Moscow is a dangerous place

Today’s news states that 700 people a day are dying in Moscow, twice the normal rate for this time of year, due to smog from pollution and the raging wildfires around Moscow. To put that in perspective, Moscow has a population of 10.5 million and a death rate of 14.2/1,000 as of 2009. Thus, for a 365 day year, we expect 408 deaths per day (14.2/1000 x 10.5 million / 365).

Compare that to New York City, population 8.4 million (metropolitan area 22.2 million), and a US death rate of 8.0/1,000. Combining those numbers, New York averages 184 deaths per day (486 in the metropolitan area).

As a physicist, I am trained to evaluate numbers and statistics to gauge the impact of a given effect, usually by applying some basic physical principles. In this case, finding the average populations and death rates puts the statistic, 700 deaths per day, in perspective. Not only are atmospheric conditions nearly doubling the death rate, but the rate starts out nearly 2X higher in Moscow than in the US. So you see that compared to living in New York City, Moscow can be hazardous to your health.

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