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Leave it to the creative minds at Podium Ink in Mount Ayr to bring a degree of levity to the coronavirus outbreak.
Brad Elliott, co-owner of the graphic arts business, has designed a T-shirt logo that reads “Mt. Ayr – Social Distancing Since 1855.”
Like other businesses, Elliott said Podium Ink is seeking ways to offset the loss of revenue from the marketing of shirts and other merchandise associated with already canceled special events.
Bringing a smile to everyone’s face during this difficult time is a bonus, he added.
[Podium Ink’s “social distancing” T-shirts are available to order at deadlinenine.etsy.com.]
Aside from the humor, however, even Elliott may not have fully appreciated how apt his logo turns out to be.
As is now common knowledge, in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, public health experts have urged all Americans to practice “social distancing” by keeping at least six feet of space between individuals. Many states have even imposed strict statutes to enforce those recommendations.
People across Ringgold County, as Elliott’s logo suggests, can practice social distancing almost by default.
According to population statistics from the 2010 Census, Ringgold County averages a population density of 9.5 individuals per square mile.
Riley Township, in the far southeast corner of the county, averages only two individuals per square mile. Seven other townships average three per square mile.
Compare those densities with those in the most populous locations in the state.
Polk County averages 800 people per square mile. Scott County averages 374, followed by Linn County at 304, Blackhawk County at 235 and Johnson County at 231.
Not by coincidence, four of those top five counties lead the state in the number of COVID-19 cases, with Linn County topping the list with 243 of the state’s nearly 1,600 confirmed cases so far
On a national scale, the number of coronavirus cases in New York State has topped 190,000, more than 104,000 of which have come from New York City alone.
Again, not by coincidence, New York County (better known as Manhattan Island), has a population density of 72.17 thousand individuals per square mile.
The three counties/boroughs immediately adjacent to New York City round out the top four most population dense locations in the nation: Kings County – 37.34 thousand per square mile, Bronx – 34.17 thousand, Queens – 21.24 thousand.
And population density seems more important than total population in relation to the virus outbreaks. For example, at 10.6 million people, Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the nation, but it has a density of 2.4 thousand people per square mile. As of last report, Los Angeles County had fewer than 10,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Based upon population density statistics alone, it’s little wonder Ringgold County, along with the other least population-dense counties in the state and states in the nation, has been mostly spared from the widespread outbreak of the virus.
And while it’s not yet time to let down their guard, for once Ringgold County residents can take some solace in their “social distancing” from the rest of the world.