Blips of History

Even with the Coronavirus pandemic, births in the World and United States in 2020 will once again far outnumber deaths. Sixty million people will die but 140 million will be born into the World. The United States will contribute about three million deaths and four million births in 2020. The rate of population growth has slowed in recent years but the population itself continues to grow. Mother Nature barely notices the pandemic. But we watch the Coronavirus death toll rise one by one on the chart in the corner of the television. Eighty years from now Our World in Data says annual births and deaths are expected to dovetail into the same number for both the World (120 million) and the United States (4.5 million). Those projections are meaningless with so many variables at play. How many more pandemics, wars, genocides, and natural disasters are factored in? Will the United States even exist? I will not be around by then nor will the great majority of people alive today. This perspective is difficult to process because each individual death and birth can mean the world to people closely connected to those events. We presume 2020 will be memorable to future generations because we personally feel the intense low points. But how many of us really ever thought much about the Spanish Flu and the World War I battles of 1918. The flu pandemic allegedly originated that year in Haskell County, Kansas. Inducted troops carried the virus to Fort Funston and then overseas to Europe. The War and flu together ultimately killed an estimated 70 million humans. Down the road in Codell, Kansas, a May 20th tornado hit the town on the same day for the third straight year. Today how much do Kansans even remember about such momentous events?


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