The Cause of Death

The Cause of Death September 14, 2020

“The mortality numbers for the USA are grossly inflated.”

The comment above was posted in a recent comment thread by a well-known Trumpie Troll. The denial of the nearly 200,000 deaths in the US attributed to the virus has two purposes:

  1. To deflect blame from Trump for his initial denial, then dismissal, and finally his mishandling of the crisis by refusing to follow the guidance of his own advisors.
  2. To blame Democrats for creating the “hoax” inflating the mortality numbers to attack Trump and harm his re-election chances.

The primary claim is that the vast majority of the deaths attributed to the virus occurred in elderly people, and people with existing health issues. So, those people were going to die anyway, and it’s wrong to attribute their deaths to the virus.

Let’s say a person with terminal cancer becomes infected with the virus and dies. How much longer would they have lived if they hadn’t caught the virus? A year? A week? Even if it’s only a day, is it correct to say that the virus was not the cause of death?

If the virus is “not guilty” of causing the death of a person with a terminal illness, then if a gunman had killed them instead, it would not be murder, because…hey, they were gonna die anyway. The cause of death in both cases, according to such thinking, is the illness. That is absurd.

Here’s another little factoid to consider: More than half of the US population has one or more health issues that increase the danger of dying if they are infected by the virus. Each case is different, and the increased risk varies over a wide range. How should these risks be weighed in determining the cause of death if they catch the virus and die?

But that is just muddying the water. Whether the virus or a bullet shortens the life of a person, that is the cause of death. Any other conclusion cannot be supported on any logical grounds.


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