“They didn’t want ‘COVID’ on the death certificate”

Slate ran an interview yesterday with a healthcare worker in South Dakota focused on the Covid crisis and Covid denialism in the state. Having skimmed it, I believe the stressed-out nurse who said that sufferers denied having Covid “until their final breaths” meant it metaphorically rather than literally: you don’t have much capacity for self-expression while on a lung ventilator.

I also found indirect evidence in favor of my suggestion that some skeptics treat Covid-19 as “either a hoax, or a shameful disease, or a sign of eternal perdition.” The second and/or the third, in this case:

I’ve had people who lost family members, and it was almost like shame. They didn’t want “COVID” on the death certificate. It’s, “They had this complication,” or “It had to be this other thing.” It was almost like shame.

I wonder how it affects the statistics we’re getting from the state. Eventually, it will probably be total excess mortality that will provide a robust estimate of the death rate related to the pandemics. However, as we cannot see this data in real time, one hopes that the algorithms states use to distinguish between Covid and non-Covid deaths don’t change (much) over time even though different states may be using different sorting procedures.

This said, South Dakota is on the curve to a 10% infection rate, implying a rather high mortality rate per 1000 residents. However, the mortality rate among the infected is relatively low there – so far, about 1%. They seem a pretty healthy population, and/or their healthcare system is great. But they are also a reckless bunch.

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