06 February 2023

6.5 million people are
readers, carers … and
on the move in Ukraine

Within a month of the war beginning in Ukraine, about 6.5 million people had been displaced internally

Patrick Comerford

This blog has reached the monumental landmark of 6.5 million hits. The 6.5 million mark was passed earlier this morning (6 February 2023), and it came as a pleasant delight.

When I began blogging, it took until July 2012 to reach 0.5 million hits. This figure rose to 1 million by September 2013; 1.5 million in June 2014; 2 million in June 2015; 2.5 million in November 2016; 3 million by October 2016; 3.5 million by September 2018; 4 million on 19 November 2019; 4.5 million on 18 June 2020; 5 million on 27 March 2021; 5.5 million on 28 October 2021; and 6 million seven months ago on 1 July 2022.

This means that this blog is getting half a million hits in a seven-month period, somewhere above 71,000 a month, or up to 2,400 a day. In recent days these figures have been exceeded on occasions, with 4,532 hits on Thursday (2 February 2023) and 4,520 hits again on Friday (3 February 2023).

With this latest landmark figure of 6.5 million hits, I found myself asking: what do 6.5 million people look like?

Within a month of the war beginning in Ukraine last February, the UN confirmed that about 6.5 million people had been displaced internally in Ukraine, and by May over 6.5 million people had fled Ukraine.

The hospital waiting list in Britain reached 6.5 million last summer, according to the NHS, and things are only getting worse. Figures also show at least 6.5 million people are providing unpaid care in the UK.

About 6.5 million people in the US are living with an intellectual disability, and another 6.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease.

UN figures confirm that there have been more than 6.5 million Covid-19-related deaths globally since the pandemic began, and 6.5 million people die each year from diseases related to air pollution.

The population of Ireland exceeds 6.5 million: the Republic of Ireland (5 million) and Northern Ireland (1.9 million). Countries with populations of about 6.5 million people include Nicaragua, Kyrgyzstan and El Salvador. Cities with about 6.5 million people include Santiago (Chile), Surat (India), Madrid (Spain) and Suzhou (China).

Glin Castle in Co Limerick was reportedly on the market recently with an asking price of €6.5 million, and Rod Stewart recently paid €6.5 million for a new apartment in n the Lansdowne Place development overlooking the Aviva Stadium.

I have said so often before that this is not a ‘bells-and-whistles’ blog, and I still hope it is never going to be a commercial success. It was never designed to be so.

I decline advertising and commercial sponsorships, I accept no ‘freebies,’ and I endorse no products. Even when I am political, mainly about war and peace, racism, human rights and refugees, I refuse to declare my personal party preferences when it comes to voting.

I continue to resist commercial pressures, I have refused to receive books from publishers and I only review books I have bought myself. Without making too much a point of it, I value my independence so much that I refuse the offer of coffee when I return to a restaurant I mention … as journalists like to be reminded, there is no such thing as a free meal.

The half dozen most popular postings on this blog so far have been:

1, About me (1 May 2007), almost 33,000 hits.

2, The Transfiguration: finding meaning in icons and Orthodox spirituality (7 April 2010), almost 30,000 hits.

3, ‘When all that’s left of me is love, give me away’ … a poem before Kaddish has gone viral (15 January 2020), over 24,000 hits.

4, A visit to Howth Castle and Environs (19 March 2012), over 16,000 hits.

5, Readings in Spirituality: the novelist as a writer in spirituality and theology (26 November 2009), over 16,500 hits.

6, Raising money at the book stall and walking the beaches of Portrane (1 August 2011), about 12,000 hits.

When I think of 6.5 million hits, I think of 6.5 people, and today I am humble of heart rather than having a swollen head.

Figures show at least 6.5 million people are providing unpaid care in the UK

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