The power of +1

Late yesterday afternoon, the COVID-19 statistics for Canada looked like this:

One person had died in my country. I tried to imagine who that one person was. Perhaps it was a mother from Newfoundland, or someone’s petite soeur from Québec, or a farmer from the prairies, or a former lighthouse keeper on the British Columbia coast.

Somewhere in my country yesterday a family was grieving.

This morning I checked the stats. At the time I started writing, there were +1481 new deaths worldwide.

I tried to imagine who those people were. Perhaps they were mothers from Florida, or someone’s petites soeurs from France, or farmers in Russia, or former lighthouse keepers in Australia.

Just now I reloaded the page, and it looks like this. In the last half hour the number increased by +1.

From https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Somewhere in the world a family is grieving.

The number +1 allows us to try to imagine that person. We can empathize. When the number is much larger, it becomes impossible to draw individuals in our minds. The empathy thins out or disappears. But we can’t forget that the large number is made up of 1s.

Here is what 1482 looks like in 1s.

11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 1111111111111111111111111111111 . . . 1 . . .

Each +1 of us can do our part to slow down and stop the numbers. We don’t want to have to try to imagine your family.

7 thoughts on “The power of +1

  1. marianbeaman

    This is sobering, especially since the USA is #1. Although we are a large country, the statistics are horrifying, here and worldwide. You did a great job of breaking down the large, impersonal statistics into separate entities, each a loved one leaving a grieving family. Sad!

    Reply
  2. Ally Bean

    I like your take on +1, taking the big picture and turning it into something more easily understood and felt. Your country is doing great, ours is not. I sigh often now, not knowing what to think about any of this, other than I know I must do what I can in small ways to keep everyone safe.

    Reply

What do you think? Let me know. Comments make me really happy.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.