Wednesday, October 26, 2022

COVID: An Equal Opportunity Infector

Whites now more likely to die from covid than Blacks: Why the pandemic shifted
SOMERVILLE, Tenn. — Skill Wilson had amassed more than three decades of knowledge as a paramedic, first in Memphis and then in Fayette County. Two places that felt like night and day. With only five ambulances in the county and the nearest hospital as much as 45 minutes away, Skill relished the clinical know-how necessary to work in a rural setting. Doing things like sedating patients to insert tubes into their airways.


The imbalance in death rates among the nation’s racial and ethnic groups has been a defining part of the pandemic since the start. To see the pattern, The Washington Post analyzed every death during more than two years of the pandemic. Early in the crisis, the differing covid threat was evident in places such as Memphis and Fayette County. Deaths were concentrated in dense urban areas, where Black people died at several times the rate of White people.

“I don’t want to say that we weren’t worried about it, but we weren’t,” said Hollie, who described her 59-year-old husband as someone who “never took a pill.” After a while, “you kind of slack off on some things,” she said.

Over time, the gap in deaths widened and narrowed but never disappeared — until mid-October 2021, when the nation’s pattern of covid mortality changed, with the rate of death among White Americans sometimes eclipsing other groups.

A Post analysis of covid death data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from April 2020 through this summer found the racial disparity vanished at the end of last year, becoming roughly equal. And at times during that same period, the overall age-adjusted death rate for White people slightly surpassed that of Black and Latino people.

The nature of the virus makes the elderly and people with underlying health conditions — including hypertension, diabetes and obesity, all of which beset Black people at higher rates and earlier in life than White people — particularly vulnerable to severe illness and death.

That wasn’t Skill.

The virus also attacks unvaccinated adults — who polls show are more likely to be Republicans — with a ferocity that puts them at a much higher risk of infection and death.

That was Skill.

He joined the choir of critics opposing vaccination requirements, his rants in front of the television eventually wearing on Hollie, who, even if she agreed, grew tired of listening and declared their home “covid-talk free.”

So, she said, Skill commiserated with like-minded people in Facebook groups and on Parler and Rumble, the largely unmoderated social networking platforms popular with conservatives.

“We’re Republicans, and 100 percent believe that it’s each individual’s choice, their freedom,” when it comes to getting a coronavirus shot, Hollie said in January. “We decided to err on the side of not doing it and accept the consequences. And now, here we are in the middle of planning the funeral.”

Capt. Julian Greaves Wilson Jr., known to everybody as Skill, died of covid Jan. 23, a month after becoming infected with the coronavirus. He fell ill not long after transporting a covid patient to the hospital. At the time he died, infection rates in Fayette County had soared to 40.5 percent among people taking coronavirus tests. [...]
There are a lot more details in the article. In short, it is saying it was easier for blacks and latinos and people in lower income brackets to die of Covid, because of crowded living conditions. Middle class and upper class whites had an advantage for a while; it was easier for them to avoid exposure. But if they did not get vaccinated, they remained at risk. Over time, they became less careful about exposure. And now, it's catching up with the unvaccinated.

Viruses don't care about your politics, or what you think and what you believe. They care wether you are a receptive host.