How bias takes hold

One word at a time.

Calling COVID-19 China Flu? That’s a potent example.

Language matters. Here in Massachusetts, there are now two fatalities from coronavirus. In both cases, their advanced age as well as the fact that they had underlying conditions was reported.

This is the sort of thing that reassures the young and healthy. But for those of us who can’t fall back on the innocence of youth or robust health? It is increasingly unsettling. And not so very different from the ‘did you smoke’ question that those of us with lung cancer are so often asked.

Bias. About to be put to practice in extremis, as it becomes necessary to make hard choices as to who gets an ICU bed and a ventilator.

Sharing the age and comorbidity status of victims of coronavirus only underscores the growing argument that certain lives are less worth saving than others, an ugly notion any way you spin it.

As someone who is an old hand at surviving incredibly poor odds, I pay scant attention to statistics. And I warrant that if I become ill with coronavirus and am provided supportive medical care, I may survive this as well.

Hopefully I will never have to find out.

2 responses to “How bias takes hold

  1. Yes!!👈🏼✊🏼❤️

  2. Diseases traditionally were named for their discoverer, their origin (e.g., swine or bird flu), or their initial location (e.g., Spanish flu was publicized first in Spain though probably shd be called Allied Forces flu since epidemic spread might have been there earlier, Lyme disease). Since the origin vector is uncertain (e.g., bats?), to me the logical name should be the Wuhan coronavirus (not just Chinese) unless an earlier epidemic location can be found.

    Interestingly, at this point most cases in Philadelphia are in people age 20-39. If that demographic became the national trend I wonder what would happen if we renamed it the “Generation Y virus”?

    Best hopes,

    Craig

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