Numbers And An Unknown

Today I want to go over some numbers that I feel tell quite a story. I will conclude with the X factor that the Biden administration is currently solving for.  If I take some poetic license along the way I will blame it on the fact that I was not a math major. 

The Virus

I follow the 14 day rolling average of new infections very closely. On the surface it would appear to have contained good news the last few days.  As of this writing the percentage has fallen by about 30%.  That tells me the Christmas-New Year wave has peaked.  However the average of new cases over those same four days is 161,242.  That is slightly larger than the population of Alexandria, Virginia.  I’m certainly not ready to sound the all clear yet!

In the last few days America has passed the 25 million mark in total infections. We still account for about 20% of the global cases with less than 5% of its population.  Is that what the former president meant by America first?

I really don’t follow the death numbers very closely because I realize that short of death this pandemic can cause major problems for an individual and their family. 21st century Americans like to use 9/11 as a standard to measure tragedies against.  The coronavirus is killing more Americans on a daily basis than died in 9/11 most days in recent weeks; sometimes on all seven days.

We have lost well over 420,000 in just over a year. It depends on which source you use as to whether we surpassed the 405,000 mark by Biden’s inauguration.  That number is at least anecdotally significant in that it is the total number of Americans who lost their lives in World War II.  Basically Trump’s incompetence killed more Americans in a single year than the combined Axis forces did in the almost four years of World War II.

Janet Yellen

Monday the Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary by a vote of 84-15. Yellen is arguably the most well qualified Treasury nominee in American history.  That led me to wonder who could have possibly voted against her.  Not surprisingly they are all Republicans and here they are: John Barrasso of Wyoming, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, John Boozman and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven of North Dakota, Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, James Risch of Idaho, Rick “The Fifth” Scott of Florida, Richard Shelby and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama along with Dan Sullivan of Alaska.

Ten of the fifteen (Barrasso, Boozman, Cotton, Cruz, Hoeven, Lee, Paul, Risch, Shelby and Sullivan) voted to confirm Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy and Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education back in 2017. Perry had campaign for president promising to shut down the Department of Energy if he became president.  The main mission of the Department of Education is public education in America.  DeVos had spent her adult life fighting public education.  Don’t be so quick to excuse the other five (Blackburn, Cramer, Hawley, Scott and Tuberville); none of them were in the Senate in 2017.


I was among the cynical who felt that the main reason the Trump administration was uncooperative with the incoming Biden team during the transition was because they wanted to hide their incompetence (along with burying evidence of it and other transgressions many of which were criminal). Less than a week into the Biden administration and I’m looking like a visionary.

The federal government doesn’t know how many vaccine doses it has or has had. Elementary school arithmetic and high school level bookkeeping – not accounting – are all the necessary skills to maintain an inventory.  Apparently that was too much to ask of Trump and all the, “Best people” he assembled.

Just how bad were these people and more importantly how steep is the incline the Biden team is confronted with? The numbers don’t look good and the legacy of Trump lives on.

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