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Maligning the dead

September 1, 2020

Over 100 million Americans have diabetes. A similar number have hypertension. That doesn’t sum to two hundred million, because there is significant intersection between those groups. Still, figure half of American adults have one or the other or both. Those are chronic conditions, and most who have them live normal lives for many decades. A 65 year-old man with diabetes and hypertension, who neither smokes nor has high cholesterol, has a life expectancy just over 14 years. (In the UK — I didn’t find such handy table for the US, but doubt the number is much different.) That can be quite a bit of life left. Enough to see a new grandchild into the world and nurture them until high school.

And so quite a loss, if that individual catches Covid-19, and his lungs go south, and he dies. It is true that those four factors — male, 65 years old, diabetic, and hypertensive — significantly increase the likelihood that a Covid-19 infection will turn severe. He still died from the infection, not merely with it. Excess death statistics clearly show the causal direction and the magnitude of deaths.

Given the large number of Americans who have such conditions, along with others such as obesity or heart disease, it is hardly surprising that the fraction of Covid-19 victims without any of those is small. It takes some ugly combination of callousness or deceit or stupidity to use that as excuse to sweep those deaths under the rug. It is particularly vile when a public official does so, one who shapes our response to this epidemic. In normal times, that would be a scandal in itself.

Next to that, deceitfully doctored video seems almost ordinary. Sadly, that now barely rises to the level of footnote.

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