East Coast vs West Coast – The Most Important Question Nobody Is Asking

 

Tom Lasorda, Reggie Jackson
New York Yankee legend Reggie Jackson, interviewing Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda

So we’re well into a month of the coronavirus crisis/meltdown/lockdown/quarantine.  (Use whatever word suits you best.)  There are so many discussions and debates are going on- many of them less than civil, unfortunately- it is literally impossible to keep up with all of them.  And yet, there is one astonishing, potentially critical development that literally no one predicted, nor is anyone talking about now- not the medical professionals, not the pundits, not the skeptics, not the doomsayers, nobody.  To the extent that it gets mentioned- which is almost never- it gets shrugged off, with meek references to “social distancing” and “population density”, before the conversation moves back into the more familiar directions.  It’s a very concrete explanation, that cannot be explained by any one factor, but maybe- just maybe- it can give us a better clue as to what we’re up against here, and how we can handle the pandemic…

WHY IS THE EAST COAST GETTING HIT SO MUCH HARDER THAN THE WEST COAST?

We are far past the point where this data is a small sample size.  The greater New York metropolitan area is taking the brunt of the hit, with nearby states like Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and especially New Jersey dealing with alarming increases.  There are plenty of topics to discuss about this disease, and all that surrounds it- the fatality rate, who is most vulnerable, which measures are reasonable, what the fallout will look like, and plenty of other hot button issues.  All of these have been literally discussed to death, and see no signs of letting up, presumably, (hopefully) long after the coronavirus itself does.  Yet nobody seems to want to address this peculiar development, to the extent they even acknowledge it.  I’ll leave an in-depth analysis of it for those who get paid, but here are some very basic concrete numbers, as of April 12th, that should blow your mind.  If it doesn’t, then I will respectfully ask you to put your Common Core math book down, and learn arithmetic the old fashioned way…

 

With a population of less than 3,000,000 people, the New York suburb of Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk county) has seen 1478 fatalities from coronavirus.

With a population of roughly 40,000,000 people the entire state of California has seen 687 fatalities from coronavirus.

In other words- with thirteen times as many people, the entire state of California has half as many deaths from coronavirus as Long Island!!!

Consider the fact that this isn’t even including New York City itself; We’re comparing the entire state of California to a mere suburb!   I ask, as non-rhetorically as I can, how is this even possible?? The closest thing to an educated guess that I can come up with, as a longtime resident of both places- or, as some guy who Googles a lot of stuff on the internet- mass transit is used far more in the New York area than anywhere in California, even including San Francisco.  Given how important we keep being told that social distancing is critical in stopping (or at least slowing) the spread, it’s at least plausible that with more de facto social distancing built into the California lifestyle, we’d see less spread of a contagious disease.

Nevertheless, this explanation seems kind of flimsy.  Plenty of large gatherings in California happen at beaches, concerts, sporting events, and so forth.  Would that make up for so much less spreading of this disease, one month into the pandemic?  It seems pretty unlikely.  And keep in mind it was Washington state where the first concentration of coronavirus showed up in America.  I’m not going to comment on the effectiveness of social distancing here, as I honestly have no idea.  But I will say, fairly definitively, that it is almost statistically impossible to account for such a distinction between two heavily populated, coastal destinations in the same country.  (It’s also worth noting that both governors are activist Democrats, receiving high grades from their citizen.)

TheWho
Hey, don’t blame THESE guys!

So in conclusion, I have no conclusion.  But it would be nice if we could take a few minutes away from our endless arguments about Trump, China, Fauci, The WHO, civil liberties, the preparedness (or lack thereof), and even the coronavirus disease itself, to try answering one question that could provide information to some of the other ones we’ve been asking.

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