# [conspire] On setting records

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Jan 5 00:01:32 PST 2022

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So... there were over a million new COVID cases reported yesterday in
the US, and I want to take a moment to marvel at just how gigantic that
number is.  I have a degree in math, and big numbers are genuinely
incomprehensible, so let's see if we can break that down.

There are 86400 seconds in a day.  For a million people to be diagnosed
yesterday, that means that roughly 12 people in this country were
diagnosed every second.  Yesterday.

Let's say people started getting diagnosed yesterday at 12:01am and
kept going, 1 a minute, until a million people had been reported.  It
would finish up in June.  That many cases got reported YESTERDAY.
(End of June, beginning of July, really.  I'm back-of-the-napkining
this.)

Side note: the most important skill in all of mathematics is being able
make reasonable approximations.

Anywho.  Let's come at this from another angle.  There are just shy of
330 million of us in this country.  That means that 1 out of every 330
people got diagnosed YESTERDAY.  That's 3/10's of a percent, for those
playing along at home, which doesn't sound like a lot, but it really is.

Pick a day of the year.  Any day.  Every person with that day as their
birthday got diagnosed with COVID yesterday.

Let's say you're a social person with a lot of active, healthy
relationships.  How many people do you know?  Well, if you buy the
a 50% chance that you know someone personally who got diagnosed YESTERDAY!
If they all lived in one place, that city would be 2/5 as populous as
the St. Louis metro area.  That's the entire state of Delaware.  The
entire state of Delaware got diagnosed YESTERDAY!

If you worked a \$7.25/hr job for 40 hours a week, it would take you 67
years to earn as many dollars as people who got diagnosed with COVID
yesterday.  If you filled Dodger Stadium to its maximum seating
capacity, it would take almost 18 of them to hold the number of people
who got diagnosed YESTERDAY.  7 times as many people got diagnosed
with COVID in the US yesterday as there are members of Mensa in the
whole world.

Seriously, this is breaking my brain right now.  AND IT SHOULD BE
BREAKING YOURS, TOO!

The problem is that anything over 10,000 is just noise.  We can't wrap
our heads around it.  Here's a picture of Obama's second inauguration.
That many people got diagnosed yesterday.  [pic very full of people]

Reference:
https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/region/united-states
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/04/us-global-record-more-than-1m-daily-covid-cases

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