Friday, May 1, 2020


Today is the last day of April in the year 2020. We will not soon forget this terrible month, an unparalleled moment of death and destruction in the course of our lives. It was the month from Hell. 

At the age of seventy-six, I can look back over an eventful lifetime. I have seen many times of trial, but I have never known a month such as this. I lived through the end of WWII, the civil rights movement, the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK, 1968, the Vietnam War, the Gulf wars, and 9-11. All of these times of trial involved visible enemies. The present pandemic is a sudden attack of an enemy that is invisible in itself but highly visible in its effects and against which we have no defense at all. In all probability, it will be at least another year before we have a vaccine against the coronavirus. Meanwhile, we will go on doing what we can to deter the spread of this highly contagious and deadly disease. Many more months such as April of 2020 and we will witness human devastation such as we have never known.

We have been following the statistics for the pandemic in Worldometer in two-day increments trying to discern some pattern. The last time we checked, the figures seemed promising in that the rate of spread and of deaths seemed to be declining. Not today. In the last two days, April 28-30, in the world there were 153,750 new reported cases, a rise of 5%, the same as the earlier two-day period. However, deaths are spiking. In the last two days, there were 16,261 reported deaths, for a rising rate of 8% over the earlier two-day period which had seen a 4% rise. 

In the United States, 54,065 cases were reported in the last two days, for a rising rate of 5%, the same as the previous two-day period. However, there was a sharp increase in deaths, up 4,866, for a 9% rise, well above the earlier two-day's 5% increase. In South Carolina, there is no decrease. The state reported 268 new cases in the last two days, for a rising rate of 5%, down slightly from the earlier two-day period. SC is also reporting 55 new deaths, for a total of 232. This means the mortality rate in SC increased from 7 to 31%. Alabama is following a similar path. It reported 368 new cases in the last two days, a 6% rate, up slightly. AL reported 34 new deaths, a 15% rate, up from the earlier 7%. The bottom line for the U.S., SC, and AL, is that there is no indication COVID-19 is slowing down in its spread or its mortality. 

Looking back over the statistics for the whole month of April, one has to be shocked and appalled at what they reveal. It was indeed a month in which a Hell was created by an organism so small it is barely discernible to scientists. It is astoundingly contagious and deadly. It is almost unbelievable that this tiny microbe could wreak such destruction on humankind. 

According to Worldometer, there were 873,008 cases of COVID-19 on April 1 and 3,233,851 on the early morning of April 30. That means at least 2,360,843 people in the world fell ill with the coronavirus in the month of April. As for deaths in the world, 223,994 were reported in the month (4,532 on April 1; 228,526 on April 30). 

The figures for America are even more terrifying. In the month of April, the U.S. reported at least 875,933 new cases of COVID-19 (Apr. 1-188,639; Apr. 30-1,064,572). In other words, there was more than a five-fold increase in cases in the U.S. in the month of April. Much worse were the numbers of deaths. In the month of April, at least 57,610 Americans died of the plague (Apr. 1-4,059; Apr. 30-61,669). In all, at least 61,669 Americans have died in this pandemic, and over 57,000 of them in this one month alone. This is a daily death rate of around 2,000 people. The United States has by far the highest number of cases and of deaths in the world. The U.S. became the epicenter of the pandemic in the month of April.

The figures for South Carolina and Alabama, that we have been tracking, are also frightening. SC reported at least 4,798 new cases in the 30 days of April (1,083 to 5,881). This is more than a five-fold increase in the incidence of the pandemic in the state in the month of April. The numbers for Alabama are even more worrisome. In AL, 5,926 new cases were reported in the state for a staggering rise from 999 to 6,925 in the 30 days of April. This is almost a seven-fold increase in the state. As for deaths, SC has lost 232 to the disease in the month, with 210 of those in the month of April (22 to 232). Alabama has seen 262 deaths, 239 of those in April (23 to 262). Moreover, there is no discernible decrease in the rate of spread or of mortality in SC or AL at the present.

To the people out there who are saying this virus is nothing to worry about: it is just like the flu and will go away; we do not need to take any extra precautions as closing down public places; this is no worse than any other cause of death; I say look at the numbers that are freely available on the Internet. A good source of figures, graphs and charts is Wikipedia. Find their article on the U.S. here , their article on South Carolina here , and their article on Alabama here .

The awful truth is this is the worst natural danger to confront humankind since the Second World War ended, 75 years ago. It is highly contagious. It is highly deadly (app. 6% mortality). It is ravaging the First World and is about to hit the Third World, that is woefully unprepared to meet it. I fear the world has not seen the worst effect of this virus yet.

So, it is goodbye and good riddance to the month of April 2020. The world as we know it cannot survive many more months as this. Let us hope and pray the numbers of this pandemic start to change for the better, and soon. If not, we can expect the aftereffects across the board to be worse than anyone can imagine today. 

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, as has been the case for weeks now. However, we need to know the truth, as hard as it may be to take.

So, overwhelmed by the sadness of the death and destruction we have seen all around us this month, I am off to my garden for meditation and prayer. I suggest that you too find a quiet spot today on this last day of April 2020 to reflect on what has happened this month. 

As always, we need to remind ourselves we are here for the living of this hour, as difficult as it may be. We must keep the faith that good will come out of this, somehow, someway, even though we cannot imagine such today, the last day of a terrible month. Peace.