10 numbers sum up stunning scope of COVID-19 shutdowns
In the six months since the Bay Area locked down in response to the coronavirus, we have been overwhelmed by a ticker tape of numbers that illustrate how COVID-19 has fundamentally changed our world. The bench for statistics is deep, but here are 10 that we think sum up the stunning scope of the pandemic.
The sobering number of people killed by COVID-19 worldwide six months after the World Health Organization declared the pandemic. If we had to pick one number to represent the tragedy on a global scale, this is it. So far. It’s more than the population of San Francisco. More than 14,000 Californians are included in that tally, among the 192,000 deaths in the U.S., by far the most in any country.
That’s how much the state’s unemployment office has paid out to unemployed Californians since mid-March when the shutdown began. Putting that into perspective: Just last week, the state paid an average of $678 million in benefits every single day — a mind-blowing 962% jump over the same week of the Great Recession in 2010.
The phrase “COVID-19” didn’t exist a year ago, but a search in Google this past week returned more than 6 billion results. And, since you asked, that’s more than results for Trump (1.36 billion), BTS (747 million), Beyonce (711 million), NFL (432 million), Obama (315 million), Biden (228 million) and Kobe (214 million) combined.
That’s the number of businesses that have closed in the San Francisco and San Jose metro areas between March 1 and July 10, according to data from Yelp. And the crushing blow: More than half of those closures are permanent. Bay Area businesses were hit particularly hard, ranking second and fourth nationally for business closures per 1,000 businesses, alongside the tourist hotspots of Honolulu, Las Vegas and Kahului, Hawaii.
You’re looking at the year-over-year increase in median single-family home prices in the five-county Bay Area for the month of July. Unemployment is at record highs, thousands of businesses have closed, but this is the Bay Area, right? So the housing market is still humming. Median home sale prices shot up to near-record highs, inventories are historically low and many home hunters are looking for more space, and especially pools.
Traffic at the Bay Area’s three major airports has nosedived this much in the first five months of the pandemic where records are available. The number of passengers that traveled through San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco from March through July of 2020 dropped to 5.9 million compared with 38 million during the same period in 2019. Brutal, but there are signs the numbers are slowly starting to creep back up.
That’s the number of hand sanitizer products that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended you stop using right away. No doubt you’ve noticed an explosion of such products at your local pharmacy. The FDA’s blacklist includes sanitizers that contain methanol, which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and life-threatening if consumed. Other products on the list do not have enough alcohol content to be effective.
That’s how many inmates were set to be released from California prisons to relieve overcrowding as the virus swept through the state prison system. Another 11,800 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and 59 have died, as San Quentin and Avenal prisons suffered two of the largest outbreaks anywhere in the country. Since the pandemic began, California’s prison population has dropped 18% to about 100,000 inmates.
It didn’t take long for San Jose-based Zoom to establish itself in the pantheon of companies like Google whose names are repurposed into verbs. The now-omnipresent video-conferencing site grew 30-fold in the number of meeting participants using its platform each day, from 10 million in December to 300 million by April. Despite some setbacks over security concerns, its stock price also more than tripled to nearly $400 a share.
That’s the number of minutes Californians have watched Gov. Gavin Newsom “brief” us on the pandemic – nearly one and a half days in total. Since mid-April, over the course of at least 35 live-streamed news conferences, the governor has called for us to shelter-in-place, updated us on case counts and deaths, implemented new standards for counties to reopen, and left phrases like “meet the moment” and “localism is determinative” ringing in our ears.