01 September 2020

Six Percent

Apparently some brain-dead right-wingers have come up with a new piece of asininity rivalling the claim that Barack Obama was not born in the US territory of Hawaii—it seems that 94% of the people recorded as dying from the novel coronavirus actually didn’t. Don’t get me wrong—they’re still dead as a result of getting the virus—it’s just that they died from (say) respiratory difficulties caused by the virus rather than from the virus alone. Hence, by this logic, they shouldn’t be counted as COVID-19 deaths, because the virus was merely a contributory cause.

I wonder how that would work out in court. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury I submit to you that my client is not responsible for the death of the victim. My client merely pushed him over the edge of the cliff—it was the victim’s violent collision with the rocky terrain at the bottom of the canyon that was the proximate cause of his demise.” Or “my client only pulled the trigger; it was the bullet that penetrated his skull that caused his death.” Although nothing in the legal system would surprise me all that much, I kind of doubt that these sorts of argument would fly. Or even crawl. Why they should be tolerated in the case of a public emergency is beyond me.

Have these people ever looked at a death certificate? (My roommate said they probably never even looked at a newspaper clipping—which may well be true these days.) People who die of AIDS or breast cancer or diabetes often are directly killed by something brought on by their condition, and that may well be reflected in the death certificate—though I’ve seen some strange ones in the course of research. There was somebody who died from “acute melancholy” for example, or the simple word “unknown” listed for a man whose mangled body was found at the foot of a cliff. (These are from memory; they just happened to catch my imagination when leafing through the records on some other quest.)

Even if the immediate cause of death was an underlying condition aggravated by the disease, as apparently some of the walking braindead are using as an excuse to downgrade the death-count, that doesn’t mean the disease wasn’t responsible for the death. Again, the defense “I didn’t kill the man—it was the heart attack he had after I pushed him over the edge of the cliff that did him in” would probably not be taken seriously in court. (I could be wrong on that one.)

If the argument is that a disease that merely shortens a person’s life doesn’t count as a cause of that person’s death, then there’s no point in even assigning a cause of death. We’re all going to die sooner or later—all I did when I pushed the guy over the cliff was shorten his life a bit. It’s hardly worth worrying about.

Do right-wingers ever think about what they’re saying? Indeed, do right-wingers think at all? Or is it all guts and feelings with them. I suppose it doesn’t matter in the long run. Heart-attack, respiratory disease, COVID-19—the rocky terrain at the bottom of the canyon is waiting for us all.

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