Minister's Post, Sun Sep 6

My dear companions on our faith path,

These are our times.

Covid-19 deaths continue.
Worldwide: During the week Aug 28 - Sep 3, an average of 5,367 people died of the disease per day. That's down from the mid-April peak of 7,051 per day (7-day average). The death rate fell until early June, then rose again reaching 5,891 per day (7-day average) on Aug 13. So it's slowly coming back down. The total deaths so far? We know of 874,442. At the current rate, we will pass 1 million deaths by Sep 28. But the reporting is incomplete. In actuality, we have almost certainly already surpassed 1 million deaths.

US: This week, an average of 898 per day people died of Covid-19. The peak was mid-April when we were losing 2,256 lives a day (7-day average). The death rate dropped steadily until the week ending July 5, when 519 people died a day (average for the week). The death rate then climbed to 1,177 deaths per day for the week ending Aug 4. Since then, it's been slowly coming down. At the current rate, the US will pass 200,000 total deaths from Covid-19 about Sep 14.

The US numbers also underestimate. In fact, the US probably was already at 219,000 Coronavirus deaths by Jul 25. From Mar 1 to Jul 25 (21 weeks), total US deaths from all causes were 219,000 above the CDC's expected deaths for that period. This number of above-expected deaths represents an almost 20% increase in deaths. In other words, for every five people that we would normally have expected to lose in the US from Mar 1 to Jul 25, there was a sixth death due to the pandemic.

If we use the reported numbers as of this writing -- 191,151 US deaths and 874,442 worldwide deaths -- then the US, which accounts for 4% of the world's population, accounts for over 21% of the world's Covid-19 deaths.

Depression. A new report out this week corroborates evidence of the pandemic's effect on depression rates. The survey, conducted between Mar 31 and Apr 13, found that 28% of respondants reported depressive symptoms -- compared to 9% who reported depressive symptoms in surveys before the pandemic. Another study looked at the last week of June and also found that reports of depression and anxiety were three times higher than the same time a year before. The increase in depression appears to come from three factors: Covid itself, fear and anxiety about Covid, and the stresses of the dramatic economic consequences from the pandemic.

These are tough times. Be of good cheer, dear ones. Call me if you'd like to talk. I'm here.


Practice of the Week: Observe, Even If It Costs You Everything

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