It’s not uncommon to see armed Americans at the growing number of protests and rallies in favor of re-opening the economy, but one thing I’ve noticed is that some of them don’t seem to be practicing social distancing measures like staying six feet away from people or wearing a mask in large crowds. I find that to be very odd, given that most of us own firearms for self-defense. At this particular moment in time, Americans are more likely to die from the coronavirus than homicide. If you own a gun to protect yourself from people, why wouldn’t you wear a mask to protect yourself against a virus that’s killing more of us than we’re killing each other?
As of Wednesday, there have been more than 47,000 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in the United States since early February (the first coronavirus deaths were believed to have been in Washington State in early March, but two recent autopsies from the San Francisco area showed the deaths in early February were caused by COVID-19). I know there’s a lot of debate about the veracity of the total death numbers, but let’s say that as many one in two of these deaths have been misidentified as coronavirus-related. Now we’re looking at 23,500 deaths in the U.S. from the virus in less than three months. That’s still far more than the 16,214 homicides reported by the FBI in all of 2018 (the last year for which statistics are available).
In fact, while we haven’t reached this milestone yet, at some point in the next few weeks we will have more confirmed cases of the coronavirus than all reported violent crimes in 2018. We’re at about 843,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and for the past few days we seem to be seeing a plateau of about 25,000 new cases reported each day. In 2018, there were 1,245,000 violent crimes in the United States, from aggravated assaults to rape, robbery, and murder. Based on current trends, we’ll have more coronavirus cases than violent crimes about three weeks from now.