How Can a Linux Have a Load above 5 with a High Percentage of CPU Being Idle?

Problem scenario
You are using Linux, and you run top, and you see this:

top - 21:38:04 up 14 days, 12:12,  1 user,  load average: 5.30, 5.10, 4.90
Tasks:  54 total,   15 running,  39 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
%Cpu(s):  11.7 us,  13.7 sy,  0.0 ni, 74.6 id,  0.0 wa,  0.0 hi,  0.0 si,  0.0 st

How can the load average be so high with so much CPU being idle?

The server has many CPUs. Having a load above 1 is completely normal for a healthy server without being overloaded if the server has many CPUs or many cores to its CPU. A server load of 1 is the max for a server with a single-core CPU. A server with 8 CPUs can have a load under 8 and be operating under its maximum capacity. A server with 20 CPUs could have a load of 5.3 and a tremendous amount of CPU in idle.

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