Is Excess Mortality a good way to measure the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic?

One thing that has frustrated me and many others throughout the two-year pandemic has been the lack of reliable statistics. There are many sources for many statisticsm none of which seems inconsistent with others is there common agreement on how to measure and present certain statistics.

One suggestion is to to use “Excess Mortality”. Here’s how the Economist defines it:

You look at the recent past to find an average for how many people die in a given country in a typical year, count the number of people who died during the pandemic years, and subtract one from the other.

What’s incredible is that the Economist’s database estimates that global excess mortality is abour 20 MILLION! While it has its limitations, it provides an important metric worth considering.

Beware the Ides of March

“Beware the Ides of March” – This phrase from William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, has become one of the most quoted lines in history. But do you know what the “Ides of March” is, other than the 15th of March?

What exactly is “the Ides of March?” The phrase comes from the ancient Roman calendar. The Romans did not number each day of a month from the first to the last day. Instead, their calendar was based on the phases of the moon. Each month was divided into sections that ended on one of the first three phases of the moon: new, first quarter, or full.

A priest was assigned to observe the sky, and his observations were used as the basis of the calendar. Because the number of days between each of the phases of the moon was not consistent, the number of days of each month was not consistent. The Romans counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones, the Ides, and the Kalends.

The Day of Nones was the day the moon reached its first quarter phase and was the 5th or 7th, nine days inclusive before the Ides.

The Day of Ides was the day of the first sighting of the full moon. The Ides occurred on the 13th for most months except March, May, July, and October, when it occurred on the 15th. The Ides of each month was sacred to Jupiter, the Romans’ supreme deity. The Feast of Anna Perenna was also celebrated on the Ides of March.

The Day of Kalends was the day of the first sighting of the crescent moon. It was the first of the following month. It was also spelled calends, and the English word “calendar” is derived from this word.

The Ides of March was most well-known before Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC as the deadline for settling debts. In more modern times, it was the day taxes were due in the United States from 1918 to 1954. Many events have occurred on March 15, but because of the phrase in the play, many people associate “the Ides of March” with ominous events.

How to bully-proof your kids for life

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One of the most debilitating things that can happen to a child and his family is bullying. Read How to bully-proof your kids for life. You’ll learn from Stella O’Malley and her years of counseling bullies and her target. You can find her book here: Bully-Proof Kids: Practical Tools to Help Your Child to Grow Up Confident, Resilient and Strong.

Gettin' a little hungry?

If you’re a cook, or have someone else in your family attending to it, there are some clever suggestions in this article, People Are Sharing The One Small Ingredient That Makes The Biggest Difference In Their Go-To Dishes.

Where's everybody going?

You may not know that United Van Lines creates an Annual National Movers Study showing who is moving where.

In their 45th annual survey, some interesting results although maybe no surprise given all of the conversation about migration resulting from the migration. You’ll note that the legend indicates the the blue states had more people moving IN while the yellow states have more people moving OUT. Gray states show only a nominal difference.

I’ve added an interactive map where you can select the state and year and see whether people are moving in … or out. California, as an example, shows almost a 20% gap with that many more moving OUT rather than In. In contrast, Tennessee who’s almost 25% more people moving IN than moving OUT. (When you examine a particular state, you’ll also see the primary reasons for moving both inbound and outbound.)

Here’s another finding: