Our Other Huge Death Toll
The CCP virus death toll in the United States stands at 593,419, by one count, as of May 20. Another has the count at 601,969, while The New York Times reports 587,499. The variation among the counts isn’t great; the magnitude is clear.
Although there has been much agonizing over differential death rates among different races or ethnicities, allegedly due to “structural racism,” in fact, the death toll has tracked population percentage quite closely. The 60.1 percent of whites in the population have suffered 60.7 percent of the deaths; the 18.5 percent of Hispanics in the population have suffered 18.6 percent of the deaths; the 13.4 percent of blacks in the population have suffered 14.8 percent of the deaths; and the 5.9 percent of Asians in the population suffered 3.9 percent of the deaths.
If wealth and poverty are held constant, the differences between the races would more or less disappear.
There is a substantial differential death rate associated with sex. Males have suffered 314,875 deaths, in comparison with the 259,170 deaths of females. So far, we have heard no accusations of “systemic sexism,” because, you know, “the future is female.”
The numbers of COVID-19 deaths are probably exaggerated. It was standard procedure to count any death in which COVID-19 was present as a COVID-19 death, although other major comorbidities were contributing or even decisive factors. In a few cases, at least, deaths from accidents were listed as COVID-19 deaths because the victim had some presence of COVID-19. We also know that there was a political motive to exaggerate COVID-19 deaths; a CNN employee bragged about the network using the COVID-19 death count for ratings and to create fear.
But even if there were fewer COVID-19 deaths, even if 20 percent were mislabeled, the death toll of a half-million Americans is a tragedy and highly unfortunate. Particularly appalling was the exposure and death, due at least in part to public officials’ neglect and incompetence, of many elderly residents of nursing homes. The governor of New York even tried to hide the count of nursing home deaths.
COVID-19 death counts are kept in perspective by considering that 2.8 million to 3 million Americans die in an average year. Annual numbers beyond that are considered “excess deaths.” The CDC attributed 383,979 deaths in 2020 to COVID-19. According to a study in the British Medical Journal, the excess deaths above the normal death rate in 2020 was 458,000, substantially higher than in the previous years 2019 and 2018, but of the same magnitude as the 401,000 excess deaths in 2017, a bad flu year, during which there were no shutdowns, no forced school and business closures, no travel restrictions, and no mask mandates.
According to a recent article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
“The comparison [of 2020 and 2017] is more striking when years of life lost is the measure used. Goldstein and Lee (11) estimate that the mean loss of life years for a person dying from COVID-19 in the United States is 11.7 years. Multiplying 377,000 decedents by 11.7 years lost per decedent gives a total of 4.41 million years of life lost to COVID-19 in 2020, only a third of the 13.02 million life years lost to excess mortality in the United States in 2017 (Table 1). The reason that the comparison is so much sharper for [years of life lost] than for excess deaths is that COVID-19 deaths in 2020 occurred at much older ages, on average, than the excess deaths of 2017.”
This account doesn’t even consider the tens of thousands, perhaps more, of excess deaths due not to COVID-19 but to the lockdowns. Overdoses, suicides, and domestic violence result from lockdowns.
The Other Great Death Toll
Annually, the better part of a million American babies are killed by abortion. The figures from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute are 874,100 U.S. abortions for 2016 and 862,300 abortions for 2017. Guttmacher collects its statistics directly from abortion providers. (CDC figures, around 200,000 lower, reflect non-submission of statistics by New Hampshire, Maryland, and California.)
- Non-Hispanic white women: 239,782 estimated abortions
- Non-Hispanic black women: 208,183 estimated abortions
- Hispanic women: 123,918 estimated abortions
- Others: 47,709 estimated abortions
These figures show that black women, at 13 percent of the female population, account for 34 percent of the abortions, while white women, at 60 percent of the female population, account for 39 percent of the abortions. Hispanic women, at 18.5 percent of the female population, account for 20 percent of abortions.
Abortions of black babies are almost three times higher than the black population, which is why the percentage of black Americans gradually shrinks over the years. Abortions of Hispanic babies match the population percentage of Hispanics. Abortions of white and other babies are much lower than their percentage of the population, one reason that the percentage of whites doesn’t shrink.
The number of American babies killed in the womb (or after birth) doesn’t tell the entire story. If we consider “years of lives lost,” calculated on the basis of U.S. life expectancy—81 for females, 77 for males, for an average of 79—the 862,300 abortions of 2017 would be a loss of 68,121,700 years of lives lost. Sixty-eight million years of American lives lost!
The birth rate in the United States has been falling for years. In 2019, it was 1.7, well below the replacement rate of 2.1. In many places across the globe, the birth rate has fallen. In Canada, the birth rate is 1.5; in the UK, 1.6; in Trinidad, 1.7; Thailand 1.5; Sweden 1.7; Switzerland 1.5; Spain 1.2; Slovak Republic 1.6; Singapore 1.1; Serbia 1.5; Puerto Rico 1.0. This seems to happen as modernization and urbanization increase. Children are no longer needed for family productive labor, and become financial liabilities—pets rather than workers.
In America and elsewhere, secularization and the decline of mainline churches have contributed to the decline, as practices once prohibited are now not only accepted, but celebrated. For around half of all Americans, killing their babies is one of the highest values and policy goals. This is partly the result of the sexual revolution allowing people to engage in irresponsible sex, and the feminist revolution vilifying motherhood as anti-female servitude. The other half of America isn’t pleased.
Among black Americans, who abort their children at a rate three times their percentage of the population, women are disincentivized from bringing their children to term. At least one major reason is the unwillingness of black men to take responsibility as husbands and fathers, the consequent loss of the two-parent family, and the financial and other disadvantages that flow from one-parent, mother-led families.
We Americans kill almost a million of our babies every year. What kind of people are we?
Philip Carl Salzman is professor emeritus of anthropology at McGill University, senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, fellow at the Middle East Forum, and president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.