NOTES, 31 AUGUST 2020
Greetings, blog reader, on this the last day of August of 2020. Here is a wish that you and yours are safe and well. We are in a tumultuous time filled with dangers and uncertainties. It is easy to get overwhelmed and despondent about it all. One way we can help ourselves is to keep informed about what is going on all around us. This may be painful. However, I have always believed it is better to know the truth even if it hurts because this leads to understanding and wisdom. There are certain things beyond our control while there are some things under our control. It is important to know the difference. Thus, the last day of August is an appropriate time to take a quick survey and reassessment of where we are in our lives as a nation and society.
We are beset by multiple crises: pandemic, economic depression, social unrest, housing and food insecurities, and impending election.
The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly around the world and particularly in America. Early this year, some authorities predicted the virus would abate in the warm days of summer when people would be outside. This was what happened in the last pandemic, 1918. Then, there was a rise in the spring, a big decrease in the summer, and a huge spike in the fall and winter. This has not been the pattern of covid. The summer did not bring a respite of the disease, just the opposite.
In the three months of June, July, and August, the cases of covid in the world jumped from app. 6,000,000 to 25,413,610, more than a four-fold increase. Deaths in the world arose from 380,000 to 851,079, more than double. In the month of August alone, world cases went from 17,511,607 to 25,413,610, app. a 50% rise. Death in August jumped from 677,540 to 851,079.
As it has been since the early days of this year, the United States continues to be the epicenter of the plague. In the three months of summer, cases skyrocketed from 1,880,000 to 6,175,008, more than a three-fold increase. Just in the month of August, reported cases jumped from 4,635,000 to 6,175,008. Deaths in the U.S. in the three months shot up from 108,000 to 187,227. In August, deaths increased from 155,306 to 187,227.
Our southeastern states fared worse than the U.S. as a whole. In South Carolina, reported cases of covid jumped from 12,415 to 118,324 in June, July, and August. This is nearly a staggering ten-fold increase. That is, there are nearly ten times as many cases of the disease in SC now as at the start of June. In the month of August alone, cases shot up from 87,572 to 118,324. Deaths in SC showed the same alarming rise. In the three months, deaths in SC climbed from 501 to 2,709. This is more than a five-fold increase. In the month of August, deaths arose from 1,667 to 2,709.
The figures from Alabama are equally unsettling. There, cases shot up from 18,771 on June 1 to 125,235 today. Thus, there are seven times as many cases in AL as at the start of June. In the month of August, cases arose from 85,762 to 125,235. Numbers of deaths from covid in AL went from 653 at the first of June to 2,162 now. This is more than three times. In August, deaths in AL arose from 1,565 to 2,162. It is clear than in both SC and AL, COVID-19 is running rampant with no sign of ending.
Charleston County continues to lead SC in numbers. There, cases went up in August from 11,245 to 14,000 as deaths increased from 154 to 235. As in the state as a whole, the summer saw a huge spike in the disease in the county. While numbers in the county increase steadily, the rate of the spread has lessened.
In conclusion, the pandemic exploded in the three months of June, July, and August in the U.S., particularly in the southeast. Far from being a respite, the summer months saw a vast expansion of the disease and its deadly effects. This was true no where more than in SC and AL. With cooler weather coming soon and more and more people staying inside, we can expect the pandemic to increase exponentially among us. It is going to get far worse. We should get prepared.
The other crises in our lives are also getting worse. There are now more than 30m Americans collecting unemployment insurance. The federal government has not renewed the $600 increase. The local unemployment benefits are temporary and will be running out soon. Over 100,000 businesses in the U.S. have closed permanently. The grants from the federal government to help small businesses are also running out. Moreover, the eviction moratorium has expired. This will put millions of Americans out of their homes. Food banks are straining to meet the public need for food security. All of this at the same time as schools are reopening, unsure of how to proceed with classroom instruction. To make all of this more intense, the very rich seem to be getting richer. Wall Street is on a roll and the people with money are getting even more. The rising economic inequalities are a big red flag for the future.
On top of all of this we Americans are moving into the last phase of the political campaign to elect a president, House of Representatives, part of the Senate, and countless state and local offices. I have already commented (too much for some readers) on this and will not belabor the point. I will just say we should keep all of this in the big picture. We are witnessing the crucial clash between the forces of the great democratic revolution of the late 20th/early 21st centuries and the reactionary counter-revolution. What makes this most intense is the certain personality of the standard bearer of the counter-revolutionaries, the sitting president. It is not an exaggeration to say the future of our nation hangs on the vote of 3 November.
Let us boldly move into the future as the Americans we are and the Christians we claim to be. We have the wind at our backs even though we are facing perilous seas. I believe we will make it through to safe harbor. Remember, we are all in this boat together, and all for a reason, for the living of this hour. We did not choose it; it was given to us. Peace.