We hope everyone made it to the store in time to get their black-eyed peas and hog jowls because we could use all the luck we can get this year.

It would be hard to fathom a toll of nearly 350,000 in nine months, but the science has always pointed to something like this. More than 1 in 1,000 Americans, the entire population of Americans, died from the same disease inside of nine months. Not quite 6 percent of the US population, those confirmed by testing, have contracted the virus. The rate of hospitalization due to COVID-19 is around 313 per 100,000 population, according to the CDC.

Those are just the numbers. Just the data. Not “panic porn,” or “fear-mongering” – just the numbers.

And, fear is really just in the eye of the beholder is it not? Some of us like to know what’s going on. Some would rather be kept in the dark, but we imagine most of us are mature enough to deal with facts as they are presented.

But, those are just numbers, we can bring it closer to home and it still shouldn’t register as sensational to the mature adult.

In November, Stillwater Medical CEO Denise Webber said they had had about 160 admissions since then. There’s been many more since the middle of November, but the math kind of lines up close the national rate.

Stillwater has had 14 deaths, that we know of due to COVID-19, which would be below the national average, because 1 in every 1,000 should put us around 50.

Even given that our average population is made younger by the college students, we still consider 14 a combination of luck, hard work by medical staff and people being careful and considerate.

Because, here’s how it is, as we see it. Fourteen isn’t just a number to us, and it isn’t scary, each one represents a person, who had a life, who had people who loved them and people to love.

So, in 2021, we’re hoping for a little more luck, but we’re hoping for a lot more compassion.

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