As we head towards the US Day of Independence, I think back on this time last year and try to remember what I was most concerned about with regard to my personal health and safety over the summer.
There is a standing joke among my family and friends of trending ways to be injured or die over the dog days, headlined of course by a fear of imminent death by shark. Needless to say the odds of dying from a shark attack are 1 in 3,748,067. Across the globe, there were only 5 fatal shark attacks in 2019. Yet every summer at least one person in our group refuses to enter the water because they watched Shark Week in April.
Second on our list is necrotizing fasciitis from swimming in a lake or pond. A more likely scenario than a shark attack, but at 1,200-1,900 deaths per year in the US, it is still considered a rare disease and nothing to be concerned about if you are a relatively healthy individual.
A new contender last year was a woman who died while doing yoga on a paddleboard. Cause of death, drowning. And yes, drowning should be at the top of our list of summer safety concerns, yet sharks always seem infinitely more terrifying.
Then of course there is a litany of seasonal risks—fireworks, heatstroke, bicycle and motor-vehicle crashes, among others, not to mention choking on a hot dog or slip-‘n-sliding. LMGTFY will reveal which of the two is more dangerous than sharks.
This year we face something entirely different, with COVID 19 casting a long shadow on our lives and the ways we celebrate the holidays. None of us imagined that visiting elderly family members would place lives at risk, or attending a baseball game would not even be an option. We have yet to determine just how many people will die as a result, but at over half a million deaths by COVID 19 to date, it far surpasses all other concerns of health and safety.
As for my plans July 4th; 2020, I will risk swimming with sharks, eat some hotdogs and stay away from paddleboard yoga. Most importantly I will be wearing my mask when I venture into public places.