Maryland By The Numbers

Get wisdom, get understanding;
    do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Proverbs 4:5-7

As we all process how to respond to the coronavirus and the reopening of our states, we all need an extra dose of wisdom. This is especially true for those of us leading organizations, businesses and churches. One way to avoid living in fear is to look at the actual numbers instead of the media putting their spin on the numbers. No one reads a boring headline, so nearly all news spins data in the most inflammatory and fear-filled way possible. Their income depends on it.

Different states are experiencing different realities. New York and New Jersey are by far experiencing something different than the rest of the country. This is why when we look at numbers, we should look at local numbers, not national ones.

So here are some of the numbers for Maryland. I think after seeing these, you’ll be encouraged. Fear is a liar, and fear has been lying to most of us about the risks and dangers of this virus. If you want to look at them for yourself, find them here.

The total population of Maryland is about 6 million people. We’ve only had about 41,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus. I believe that in time we’ll discover that many more people had this virus and just didn’t have very bad symptoms so they were never recorded in the numbers. But for now, we’ll work with “confirmed cases.” Even still, these numbers mean that 0.7% of Marylanders have been confirmed as having the virus.

Let that microscopic number sink in. The numbers in Maryland are astronomically low.

So, of the 0.7% of Marylanders that have been confirmed as having the virus, who has died from it?

In the 0-9 years old category, no one has died from it. In the 10-19 years old category, one has died from it. Again, let that sink in. For school-aged kids who actually got the virus, almost no child in Maryland died from it. Are we still not going to reopen schools in the fall?

Parents, you can all take a deep breath. The chances of any child dying from this virus is astronomically low. They are more likely to die as they walk to school, ride in the car, or ride the bus–all things that you never think twice about.

Of the 20-29 year olds that got the virus, 0.18% died from it. That means 99.82% of twenty-year olds in Maryland who got the virus recovered just fine. Are we still closing colleges for this in the fall? Again, they are more likely to die in the car on the way to college than from coronavirus.

These numbers continue to stay ridiculously low in the next two age groups. For the 30-39 year olds who got the virus in Maryland, 0.3% died from it. For the 40-49 year olds who got the virus in Maryland, 0.7% died from it. The chances of you dying in a car accident are somewhere around 0.9%, yet we drive everyday.

If you are under 50, are not immunocompromised, and are still freaking out about dying from COVID-19, you are not understanding the facts. You are living in fear. Part of you living in wisdom is knowing the facts. In Maryland, 96% of the deaths from coronavirus were people 50 and above.

For those 50-59 years of age in Maryland who got coronavirus, 2% died from it. That means if you are 50 to 59 and get the virus you have a 98% chance of recovering. You’re still way more likely to die from cancer or heart disease. We aren’t really in the danger zone until we get above 60. In Maryland, 89% of the deaths from coronavirus were of people 60 and up.

For those 60-69 years of age in Maryland who got coronavirus, 6% died from it. The decade of our 60s is a time of increased risk for nearly all diseases. This virus is no different. But even if you get it, you have a 94% chance of recovering from it.

For those 70-79 years of age in Maryland who got coronavirus, 15% died from it. So your chances of getting the virus and recovering from it are 85%. Most people in their 70s would love those kinds of percentages for nearly every other disease they face, like cancer, heart disease, stroke, etc.

As we would expect, the 80+ demographic is most at risk. Again, this is true for every disease and every condition that exists. The 80+ folks have already gone past life expectancy numbers and are vulnerable to this disease. In Maryland, of those who got coronavirus, 30% died from it. So if they get it, they have a 70% chance of surviving it.

What these numbers mean to me is that for everyone under 60 years old, we need to stop living in fear. Your kids will be fine. You will be fine. Doomsday predictions are nonsense. The chances of you dying from this virus are incredibly low.

The point for those of us under 60 is not to try to avoid getting the virus. The point now is trying not to spread it to our more vulnerable populations. We need to stop thinking, “How can I avoid getting the virus?” Living through the lens of this question will unnecessarily paralyze your life. Instead, we need to be mindful of not spreading it to older populations and at-risk populations. But herd immunity is our friend, whether that comes from a vaccine or from getting the virus through contact. We all need anti-bodies to this thing and we need them yesterday.

I completely understand the fear of spreading it to loved ones as my parents are in the 70-79 category. We need restrictions in place to reduce the spread of this virus to our older populations. But we cannot keep living in fear of this virus. Know the numbers in your state. Know the numbers in your county. Stop listening to numbers that are dramatically skewed by New York and New Jersey. Stop feeding your fears with news that gets more clicks and more money the more fear they foster.

Depth of Insight

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 

Philippians 1:9-10

Occasionally in the Paul’s letters, he writes out his prayers. This is one of the prayers he prays for the believers in the city of Philippi.

His prayer is that their agape love would abound more and more. But how would this unconditional, Christ-like love grow in them? He prays that their love grows in two areas: knowledge and depth of insight.

The word here in the Greek for knowledge isn’t gnosis, which is the standard word. The word here is epignosis, which means “knowledge gained through first-hand experience or relationship.” Paul didn’t want them to amass more information and think that was going to grow their love. What they needed was personal relationship with Jesus, first-hand encounters with the Holy Spirit that helped them gain more knowledge about who God is and what He is like.

The Greek words that form the phrase “depth of insight” are the words for “all or every” and a word that means “perception, understanding or discernment.” Literally it could be translated “every perception.” The root of this word for “perception” is used when Jesus tries to tell His disciples that He is going to be crucified.

While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it…

Luke 9:43-45

The disciples did not grasp it. They could not understand it. They couldn’t perceive the reality of it. This is the same word used in Paul’s prayer when he prayed for the Philippians to have “insight.” The way that they will grow in their love for God and for other people is if they can grow in their understanding, depth of insight, and perception of the truth.

Love is not the fullness of itself unless it is combined with understanding and truth. We’ve seen enablers perpetuate the addiction of their loved ones and call it love. We’ve seen domestic violence victims protect their abuser from criminal prosecution and call it love. Everything that feels like love and looks like love isn’t always love. We need our love to abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight in order for it to really be love.

And we see this happen on so many issues today to well-meaning Christians. In their attempt to be loving, they leave behind knowledge and depth of insight. In doing so they limit their ability to be “able to discern what is best,” what is “pure and blameless.”