Perspective On COVID-19 and Population Density

By on 07/11/2020

 

Here in mostly rural Kansas, our lovely governor Kelly has seen fit to mandate mask usage for the entire state. Thankfully, legislation has been passed where counties can tell her to shove off or whatever impolite alternate phrase they want to use if they disagree with her tyrannical decisions.

Why did she mandate such an outrageous thing? Because 270 people had died from COVID-19 in the state of Kansas. As of yesterday, that number was 284 deaths, still far below the 630 casualties from the flu in 2018, yet, everyone must wear a mask! Let me get real and offer some perspective.

We all know the devastation that COVID-19 has caused in states with high urban populations, the state of New York being the most obvious. The people of New York City are crammed together like a can of sardines or a cord of wood.

New York City has nearly 28,000 people per square mile. The borough of Manhattan has the highest population density of any place in America at 64,467.5 per square mile.

Let me explain this to you in terms of local towns and what their populations would be if the people were stacked together like they are in New York City and Manhattan.

The town of Sedan is .81 sq. miles. If it had the same population density as New York City, it would have 22,478 people. As Manhattan, 56,268.

My town of Mound Valley is .64 sq. miles. With the same population density as New York City, 17,760, and Manhattan 44,459.

Parsons has 10.61 sq. miles. With the same population density of New York City, 294,438, and Manhattan, 737,050.  Coffeyville and Independence would each have populations over 200,000 and 500,000 respectively with the same population density as New York City and Manhattan.

Wichita is 163.6 sq. miles. They’d have 4.54 million and 10.546 million people.

You could fit the entire population of the world, 7.8 billion people, into the state of Arizona, 113,998 sq. miles, if they had the same population density as Manhattan. Combine an insane amount of people per square mile with a policy of placing COVID-19 positive patients into nursing homes caring for the elderly and sick, as the state of New York did, and it’s like pouring gasoline on a fire to put it out.

Back to the state of Kansas, nearly three-quarters of the deaths from COVID-19 in the state of Kansas have been in three counties, Johnson (93), Wyandotte (87), and Sedgwick (28). That’s 208 out of 284 deaths or 73.2%. Johnson and Wyandotte counties are in the Kansas City area, and Sedwick county is Wichita.

If you combine all of the cases of the four counties along the southeastern border of the state of Kansas: Cherokee, Labette, Montgomery, and Chautauqua, 176, there aren’t as many cases as Johnson, Wyandotte, and Sedgwick counties combined have deaths.

The total population of Johnson, Wyandotte, and Sedgwick counties combined is 1,283,872 and they are contained within 1,645 square miles or 780.5 people per square mile.

The total population of Cherokee, Labette, Montgomery, and Chautauqua counties combined is 75,408 and they are contained within 2,540 square miles or 29.6 people per square mile. Montgomery County is the most populous of those four counties with 32,120 people in 651, or 49.3 people per square mile.

The point I’m getting to is that most of us here in the 4-state region of Kansas, Missouri, excepting the Joplin area, Arkansas, and Oklahoma are already naturally isolated from each other. Let’s stop calling it “social distancing.” There’s nothing social about avoiding your friends and relatives.

Let’s stop the fear-mongering in this area. We do not have the population densities of Kansas City or Wichita, therefore we have different circumstances. If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. If you do not want to wear a mask, do not wear one. Do not verbally abuse anyone who is doing the opposite of what you are doing. Do not mask-shame people for not wearing a mask. People who aren’t wearing a mask have valid reasons.

That’s the way I see it.

Links used for COVID-19 data. All population and city square mileage data is from Wikipedia.

COVID-19 Cases in Kansas

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page for COVID-19

P. S. The best thing to do if you are in public and you want to avoid getting this virus is to wash your hands every chance you get. You should probably wash them more frequently than you do anyway. When I worked for Amazon, I watched a guy walk out of the stall and back onto the floor without washing his hands after dropping a deuce. Go ahead, order something from Amazon, and remember what I’ve told you here. You’re welcome.

P. P. S. If you’re wearing your mask under your nose, what’s the point? You’re welcome again.

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