What is the cause of death?

  • #26
bobob
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If someone who has hemophilia dies after bleeding to death, we don't say "cause of death: paper cut", we say hemophilia is responsible for the death.
I don't think that would be correct. The proximate cause of death is the paper cut and that could be legally important. Imgine that you know someone with hemophilia and you decide to kill him by giving him a paper cut. I don't think you could be charged with the murder unless the cause of death was ruled to be bleeding to death due to the paper cut and that you knew it would kill him due to his hemophilia. If the cause of death were ruled to be hemophilia, you couldn't be held responsible for that. Hemophilia itself is not a cause of death, bleeding until you lose enough blood to die is. The bleeding would be caused by the paper cut.
 
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  • #27
jack action
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But it can't work that way, and I think you already understand why, since we've discussed it before. Getting or not getting the virus is not an individual choice, so the mitigation efforts can't be either. Your grandmother isn't the only one affected by her choice. In a very real sense, your grandmother and others like her making that choice will rob others of future Thanksgivings. That's why these policies have to be made by governments, not be left to individual choices.
So if an 80 year-old person is in house on fire, we shouldn't go and get her out, because the Covid policy of confinement say we shouldn't for the greater good? The point is that you cannot have a policy that covers every possible cases. People in the action must used their better judgement according to the probability of something bad happening. Yes, it can be acceptable to put the Covid policy aside. And if people are well informed of what is happening, you don't need a policy, people can make the right decisions on their own.

And I'm sure that anyone who is angrily arguing in this thread would change their mind if the well being of one of their children or grand children would be in jeopardy because of a Covid policy. Between a ''someone may get Covid' vs a 'my kid will certainly get...', kids will come first. This is just a good probability analysis. And I'm sure their lives won't have to be on the line, just losing a job, a house, mental health or schooling problems, or the like could be sufficient. No one will make me believe someone will sacrifice their kids for the 'greater good'. And if they are ready to do that, yes, I'm judging them. Don't do that.
 
  • #28
russ_watters
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So if an 80 year-old person is in house on fire, we shouldn't go and get her out, because the Covid policy of confinement say we shouldn't for the greater good?
That's nonsense, Jack. It doesn't work that way and I'm sure you know that.
And I'm sure that anyone who is angrily arguing in this thread....
I've been very dispassionate in this thread, Jack (in large part because I get and often agree with a strong individual liberty position), but I suggest based on the above ridiculous scenario that you aren't.
 
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  • #30
russ_watters
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Agree. That is the point.
Then I guess your point is lost on me. I don't see how a nonsensical example can help us understand how real decisions are made. It looks like a really bad stawman to me, not a useful thought exercise/example.
 
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  • #31
Averagesupernova
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Cause of death is what this thread started with but it appears there is more to it based on the tone we are getting from @jack action .
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@jack action to suggest folks that don't see your point of view would be in favor of letting granny burn up for the sake of holding Covid down is beyond absurd. Probability by definition implies there will be a certain amount of Covid transmission. So, in order to deal with things like Granny's burning apartment we compensate elsewhere by holding off on unnecessary activities. This isn't directly about cause of death but I don't think you ever intended this to be the case from the beginning.
 
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  • #32
russ_watters
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Cause of death is what this thread started with but it appears there is more to it based on the tone we are getting from @jack action .
Yes, that was just an entry point into arguing that the restrictions are too stringent or shouldn't exist in favor of personal choice. It's a discussion we've had before in the "COVID containment efforts" thread. The basic premise that there's more complexity in the counts is valid, but it doesn't lead where he wants...
 
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  • #33
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There is an old local politician who died today. He was 85 years-old. He caught Covid in his nursing home, it rapidly escalated and he died of complications (in around 24h).

Here's the thing: he already had a pulmonary condition (the reporter did not specified). He was an avid smoker all of his life until he quit at 82 years-old.

Should his death be attributed to smoking or to Covid? Or maybe just simply of old age?
For the Flu they have been including all likely Flu related deaths in the numbers for estimated impact. This would include anybody that died and showed Flu like symptoms. They also reportedly include all pneumonia deaths as flu deaths (possibly with some post-hoc statistical adjustment) since most pneumonia deaths are caused by the flu.

Since we look to the flu as something to compare covid-19 against in terms of impact, it would make sense to be consistent. However, I am not sure how one could apply the same estimation methods in a year with both covid-19 and the flu, because now those deaths which would have been assumed to be related to the flu are more likely to have been related to covid-19. In that sense, maybe we would also be lumping in a lot of deaths which were actually caused by the flu into the covid-19 estimation, but since flu deaths would be a small percentage of the numbers it wouldn't be too big of a deal. Presumably, just like the flu estimates, they will continue to make post-hoc statistical adjustments for many years to come. In the meantime, I think that if they followed the same methodology as for the flu, they would just count everything that seems likely, then subtract and add to the numbers by guessing how many they counted erroneously, and how many they missed later on as people publish new papers proposing better estimations. With the flu, the estimations seem to increase after post-hoc adjustment, and sometimes it takes years before they stop changing it.
 
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  • #34
wrobel
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There is an old local politician who died today. He was 85 years-old. He caught Covid in his nursing home, it rapidly escalated and he died of complications (in around 24h).

Here's the thing: he already had a pulmonary condition (the reporter did not specified). He was an avid smoker all of his life until he quit at 82 years-old.
anything can kill at such an age
 
  • #35
I think you're reaching to add an extra step, or emphasizing one over another, when multiple can contribute.

See also:
Cause of death: Faulty brakes.
Cause of Death: Cheeseburgers. Lots of cheeseburgers.

For the purpose of measuring the disease, it needs to be recorded somewhere. And so do the comorbidities.
Though it would be hilarious if that was the report they give.
 
  • #36
pinball1970
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Though it would be hilarious if that was the report they give.
It's been an anti vax thing early doors and they are still wheeling it out.
There are about 160,000 death certs with COVID19 from March 2020 in the UK.
Official deaths are at 135000 due to Covid. We can assume Drs and pathologists can still do an ok job and the stat guys who look at 5 year averages year by year month by month make a contribution. I think that's why the UK reduced numbers by about 5000 last year and China added 3000.
 
  • #37
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Isn't that for the Coroner to decide?
Until then, his cause of death is a superposition of COVID and long term smoking.

And as much of a trite joke that is, it is actually likely a combination of both.
 
  • #39
Averagesupernova
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I am going to take a risk that this post will sound too political, but I can foresee a future where the cause of death will be xxxx and long term complications of covid.
 
  • #40
Ivan Seeking
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I am going to take a risk that this post will sound too political, but I can foresee a future where the cause of death will be xxxx and long term complications of covid.
Possibly true. In one study, 30% of college athletes who tested positive for Covid had heart damage.
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/ja...ign=ftm_links&utm_content=tfl&utm_term=091120

One of the particularly insidious aspects of Covid is that you can have permanent heart, lung, vascular, or neurological damage, and not even know you had it.

One can even imagine that since we likely do not develop much long-term immunity to this, it could conceivably come back each year like other Corona viruses referred to as the common cold. But with this, each time you get it, it makes you more vulnerable the next time by doing lung and/or other organ or vascular damage. Eventually it degrades your health enough to kill you.
 
  • #41
DaveC426913
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Lot of opinions in this thread. I confess I did not read them all.

As I see it, one should ask the question: But for Covid-19, would this person be alive today? The answer is surely: probably.

That means it is classified as a Covid-related death. It does not have to be the cause of death to be counted as a Covid-related death.

Especially since, technically, no one has ever died of Covid-19 they have all died from complications arising due to Covid-19.
 
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  • #42
DaveC426913
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And not to put too fine a point on it, but 100% of all deaths are due to the same cause: lack of oxygen to the brain. All other factors (up to and including cardiac arrest - and even exsanguination) are merely contributory. :wink:
 
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