder what the spreadsheet can tell us about what “individual liberty” has earned for Texas.

On January 23, 2022, Texas reports 5,972,238 Covid cases and 78,491 Covid deaths. This translates to a rate of 205,968 Covid cases per million and 2,707 Covid deaths per million.

On January 23, 2022, Australia reports 2,239,310 Covid cases and 3,161 Covid deaths. This translates to a rate of 86,256 Covid cases per million and 122 Covid deaths per million.

On January 23, 2022, the United States reports 71,925,931 Covid cases and 889,197 Covid deaths. This translates to a rate of 217,297 Covid cases per million and 2,686 Covid deaths per million.

On January 23, 2022, the Oregon reports 570,892 Covid cases and 5,936 Covid deaths. This translates to a rate of 135,355 Covid cases per million and 1,407 Covid deaths per million.

My calculator tells me if Texas had mounted a Covid response that was as good as Oregon’s, there would be 37,675 Texans who would not have died from Covid.

My calculator tells me if Texas had mounted a Covid response that was as good as Australia’s, there would be 74,959 Texans who would not have died from Covid.

My calculator tells me if the United States had mounted a Covid response that was as good as Oregon’s, there would be 424,146 Americans who would not have died from Covid.

My calculator tells me if the United States had mounted a Covid response that was as good as Australia’s, there would be 848,294 Americans who would not have died from Covid.

Australia and Oregon had fairly strict masking requirements and had some vaccine “mandates”. Texas and large swaths of the United States did not. Of the four, Australia is the only one to have a robust national health system.

For bonus points: By the numbers – Oregon, the 27th most populous state, ranks #35 in total cases and total deaths.
In cases per million, Oregon ranks #50.
In deaths per million, Oregon ranks #46.
Thank you, Governor Kate Brown!

*I enjoyed this reply to Ted on Twitter

Lady Dedlock
@LadyDedlock2
Oct 17, 2021
Replying to @tedcruz

Hey, thanks for your concern, Ted, but we’re ok. We’re just here getting vaccinated & looking out for our fellow Australians. We’ve kept the numbers down so as not to overwhelm our health system – which, by the way, is free.