Three months later

Three-plus months ago on May 4th, I wrote this:

“The final US death toll from COVID-19 is very hard to predict, but one thing that isn’t hard to predict is the new minimum number.  We’re at about 70,000 today, and I sure don’t think we’re at a peak. IF we were at peak, we’d see about the same number of deaths coming down the curve as we saw going up. So given that and given that many states are now relaxing restrictions, I’d put the minimum 2020 death toll at 150K-250K. The minimum.”

We’re at 175K deaths today, averaging about 1000/day right now. So by mid-September, we’ll be at 200K official deaths. Unfortunately, my May prediction will end up being low. And to put this in perspective, the official death toll from the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki Japan was 135,000.

This is a number that Democrats should hammer mercilessly into everyone’s mind as we approach the election. 200K US citizens died due largely to the Trump administration’s bumbling, ineffective handling of the pandemic. A large percentage of them might have lived if not for this criminal mismanagement. Most elections, “it’s the economy, stupid”. But not this one. This time it’s the dead Americans.

That grim scenario aside, here’s something I didn’t predict three months ago. I’ve been trying to get knee surgery scheduled all year, as my mobility and pain are pretty bad. I had absolutely no luck until suddenly, yesterday, a slot opened up in my preferred surgeon’s calendar for August 31. So now I’m scheduled for a new right knee in 12 days (!). Exciting but a little scary – this is a high stakes bet. And while yes, knee replacements have become common, all the fears of complications, bad outcomes and surgery in general are suddenly and acutely relevant to me.

Finally, with about 75 days left until the election and 138 days left in a strange and miserable 2020, I find myself busier than ever. A new proposal to write for one company. A new consulting gig for another. A novel to rewrite. Several big home projects still to do. And soon a lot of painful physical therapy to work through. I thought retirement would be different, but I’m grateful to have productive things to do with my time.