A Wyoming perspective on COVID-19


Today, May 12, as I looked at the number of total deaths in the COVID-19 U.S. like I do every night, I realized I had grown numb. The number had no meaning to me. 80,820, as listed at cdc.gov.

I live in Wyoming. The total population of our state, according to the US Census Bureau in 2019, was 578,759. The number of incorporated municipalities is 99.

We are an insignificant part of the United States population to many. However, to those of us who live here and pour our hearts and souls into this land and this economy, we are not insignificant. And I wanted to know what 80,820 deaths looks like.

So I started subtracting Wyoming city/town populations, according to the 2018 census numbers, from the number.

80,820

-32,473 Laramie

_____________

48,347

-17,849 Sheridan

_____________

30,498

-10,429 Jackson

_____________

20,069

-9828 Cody

_____________

10,241

-878 Alpine

_____________

9363

-2734 Kemmerer

_____________

6629

-2006 Afton

_____________

4623

-548 Cokeville

_____________

4075

-418 Baggs

_____________

3657

-478 Wamsutter

_____________

3179

-1878 Pinedale

_____________

1301

- 1240 Mt. View

_____________

61

I looked up populations of individual cities/towns until I got down to 61, then I had to consult a list. The list I looked at wasn’t labeled with populations but it was listed by size. I picked one near the bottom and looked up the population.

61. Hartville.

61

-61 Hartville

____

0

80,820 people in Wyoming statistically eliminated in a matter of minutes, city by city/town.

These towns represent, for me, the lives lost in the United States since February. And now I am no longer numb. I have friends in those towns. I live in one of those towns. I work in several of those towns. I have a son at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Even one loss of a loved one is a devastation for my heart. (I realize the numbers may be over-counted, or may be under-counted. For this comparison, I’m going with the CDC numbers).

I imagined the entire population of 13 of our Wyoming towns, gone in less than four months in the U.S. due to this pandemic. Well, I managed to put the number in perspective for myself.

And with today’s listed death toll by the CDC of 1064, if the number increases by only two tomorrow, to 1066, I’ll be adding Dubois (968) and Bairoil (98) to the list.

Of course, Wyoming does not have these numbers. We stand at seven deaths as of today. But the loss of lives is staggering when realizing without our current pandemic, only a small fraction of these 80,820 people would be dead today, and none of them from COVID-19. So, thank you to those working so hard to find answers and cures.

Agree or disagree with the extent or nature or reactions to the pandemic, I want to say I’m sorry for your loss to all of those who have lost family members and friends at this time.

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