In the news · Music

Album of the week: postponed, in favour of live news

For the last six Wednesdays I have been posting “Album of the week” pieces, for reasons explained in the first of them, here. This time last week I was thinking of having a sabbatical (six weeks on, one week off), partly because I couldn’t think of a new album that I wanted to explore. I have been going back through old favourites instead, like Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the tracks” and picking my way through an 8-disc set called “Greatest Hits of the 60s”. The latter contains gems like Joe South’s “Games People Play” and Cher’s “Bang Bang” which you rarely hear on the radio. Keith West’s “Excerpt from a Teenage Opera” made me feel especially nostalgic.

Like most people I have spent more time than usual over the last seven days watching and listening to the news. In my case this means that I am spending a lot less time listening to music. As I noted two days ago, our day-to-day lives have changed immeasurably in the last week or so, leading up to the lockdown restrictions that are currently in place here in the UK. I have been updating and studying the following page on several times a day

When I first checked it last week the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases was just under 250,000. As I type these words that number has just passed 446,000. Further down the page from that headline figure, the site has a table titled “Confirmed Cases and Deaths by Country, Territory, or Conveyance”. This has occupied much of my time, and since I first checked it last week an extra column has been added to the data: “Tot Deaths / 1M pop” (or Total Deaths per million of the population). The Republic of San Marino (entirely surrounded by Italy) has the highest figure in that column (619) and also the highest figure for “Tot Cases / 1M pop” (Total Cases per million of the population). That stands at 5,511, although San Marino’s population is only around 33,000. has another fascinating page recording world population as a whole, here:

I find it compelling. Unlike the Coronavirus page, these figures update in real time, showing the seemingly relentless rise in global population every second of the day. There are over 7.77 billion people on the planet. The figure for population growth so far today (5pm UK time), has just passed 157,000.

I look forward to a time when the Coronavirus statistics do not need constant updating. Whenever that day comes, I suspect that the global population figure will still be increasing at its current rate.



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