I brought this up in a Metafilter thread recently, and was, if not shouted down, at least soundly spanked. While there have been 321 deaths thus far as a result of SARS, the World Health Organization has recently mentioned that there are over 3000 children dying every day from malaria at the moment, in Africa alone.
That’s a lot of dead babies, friends.
I will hasten to note that I do think SARS is a worry, and is not solely a media-homunculus, shoved into the spotlight to terrify and entertain us until the next Big Scary Thing comes along. It is a Big Scary Thing in its own right, and will hopefully be contained before it becomes Captain Trips.
Nonetheless, I thought a few illustrations might help to put things into perspective. If we set SARS Patient Zero have occurred on February 12 of this year, these are the way the numbers look as of April 28 2003, according to the WHO. Each tiny black dot is a human life.
Let’s have a look at some more happy fun numbers!
You be the judge of where the real story lies. One hopes that SARS does not reach such massive proportions, and if it does not, equally hopes (with resignation that it won’t happen, of course) that some attention will turn to the adults and children (who in Africa are dying at a rate of one every 30 seconds) suffering from malaria.
[I am indebted to vendian.org for the building blocks of the dot images, and this for inspiration.]