The #1 risk factor for dying of COVID: Poverty

Everyone has got it wrong!
Forget race, forget age, forget even vaccine status. Just forget all of the culture war BS that the media has been feeding you for 18 months.
If you really want to know the leading cause of death by COVID, just look in your wallet. If it's empty, then you are 'high-risk'. Simple as that. No, I'm not exaggerating.

The team had a hunch going in. They expected that the percentage of the population over 65 in a given region would best predict its number of COVID deaths per million. They also suspected that GDP per capita would be a factor, and that high-income regions would have lower mortality rates. Other variables they thought might be in play included the share of doctors per 1,000 people, the size of the average household, the proportion of urban to rural areas, and perhaps even the average temperature, since colder climates may be more conducive to the virus’s spread.

As it turned out, none of these variables emerged as good predictors of COVID deaths. But another variable did: a country’s level of pre-COVID income inequality was by far the best predictor of the COVID death rate. The same finding emerged when the researchers studied variations in COVID death rates across U.S. states: higher death rates tend to occur is U.S. states with higher pre-COVID income inequality.

“That is a striking, unexpected finding,” Rebelo says. “All those other variables didn’t really matter when pre-COVID income inequality was included.”

Boom! Let that bombshell sink in for a moment. Are you a liberal who blames Trump and the unvaccinated for why the pandemic in the United States was so much worse than almost everywhere else? You are wrong!
Are you a conservative that blames immigrants and liberals for not letting you take ivermectin? You are wrong!
Are you old and blame the kids for partying on a beach? You are wrong!

Here, the model offers some strong implications: it shows that the death rate among low-income Americans would have been a staggering 30 percent lower if this group had the same COVID case-fatality rate as high-income people.
...Even when the case-fatality rate is modified to be the same for both groups, the model predicts that the COVID death rate still would have been 23 percent higher for low-income people than for high-income earners. This is because low-income people are much more likely to be exposed to COVID on the job.

OK. You might be thinking "This is just one study."
Well, guess what? There are other studies that show the same thing. This one only studied New York.

Being old, of course, is a major risk factor no matter your ethnicity, place of origin, or income.
But income alone, a key indicator of class, was the most influential characteristic. Lower-income neighborhoods saw an addition of nearly 28 deaths per 100,000, increasing the average death rate by more than 10 percent, from 201 deaths per 100,000 to 229. Again, these factors are independent of each other.

nycovid.jpg

These data also confirm what we already knew was true. We are NOT all in this together. The richer you are, the easier it is to protect yourself. If you have enough money, you don’t have to work in a meatpacking factory or a warehouse or an assembly line or a nursing home. If you are rich enough, you can buy isolation, instead of being forced into the fray.

Gosh, you'd think the media would at least mention the leading cause of death by COVID, wouldn't you? Nope. What we get is a never-ending list of reasons to blame the person next to you as opposed to looking at the systemic problems that existed even before COVID.

affluent-at-lower-risk.png

So what are the reasons why inequality is such an overwhelming cause of death?
It started at word 'go', when the rich got tested for COVID and the poor didn't.
Then there is the even more obvious reasons.

Uninsured individuals have worse self-reported health and may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. In addition, lack of insurance limits access to health care and other hospital facilities, and can increase exposure and vulnerability to this disease. Finally, ICU resources are essential for treating severe cases of COVID-19. Timely access to ICU services and medical facilities can reduce death rates. Better treatment and cures due to access to health resources can also control the spread of the disease and hence reduce case rates.

Almost everything here can be fixed with Medicare For All.
One last point that needs to be mentioned, you might be one of those that wants to discount and dismiss the huge number of people who've died of COVID.
You are probably wrong too.

A new study estimates that the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. is more than 900,000, a number 57% higher than official figures.
...
The analysis comes from researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, who looked at excess mortality from March 2020 through May 3, 2021, compared it with what would be expected in a typical nonpandemic year, then adjusted those figures to account for a handful of other pandemic-related factors.

Why would they undercount deaths? Because they are poor.

OK. I hate to have to repeat myself, but it looks like I must do it again.
If the media wants you to hate other poor people, they are lying to you. If one political party is pushing a conspiracy that involves poor people, they are lying to you.
If you want to know if something is important, the rule of thumb is a) if the media is talking about it, then it isn't important, b) if the media is ignoring something, then it might be important.

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Blame CB for keeping me engaged on this subject.
He got me looking at web sites, and that led me down the rabbit-hole to something that is actually interesting.
And even more important, does NOT involve one group on C99P blaming/accusing another group.
None of us are rich here. So there's no point in fighting over this, unless you aren't for M4A.

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@gjohnsit Our poverty leads to people who cannot see a doctor, cannot afford medicine, can only go to an ER to spend an hour getting stabilized, and they will die from ordinary flu, and this extraordinary virus.
Put a disease on an unhealthy population that lives on processed food, because that is all they can afford, and the deaths will soar.
The diabetic that never once got insulin, the high cholesterol guy who never got medication, the guy with allergies who couldn't buy an epipen...They had no weapons, could not put up a fight.income that provides a good diet.
I am actually surprised our numbers of COVID deaths aren't higher than reported, given our population has limited access to health care, and an environment that makes it impossible for their health to improve.
I live in a poor, rural area of low population. Tests? Not early, for sure. And the test were junk.

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@on the cusp

I am actually surprised our numbers of COVID deaths aren't higher than reported

See the last blockquote in this essay. It might be really high.

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CB's picture

@gjohnsit
But I did say that this pandemic would make America a fitter, more healthy and younger place. /s

The EFFECTIVE final results of the SARS-Cov-19 pandemic (I don't want to be falsely accused of theorizing about conspiracies) has been a 'culling' of the 'undesirables' - the aged warehoused in substandard facilities, the homeless, the poor, the inadequately nourished, the overweight and others who are afflicted with related chronic diseases who cannot get timely health care. All of these factors puts these very people at risk for dying in this pandemic - these are the dreaded 'comorbidities' that kill when contracting COVID-19.

But, the ONE thing that is in common with all these factors that put one at risk is as gjohnsit states - POVERTY. It also can be stated that this also applies in a global context.

Is the Great Reset now upon us? Scrub that. We aren't going to get into any conspiracies here.

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@CB
I didn't mean it that way.

It's just that I promised not to post on this subject anymore, and then I went on and posted two more essays.
So before anyone said "Hey, you said xyz" I would explain myself. That's all.

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CB's picture

@gjohnsit
The snark tag was meant to cover the complete heading.

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they only call it class warfare when we fight back? I'm sure their ears hurt whenever poverty is mentioned. It makes the 1% uncomfortable to talk about poverty because in talking about it, it leads to the next step, doing something about it. Much better to have health care by "Go Fund Me" in the medical Hunger Games.

Then there's the housing Hunger Games, the education Hunger Games, the job Hunger Games and the food Hunger Games. No wonder ear buds are so popular, Lalalalala I can't hear you.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Snode

That’s pretty much what we’re seeing with the working class having to be exposed to the Rona while the rich and upper class got to work from home. We’ll see shutdowns again when the rich feel threatened.

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

Poverty is the big factor.

Breaking it down, we can see that 2 other criteria, associated with poverty, also tell the tale:

Autopsies done on bodies who died from Covid found that an acute shortage of Vitamin-D was present in more than 1/2 the deaths, This study is a year old. Not too surprising.

and that obesity was another prevalent common feature.

The somewhat health conscious members of society tend to know about Vitamin D and also do a somewhat better job of weight control.

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NYCVG

@NYCVG
It apparently also has a big connection to cancer cases.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

CB's picture

@Fishtroller 02
It apparently also has a big connection to cancer cases.

Ivermectin, a potential anticancer drug derived from an antiparasitic drug
January 2021

Highlights

  • Ivermectin effectively suppresses the proliferation and metastasis of cancer cells and promotes cancer cell death at doses that are nontoxic to normal cells.
  • Ivermectin shows excellent efficacy against conventional chemotherapy drug-resistant cancer cells and reverses multidrug resistance.
  • Ivermectin combined with other chemotherapy drugs or targeted drugs has powerful effects on cancer.
  • The structure of crosstalk centered on PAK1 kinase reveals the mechanism by which ivermectin regulates multiple signaling pathways.
  • Ivermectin has been used to treat parasitic diseases in humans for many years and can quickly enter clinical trials for the treatment of tumors.

If you can accept vitamin D as a prophylaxis I don't understand why you are so adamant that ivermectin, derived from a plant, could not also be a multi purposed drug?

I've noticed a lot of the studies that use the medicinal properties of plants come from Chinese researchers. China has had tremendous results from using TCM along with universal vaccinations with the traditional killed virus vaccine. They have had a paltry 4,636 deaths in a country 3 1/2 times as populous as the US which has suffered 660,594 deaths and rising. China only isolates the infected - the traditional method of dealing with pandemics - not everybody.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the treatment of COVID-19 and other viral infections: Efficacies and mechanisms

Abstract

COVID-19 has remained an uncontained, worldwide pandemic. While battling for the disease in China, six Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recipes have been shown to be remarkably effective for treating patients with COVID-19. The present review discusses principles of TCM in curing infectious disease, and clinical evidence and mechanisms of the 6 most effective TCM recipes used in treating COVID-19 in 92% of all of the confirmed cases in China....

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@CB

I don't know why it bothers you that I just won't come over to your opinion, but you can relax about trying to convince me.

Thanks.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

Cassiodorus's picture

as the solution for the poor.

Uninsured individuals have worse self-reported health and may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. In addition, lack of insurance limits access to health care and other hospital facilities, and can increase exposure and vulnerability to this disease.

In all likelihood, the "uninsured" don't want to pay premiums in order to meet the same fate the "insured" are seeing: medical bankruptcy. And oooh limits access to health care! Here in the Rogue Valley very few people are receiving health care unless they are dying of COVID-19 because the resources are all being devoted to the pandemic.

I agree with your diary -- just thought I ought to point that little tidbit out.

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"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

I would venture to say, based on articles in KY, that low science education also plays a part. Even when free clinics offering up Covid vaccines are set up right in the heart of poverty stricken areas (like west Louisville), the residents are hesitant because of lack of medical knowledge and distrust. Some of the distrust comes from years of our nasty treatment of blacks in particular being used in less than honorable medical trials, and some of it comes from online fear mongering.

That being said, I think low science knowledge is not limited to low income areas. We see the high and mighty exhibit it every day.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

@Fishtroller 02 @Fishtroller 02 @Fishtroller 02 is widespread.

The strata of society that is gym going and food conscious is less likely to get sick and die. Maybe never have the fit and lean body of dreams, but this group is more likely to be exposed to a decent amount of info that not everybody is familiar with.

OTOH, the prime steak and bourbon and cigar diets of some wealthy people, laugh in defiance of the medical opinion that avoiding smoking and red meat is how to eliminate colon cancer.

comes down to improving of odds and luck. risks known and unknown

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NYCVG

@NYCVG

I'm 70 and get my exercise chasing monarch butterflies around my yard!

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

@Fishtroller 02 but, not much. Because then I can't sleep. "not much," specifically, is 3 or four ounces with dinner. Vodka martini cocktail for dinner out with friends. or a margarita.

Gradually and reluctantly, the animal rights and health issues around red meat won out for me. Also, my husband's passing, (the king of the grill,) played a factor.

Maybe a steak for my 80th Birthday, 13 months away.

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NYCVG

@NYCVG

I had to stop red wine too after years of enjoying it. Mostly beer now and then the occasional bourbon. I do live in KY so it's hard to pass up.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

CB's picture

a rich nation and a poor one. I wanted to also put in China but all I got was a flat line along the bottom extending out to 75. A few deaths a week didn't even register.

Add: India has 3 1/2 times the population of the US to add insult to injury.

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/covid-vaccinations-vs-covid-death-rat...

COVID-19 vaccinations vs. new COVID-19 deaths.png

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researchers were able to collect the required detail on US Covid-19 fatalities. However, we won't ever see that unless there are researchers looking for it; so, this report is a good start.

We should be careful not to conflate income inequality with poverty or being poor. Income inequality explains much as Piketty exhaustively detailed in his tome and Pikett and Wilkinson covered in The Spirit Level. Unfortunately I didn't/haven't purchased either book and therefore don't have access to the best data on income inequality. GINI appears to be too rough and/or incomplete for definitive analyses, but should be okay for preliminary analysis. Low GINI (more equal) and low Covid deaths fits for some state and doesn't fit for others. CT, LA, and NY all have high GINI and high covid deaths, but DC has the highest GINI in the US, ranked 51st, but covid death rank is only 17. The fit may be better for countries -- US a high income inequality and high covid deaths.

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@Marie

We should be careful not to conflate income inequality with poverty or being poor. Income inequality explains much as Piketty exhaustively detailed in his tome and Pikett and Wilkinson covered in The Spirit Level.

Very true, although this might be diving into the weeds further than is necessary.
Inequality has been poorly studied by economists until recently. Which is a shame because historically extreme inequality causes more social unrest than general poverty.

Neo-classical economists (i.e. mainstream economists) don't even acknowledge class, much less the negative effects of extreme inequality, so the only analysis of this will be coming from the fringes.

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Now just about everyone dying is unvaccinated, and the vaccine is free. So the single greatest unifying condition for mortality is lack of vaccination. Poor people might well be the least vaccinated, I'd assume so, but rich or poor, the vaccine almost always stops people from dying.

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