Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Death and the Causes Thereof

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 6% of US deaths of patients with COVID-19 have occurred in the absence of known "co-morbidities" -- other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.

Naturally, some persons have interpreted this to mean that COVID-19 is only the "cause of death" for that 6%, and not for the other 94%.

I have diabetes and high blood pressure. If an anvil falls out of the sky and lands on me, was my death caused by diabetes, by high blood pressure, or by falling anvil syndrome?

Obviously there's some room for interpretation on this CDC data. It's certainly possible that some deaths that have occurred in the presence of COVID-19 were actually not primarily caused by COVID-19.

For example, if a guy who's had three heart attacks and still weighs 400 pounds keels over dead while eating a triple cheeseburger after a brisk walk, with no COVID-19 type symptoms (at least yet) but a positive post-mortem test, I think we can agree that it probably wasn't the COVID-19 that killed him. 

Ditto the COVID-19-positive but asymptomatic drunk driver who wraps her Maserati around an oak tree at 110 miles per hour.

On the other hand, isn't it reasonable to assert that if a person has been be-bopping along in reasonably good form, even with "co-morbidities," then gets COVID-19, then gets severe COVID-19 symptoms, then dies in a manner consistent with those symptoms (i.e. pneumonia rather than falling anvils), COVID-19 was at least partially the cause of death?

My mother was 87 years old. She had high blood pressure, and she'd had heart surgery in the past. That's three "co-morbidities" right there.  I expected that at some point in the not terribly distant future, she would die, quite possibly from a stroke or heart attack.

But she didn't. Instead, she contracted COVID-19, went through severe respiratory distress of a type not evident before she contracted COVID-19, and died with -- and, in my opinion, by any rational definition of -- COVID-19.

Are various governments (and entities that report to governments) playing various games with COVID-19 statistics, possibly including questionable "cause of death" calls? Almost certainly. There are incentives to do so, in various directions based on regime attitudes.

The Chinese regime finds the whole pandemic embarrassing, and I'd bet money (if there was any way to find out for sure and settle the bet) that China's 4,634 officially reported deaths are a single-digit percentage of the true figure.

The US regime -- at least the "deep state bureaucratic end of that regime -- on the other hand,  has been working overtime to scare the bejabbers out of us with "DO WHAT WE SAY OR COVID-19 WILL GETTTTTTTT YEEWWWWWWWWW!" talk, and the federal and state regimes are supposedly handing out more Medicare/Medicaid money for COVID-19 diagnoses/death certificates than for others. So there's probably some over-counting going on. But, I suspect, probably not a 19-to-1 differential between fact and claim.

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