A Moral Panic. A Year Later

The CDC’s new advisory recommending school children wear masks moved me to revisit the CDC data on COVID-19, deaths and demographics. I found some interesting things. Governments have been thinking about this thing all wrong.

So far, throughout the entire period of COVID-19, 287 people aged 0-17 have died where COVID-19 was listed on the death certificate. For those aged 18-29, 2,162 have died officially from COVID-19. Those deaths are tragic. But there were other conditions associated with many of these cases. The question is always whether a person dies from SARS-CoV-2 versus with SARS-CoV-2.

For example, for those aged 0-24, 36 of them were hypertensive, 108 were diabetic and 222 were obese. Add another 326, 512, and 913 respectively for those aged 25-34. For these two age categories combined, 309 died of injury, poisoning, or other adverse event. They also tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. That means, all combined, half of those who died from COVID-19 also had contributing conditions not caused by COVID-19, conditions that put them at greater risk of death when infected by COVID-19. There is good news here: It is rare for children and younger adults who do not also suffer from hypertension, diabetes, or obesity to die from COVID-19.

There’s more. Of the 4,902 persons whose death certificate listed COVID-19 as a cause for those aged 0-34, 2,153 also listed influenza and pneumonia on the death certificate. That’s and not or. Has the CDC recommended people wear masks to avoid influenza and pneumonia in the past? I thought there was little or no influenza this year. Something about viruses take turns.

To be sure, there is some overlap in these statistics. A person could die COVID-19 while also suffering from influenza, pneumonia, diabetes, and obesity. But when you start adding up the numbers, excluding the myriad other conditions associated with COVID-19, it doesn’t appear that COVID-19 is playing a very large role in the deaths of younger Americans.

Yet the CDC tells those in public schools to continue wearing masks until they get vaccinated. “Get vaxxed or stay masked” is the slogan. But why hasn’t this been the case for influenza all these years? Moreover, how do we know it wasn’t influenza that killed hundreds of people and not COVID-19? All those people whose deaths were attributed to influenza or pneumonia in past years—tens if not hundreds of thousands over the last decade or so—were they tested for SARS-CoV-2? No? How do we know they didn’t have a coronavirus? As I reported here last year at the beginning for the pandemic, coronaviruses aren’t new. They circulate every year.

There’s more, of the 566,114 persons whose death certificate listed COVID-19 as a cause, for 259,793 of them, were other conditions listed as contributing to death? Yes. Influenza and pneumonia. In other words, 45 percent of those reported to have died from COVID-19 also died from influenza and pneumonia. Why aren’t those classified as such? Add hypertension, diabetes, and obesity and you begin to see that SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t kill a lot of healthy people.

Consider those 55+ years of age: 238,878 who died with COVID-19 also had influenza and pneumonia, and 105,372 were hypertensive, 82,385 were diabetic, and 15,621 were obese. Again, there is overlap, but comorbidities were present nonetheless, and, in most of these cases, these conditions are avoidable. People live unhealthy lifestyles and the state believes this justifies limiting the freedom of healthy individuals, shuttering business, undermining education, and damaging emotions and psyches.

Children rarely get sick and die from COVID-19 and the state compels those in public school buildings to wear masks. Influenza kills more children than COVID-19 every year, but children and teachers are never required to wear masks during flu season. We watch scores of people die from viruses over the years and yet governments have not required masks, lockdowns, and social distancing.

Yea, I know, don’t give them any ideas. But where in the hell did they get the ones they’re working with now?

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

One thought on “A Moral Panic. A Year Later”

  1. In 2019, roughly 2.8 million Americans died. The median age of death for men was 77 and for women was 81. Using the CDC’s own website, I have regularly calculated the median ages of death from covid and it is always identical to the aforementioned figures. By way of contrast, the median age of death from the Spanish flu(a real pandemic) was 35.

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