COVID-19 Deaths By Race:  It Would Seems That Somebody Has Done Something About Racial Justice

The COVID-19 pandemic has gone on for so long, it’s almost hard to remember the ambush phase of the epidemic in early 2020, nearly two years ago.  At the time the ambush was centered in Wuhan, a few cities in Spain, a few cities in northern Italy – and metropolitan New York.  At the time there were not only no vaccines, but also no masks, and hospital workers were forced to keep re-using the same masks and wearing garbage bags in place of hospital gowns. 

And at the time, here in Metro New York, deaths were disproportionately concentrated among Blacks and Hispanics.  I remember seeing a media image of all the NYPD employees who had been killed by the disease.  It was almost all brown faces, something I know is not indicative of the composition of the NYPD as a whole.  Why?  Poverty?  City of New York public employees are not poor.  Lack of access to health care?  City of New York public employees have the best health care of anyone, aside from $billionaires who can pay for it on their own.  There was some discussion that those whose ancestors came from sunnier climes don’t make enough vitamin D when living farther north, and vitamin D deficiency made Covid-19 worse.  Others believed the answer was obvious – it’s because White people are racists.

Now it is almost two years later, and I happened to click on the Demographics Trends tab to the left on the COVID-19 Data Tracker page on the Centers for Disease Control website.  

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/index.html#datatracker-home

Things have certainly changed.  And it could be argued that Republican politicians and conservative influencers and media, deserve the credit – or the blame, depending on how you look at it.

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As this chart shows for the U.S. shows, early in the pandemic, during the ambush phase when it was mostly here in New York, Blacks and Hispanics were much more likely to die than non-Hispanic Whites. Ever since May 2020, however, Native Americans have been more likely to die than other racial/ethnic groups, making this yet another Eurasian disease that has been disproportionately deadly for them.

What might be surprising is that starting in early September 2020, the death rate for non-Hispanic Whites has been higher than for either Blacks or Hispanics, almost all the time.  This was a period when the disease was better understood and behavior – willingness to wear masks, socially distance, and get vaccinated – became more important than whatever one’s situation was pre-pandemic.

Might the White death rate catch up eventually?  Actually, it already has.

For those COVID-19 victims for whom race/ethnicity has been recorded, non-Hispanic Whites account for 62.3% of the total who have died – despite accounting for just 60.1% of the population.

Blacks and American Indians also account for a higher share of COVID-19 deaths than their share of the total population, while Hispanics and Asians have been less likely to die.

And while the early days of the pandemic had many people fleeing cities for suburbs and rural areas, since early August 2020 those living in rural areas have been more likely to die of COVID-19 than those living in metropolitan counties.

The biggest difference in the risk of dying of COVID-19 hasn’t been race or, for that matter, sex, but rather age.  Those over the age of 65 have had a substantial risk of dying of the disease, while those under the age of 40 have had almost none.

While Whites account for a higher share of COVID-19 deaths than their share of the total population, for any given age group the reverse is true.  Take my age group, age 50 to 64.  Whites account for 67.6% of the total population, but just 49.0% of the deaths.  Meanwhile Hispanics account for just 13.3% of the population and 24.5% of the deaths.

If Whites account for a lower share of the COVID-19 deaths in every age group, how can they account for a higher share of the COVID-19 deaths overall?  Because Whites are concentrated in those at-risk older age groups, compared with other races/ethnicities, while the other races/ethnicities are more prevalent among the young.

If the United States were an open minded, honest hearted country, everyone would have acknowledged that we faced terrible, lesser of two evils choices.  Simply going about our business without the shutdowns, masks and other measures would have meant far more deaths, mostly among older Americans, a disproportionate share of whom are White.  But as it is later born Americans have paid and will pay a terrible price to protect them, with regard to their economic well-being, mental health, and educational outcomes.  

Because most of the older people dying from COVID-19 may have only lost a few weeks, or months, or years before they would have died anyway of something else, the years of life saved are limited.  I believe that in the end the total years of life lost by those born later as a result of measures to contain COVID-19 — due to greater poverty, substance abuse, social isolation, educational disadvantage — will exceed the total years of life lost to the disease.  

That is over and above the pre-existing reality that those born after 1957 have been dying earlier than prior generations as it was, due to cumulative economic, social and family disadvantages, to the point where total U.S. life expectancy fell three years in a row before COVID-19 even hit.

Nonetheless, that was a choice that had to be made.  I was shocked to see, in comments on Wall Street Journal articles early in the pandemic, several people openly writing (or rather anonymously writing) cull the herd!  The old and the sick are burden on the rest, they asserted, and the United States would be better off with fewer of them.  Thus showing that at least a minority of those born after 1957 have a similar idea of generational equity as the majority of those born earlier.  This attitude was and is immoral.

Nonetheless, the economic, social, educational and psychological harm done by shutdowns, social distancing, business closings, and remote learning are real.  So the later-born have been sacrificed, once again, to benefit the generations that at every point in their lives, on average, have made themselves the top priority.  This harsh tradeoff should have been honestly acknowledged from the start.

So let’s get back to racial justice.

In the mid-point of the pandemic, “liberals” and “progressives” asserted that White racism would mean that Whites got all the vaccines first, leaving “people of color” to face a continued risk of early death until much later.  Since “people of color” had been more likely to die in the first year of the pandemic, according to this argument, Whites should wait and not get vaccinated until their death rate caught up, or supply was no longer an issue.

In fact, I did wait until there was plenty of supply.  At first, vaccines were limited to those 65 and over, and those with pre-existing conditions.  Then those over 60 – I was 59 ½ – and those with pre-existing conditions.  I was told to get vaccinated, since I have high blood pressure and take pills.  But to my mind since I take the pills, I don’t have high blood pressure, and that doesn’t count.  I waited until the vaccines became widely available in drug stores, and everyone over age 50 was encouraged to get vaccinated.

Meanwhile, it seems that everyone over the age of 40 in greater Greater Park Slope had a pre-existing condition, often traveling far and wide to get the vaccine sooner that I did.

Yet there were people of another political persuasion that seem to have done all they could to help the White death rate catch up.

We know that many of those who consider themselves Republican, or Conservative, or anti-Government believe, or want to believe, that the entire COVID-19 pandemic is a hoax and vaccines are at best a money-grubbing fraud and at worst a danger.  That the disease is no worse than the flu, or something that could be easily cured by easy and cheap home remedies.  And the shutdowns, masks, social distancing and other rules are nothing more than the government using a mild disease as an excuse to take away people’s freedom, cause economic distress and prevent Donald Trump from being re-elected.

And we know that there were Republican politicians, and conservative media, that sought personal advantage by pandering to those views.  Casting doubt on the severity of the disease, the need to wear masks or socially distance, and the value relative to the cost of vaccinations.  Taking these stands got them publicity, and in some cases money and power.

By now we’ve all heard the stories of conservative media commentators and leaders dying of COVID-19 after refusing to get vaccinated, and in some cases recanting their prior position and urging their followers to get vaccinated as they were dying.

https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/medical-advances/584077-more-and-more-conservative-media-leaders-are

I don’t think much of their wisdom, but I admire their integrity.  Once people had died after not getting vaccinated because of their influence, facing COVID-19 without the benefit of artificial immunity and assuming it wouldn’t be so bad, it would have been immoral for those influencers to sneak off and get vaccinated themselves.  At that point they had to take the same risk.

There aren’t any vaccinated employees of Fox News are there?  Someone in that organization getting vaccinated would be like a “progressive” coming up with a pre-existing condition and jumping the line ahead of poor Black and Latinos, back when vaccines were scarce.

In any event, by not jumping to the front of the line – indeed by refusing to even join the line – and influence others to do the same — it would appear that “conservatives” and “Republicans” have in fact acted in a way that increased “racial justice” after all.  I just hope those dead conservatives don’t end up voting in the next election.

All this information is just sitting there on the CDC website, and yet almost all of this has remained among the unsaid. You don’t hear that Whites have been more likely to die than “people of color” overall, because of the influence of their media and political parties. You don’t hear that the later born will end up even worse off in the long run in the aggregate due to the measures that had to be taken to slow the pandemic. You don’t hear that rural people and Native Americans have been hit harder than urban dwellers and larger and more politically important minority groups.

You don’t even hear people ask why COVID-19 accounts for such a large share of the “excess deaths” in the U.S., and does that mean that all the expensive health care that other people didn’t get during the past two years wasn’t necessary after all.

Political and media types, and any others all over the world, saw a global tragedy and asked “how can I take advantage of this?” If it doesn’t fit someone’s narrative, you aren’t going to hear about it.

10 thoughts on “COVID-19 Deaths By Race:  It Would Seems That Somebody Has Done Something About Racial Justice

  1. Deets

    Hi Larry,

    It seems like you did not respond to most of my comment below. I understand if you are busy, etc. But I thought I would follow up just in case you missed it. Please see the two comments below posted on Jan 31. I list several questions in there, and I noticed you did respond just about wages, but I was asking (for all these things, not just wages, but debt, the substance abuse claim, unions/average Joes, etc.)

    If I understand correctly, at least when it comes to who’s at fault, it seems you are saying it’s mostly circumstances but it was topped off by greed, but again, on who’s part? The average Joes and Janes? The unions who represent them? Labor? The political class? The economic elites? Everyone?

    I am repasting it below.
    I understand the reasons for some, but for others I am more doubtful. In theory, someone barely getting by but hoping for a pension, and ultimately gets one, underfunded or not (assuming we are in that past moment) would be potentially in the line of fire, but they likely also saw the costs of what they wanted. Does it make sense to get upset with employees who pushed for pensions, or regular taxpayers (some of whom might have been struggling)? I guess what I am saying is a strongly suspect generation greed has a big class element. The average Joe’s and Jane’s of that Era played some part, certainly, but I suspect that I cannot blame most of them too much, as many were just trying to get by. If you can lay out who exactly is in Generation Greed (maybe I am reading you wrong, and you place more at the feet of average Joes and Janes), I would really appreciate it.

    I am a very pro-union and class oriented person, and I believe unions can do horrible things (see police unions and teachers unions on school reopening). I just feel very uncertain about putting the blame an entire generation, especially when many/most of them were likely just trying to get by.

    Also, in that first link, you mention
    “Those born 1930 to 1957 inherited the world’s wealthiest country, saved little, borrowed much, and cashed it in.”

    But, in another section, you mention how they were significantly underpaid, corporations pocketed the difference, and lack of consumer spending causes massive and permanent recession. Should they have not consumed and just recessed? Is it the fault of their habits, or how they were paid by corporations? Did they not save enough and just borrow, were they not paid enough in the first place, both?

    NOTE
    I will note here it seems you are saying it is the fault of corporations for not paying people enough so they could maintain consumer spending WITHOUT running up debt. Is this right? So it’s not the generations fault per se, it at least started with corporations/business?

    Regarding consumption and “forced savings”
    Prior generations had their short-term consumption curtailed by “forced savings” in mortgages that were paid off, employer-provided pensions, and whole life insurance policies. This has been replaced by easy access to high-interest debt, gambling, and addictive substances as part of what I call the “just enough rope to hang themselves” economy.

    I disagree with some of this. I don’t believe substances play much of a role at all. Was whole life insurance ever mandated? And are mortages/housing as an asset/equity/investment/savings vehicle a good idea at all, especially as a forced savings mechanism – I personally don’t think so. I also believe that people can often save themselves without being forced. There needs to be mechanisms in place to support that, good pay, corporate contributions (the difference between 401k and pension is significantly the cost for the business, companies get to give you a lot less. But if 401ks had real employer match, support, etc. It would be different)

    You mention later how proceeds of cash out refis were blown on short term consumption, but I don’t see evidence of this beyond the fact that Americans consume a lot, especially compared to income, but that may be more a symptom of high costs and low income compared to bad attitudes about consumption (especially when it’s likely not even their fault). Was consumption much lower in the past? Not consumption compared to income and costs (because this is affected by how people are paid and costs) but actual consumption?

  2. Deets

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for your comment (I can’t seem to reply to it).

    I have actually read that article already, at least you’re updated one that you published in 2021 for the 2019 numbers.

    I am asking specifically for a layout of the term you use, ‘Generation Greed”.

    Who are these people? Can you define them? Common traits, industries, etc?

    What exactly did they do? They underfund/push off pensions, ignore infrastructure, but what else? And by what mechanism?

    And why did they do this? I understand the reasons for some, but for others I am more doubtful. In theory, someone barely getting by but hoping for a pension, and ultimately gets one, underfunded or not (assuming we are in that past moment) would be potentially in the line of fire, but they likely also saw the costs of what they wanted. Does it make sense to get upset with employees who pushed for pensions, or regular taxpayers (some of whom might have been struggling)? I guess what I am saying is a strongly suspect generation greed has a big class element. The average Joe’s and Jane’s of that Era played some part, certainly, but I suspect that I cannot blame most of them too much, as many were just trying to get by. If you can lay out who exactly is in Generation Greed (maybe I am reading you wrong, and you place more at the feet of average Joes and Janes), I would really appreciate it.

    I am a very pro-union and class oriented person, and I believe unions can do horrible things (see police unions and teachers unions on school reopening). I just feel very uncertain about putting the blame an entire generation, especially when many/most of them were likely just trying to get by.

    Very best and thanks.

    1. Deets

      Also, in that first link, you mention
      “Those born 1930 to 1957 inherited the world’s wealthiest country, saved little, borrowed much, and cashed it in.”

      But, in another section, you mention how they were significantly underpaid, corporations pocketed the difference, and lack of consumer spending causes massive and permanent recession. Should they have not consumed and just recessed? Is it the fault of their habits, or how they were paid by corporations? Did they not save enough and just borrow, were they not paid enough in the first place, both?

      I guess I am just unsure about your position here. I too am deeply critical of debt (government by debt), btw.

      Prior generations had their short-term consumption curtailed by “forced savings” in mortgages that were paid off, employer-provided pensions, and whole life insurance policies. This has been replaced by easy access to high-interest debt, gambling, and addictive substances as part of what I call the “just enough rope to hang themselves” economy.

      I disagree with some of this. I don’t believe substances play much of a role at all. Was whole life insurance ever mandated? And are mortages/housing as an asset/equity/investment/savings vehicle a good idea at all, especially as a forced savings mechanism – I personally don’t think so.

      You mention later how proceeds of cash out refis were blown on short term consumption, but I don’t see evidence of this beyond the fact that Americans consume a lot, especially compared to income, but that may be more a symptom of high costs and low income compared to bad attitudes. Was consumption much lower in the past? Not consumption compared to income and costs (because this is affected by how people are paid and costs) but actual consumption?

      Best

    2. larrylittlefield Post author

      Average income for most people peaked for those born between 1930 and 1957. It has been going down since, starting with high school dropouts, and then high school graduates, then college graduates, then those with graduate degrees, and then everyone but the .01 percent — and if the zero percent interest policy ends not even then.

      Much of that was circumstances, but it was topped off with choices to benefit the present (now the past) at the expense of the future (now the present), in government, business, and even many families.

  3. alphaandomega21

    Dear Larry

    Many thanks for this post and hello from the UK!

    As regards vaccines and Covid 19 you may be interested in the following if I may comment.

    I have had my fair share of vaccines, including polio I believe. I used to think vaccines were of some use until, at 60 years of age in 2020, I researched properly. I changed my mind.

    Covid 19 is the ‘flu, dressed up as a monster to scare people, re-branded if you will. This helps big pharma etc, control the populace and make more money.

    The ‘flu is the internal toxicosis of the body, mainly via urea, partly due to metabolism of food and partly due to the many poisons in our environment which can and do enter our bodies in the air, food and water. The ‘flu cannot be transmitted to someone else as it is individual to each person.

    Unless your blood is given to someone in a blood transfusion, for example.

    Injecting poisons such as via vaccines merely adds to the toxicosis problem. Vaccines have never been of any use, it is merely that constant and persistent ‘advertising’ persuaded people that they were of use. The various deaths and harm have been well-documented over the decades. It is being documented now.

    Vitamin D deficiency is the true pandemic due to indoor working and living away from the sunshine which, if we do the right thing things, will give us vitamin D (free!). Big pharma etc. are not keen on free as they don’t make much money out of it.

    Vitamin D levels drop in the winter months due to reduced sunshine levels and as any gains in the summer months are depleted.

    Lack of vitamin D causes rickets among other things. Polio was merely rickets re branded again for big pharma to make money. The polio vaccine was pointless. A good dose of vitamin D such as was once given via cod liver oil in a spoon (a disgusting taste I understand). You can now get this in capsule form of course.

    Vaccines are neuro-toxins, if there is anything in them at all, as are most big pharma drugs. Therefore they are at best pointless.

    If your immune system is in good order then by and large you will tolerate a poisonous vaccine. If weakened you will suffer various side effects. If your immune system is very poor you may die.

    Boosting your immune system with vitamin D can go a long way to protecting you against the toxicosis, but vitamin C is very good as an anti-oxidant to help flush the toxins out of your system. By and large you should be able to gain your vitamins etc from good, untainted food. Highly processed foods will not help.

    I have seen the statistics on Australia since February 2020. These show a close correlation between Covid cases and vaccination. It is abundantly clear the vaccines are causing the case numbers rise, as would be expected. Look at other statistics and you will no doubt see the same correlation.

    I have done much on Covid 19 etc., here is my link to my summary. That gives access to the various other issues. I cover the statistics in the UK and USA and more recently those in Australia.

    https://alphaandomegacloud.wordpress.com/covid-19-summary/

    The following explains the variants. These are merely fear techniques to fool the gullible.

    https://alphaandomegacloud.wordpress.com/2021/12/02/various-variants-covid-19/

    The following explains the media fear campaign.

    https://alphaandomegacloud.wordpress.com/2021/09/26/fear-is-the-key/

    It should be noted that fear tends to ‘freeze’ the body’s immune system from functioning correctly and can stop people doing sensible things. Like avoiding having foreign bodies injected into their systems.

    As regards vaccinated/unvaccinated I gather the goal posts keep changing so unvaccinated currently means not fully vaccinated. This means people who have had vaccines are lumped in with those who have not had recent vaccines. Therefore the good people of the USA are being duped into having something nasty put into their bodies.

    Unless they like playing Russian roulette with their bodies of course. But then that is both sad and mad.

    Increase in deaths is down to the vaccines as usual. I recommend you avoid them like the plague.

    As regards reasons of variance of symptoms, if any, between those who are vaccinated the problem lies in not knowing what exactly in each vial; sadly people will sell nothing for something and the vial might contain only saline, it is impossible to tell without testing each vial.

    Please note I do use humour as necessary on posts and pages to lighten the mood and help make the points.

    Really rather late to say this perhaps, but may I take the opportunity to wish you a very happy new year.

    Kind regards

    Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

    Please excuse the nom-de-plume, this is as much for fun as a riddle for people to solve if they wish.

    1. larrylittlefield Post author

      A crime is unlikely without a motive. I’m not a person who lacks skepticism as to what the powers that be put out, and am aware of the political uses of fear, especially in regard to war. But I have no reason to doubt what the medical professionals told me about vaccines. Nothing in the history of health care has provided more bang for the buck — especially in the U.S. where we get so little bang for the buck. To me the fact that they were able to create a vaccine this quickly is one of the few good things that came out of the pandemic.

      I got mine, and I got my booster, and I’m glad I did. Your immune system isn’t prepared for a novel disease it has never seen before. That’s what made it such a risk.

      Again, I don’t just believe what I’m told. Early on there was a mask shortage. Rather than say “there is mask shortage, please reserve them for the health care workers and make your own” they said “masks don’t work.” They decided they couldn’t trust people to do the right thing. I made my own out of old Mets “free shirt Friday” T-shirts.

      I guess the anti-vaxxers are in good company. John Roebling, the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge, was a multi-genius. He got his foot crushed in an accident just before the start of construction, and refused to take the advice of doctors. He believed drinking lots of water cured everything. He died of lockjaw. His son, Washington Roebling took over as chief engineer and finished the bridge.

    2. alphaandomega21

      Thank you Larry for your reply.

      The motive is no doubt many things. Mostly I believe it is down to that useful tool, but dreadful master called money. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

      I am sorry you believe what medical professionals tell you about vaccines. In the UK I trusted them about my cancer diagnosis when it reality it was sodium nitrite poisoning which can lead to nitrosamines a far more toxic neuro-toxins, hence my facial palsy and side effects.

      I meant what I wrote and you should take it seriously if you care about your body and others. Your home mask may help keep out toxic fumes and other nasties but not the internal toxins of others, so it will be little, if any, value to you. It may make you feel better i suppose, but I wouldn’t bother.

      Your immune system is perfectly ready to deal with the internal toxins your body produces if you follow my advice, but will object to you being silly and having additional toxins injected into your system.

      But if that’s what you want to do, that’s your affair with death. Death will eventually win one way or the other. Not sure what John Roebling has to do with it.

      But then I looked him up just now. What a surprise. He was German, strictly Prussian, and whilst the Germans are good at many things, they can be very dim. Particularly the Prussians who are rather fond of bashing people up.

      So he wasn’t very bright with the lockjaw issue. As it is the Nazi funded mainly German companies pushing vaccines now and failing as usual to do any good what so ever, we should not be surprised.

      The Nazis were also keen on lebensraum or ‘living space’ and killing of some so-called useless people with poison vaccines is just up their street. History is littered with their work. Do check these matters out as your life and others depend on it.

      Unless of course you love money more than people and your own life.

      Kind regards

      Baldmichael

  4. Deets

    Hi,

    Can you please point me to a post of yours outlining
    A) exactly WHO generation greed is (I’m sure many people in that generation were trying to get by as average paid teachers in a system where the only positive was an pension, even considering it was underfunded
    B) what exactly generation greed has done (with details, sources, if possible)

    Best.

    1. Deets

      Also, in my humble opinion, you are significantly overblowing the cost of the covid measures, especially considering that something was (and much more could have been) done to protect those harmed by it. As a 24 year old, I’m glad we took some measures, trade offs were evaluated. For me, life is worth a lot, but I did my research on the trade-offs and I understood that richer older people would be saved. And I’m happy they were. The cost to the less fortunate does not need to be large. The fact is a wave of covid especially that early would have indeed harmed the worse off more, because they are less likely to have healthcare, poorer health etc.

    2. larrylittlefield Post author

      You can start with the posts linked here.

      Sold Out Futures By State: English Version

      What I know the most about is state and local government. You can find a whole page devoted to how much is spent, where the money comes from, here vs. there and perhaps where you are, over time.

      The Most Recent Public Finance Analyses, Charts and Tables

      But if you want to know my views on the macroeconomic situation, you can read a few of my annual posts on the subject — and follow the links to see what other people have written.

      Federal Reserve Z1 Data for 2019: The Debt-Driven Party Had to End Eventually, Coronavirus or No Coronavirus

      I don’t argue we shouldn’t have done what we did. I would argue that there should be more acknowledgement of who paid the price, and perhaps their wellbeing ought to be more of a priority in the future — when it comes to allocating all the future losses associated with our entire society going bust.

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