As I write this on Sept. 25, 2020, the United States has surpassed 7 million cases of the COVID-19 virus and 203,481 people have died from it.

What do the numbers mean? Look at it this way: It means the entire populations of 10 regional counties would be gone, adults and children alike.

Everyone in the five counties of north central Idaho (Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Clearwater and Lewis counties) would be dead. Everyone in five counties

contiguous to north central Idaho (Asotin, Whitman, Valley, Adams and Benewah counties) would have also died. Per 2018 census reports, these 10

counties have a combined population of 206,592. By the time you read this, the death toll will probably exceed that amount. Imagine no one living in

this vast area we call home. That’s what 203,481 people gone today would look like.

How to see the meaning of 7 million cases? It means every person in the states of Idaho, Oregon and Montana would have contracted the virus.

The future? Add in the entire population of Kootenai County of 161,505 people dead, too, as, per recent statistical models, at least 168,000 more deaths

are predicted by the end of the year if we don’t do a better job of containing the spread of the virus. As the months of 2021 progress, how many more

counties of death equivalents will be added? It’s staggering, as well as relatedly evident, we must do better to curtail this contagion.

Frances Conklin


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