For months, the headlines have kept a running tally of the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. This week, Texas marked a milestone; 10,000 COVID-related deaths. It's the fourth state in the country to hit that mark; joining New York, New Jersey, and California.
"So it becomes less about number and more about issues," Greta Davis, Ph.D. said. "We're all functioning under some significant stress."
The latest news from around North Texas.
Davis is a clinical associate professor at Southern Methodist University's counseling program. She said people view statistics like death tolls through different lenses to cope, and through their own confirmation bias.
"If I believe that it's really not a problem... psychologically, I want to explain that away, or not consider it, or consider it as not being accurate, or not pay attention altogether," Davis said. "And unfortunately, that means we get to having a critical mass of people who are ill before people will actually acknowledge this is a problem."
So what do 10,000 deaths look like? It's more than the population of Highland Park, or Heath. It's a sold-out Dallas Stars game with half of the fans missing. It's roughly the entire undergraduate student body at Texas Christian University.
But 10,000 is just a number until it's personal.
"Until it's you, or your grandmother, or your father," Davis said. "Until you can't deny that this is really happening and it has real consequences."
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.