The New York Times disrespects both our war dead and the Wuhan virus dead

The New York Times got a lot of publicity on Sunday because it chose to fill the front page of its print edition with the names and brief obituaries of 1,000 people identified as having died from the Wuhan virus.  The text filled the entire page and included a reminder that almost 100,000 people may have died from the virus since it landed on American shores.  As with all things Times, this was a dishonest attempt to disparage President Trump, as well as a sign of disrespect to those whom we honor on Memorial Day.

Astute people instantly noticed that one of the people named in the article was not a Wuhan virus victim, but instead a murder victim.  That's a fun, nitpicky thing to hang on to the Times.  What's more important is what's behind those names and numbers.  (You can see an interactive online version here.)

First, we don't actually know how many people have died from the Wuhan virus.  John R. Lott, an economist and data-cruncher, details how the U.S. is overstating Wuhan virus deaths.  These overstatements include those who died with but not from the virus, deaths with negative postmortem virus results, overcounting due to political pressure, and overcounting for financial reasons.

Second, we do know that, by any count, the vast majority of deaths (39,589 as of May 22) have been in New York and New Jersey.  While residents of those two states, including Times reporters, may feel as if they're in a charnel house, that's not the case for the rest of America.  The front-page gimmick reflects the view from New York and New Jersey, not the view of America as a whole.

Third, the Times and other Democrat media outlets have done their utmost to blame virus deaths on Trump.  Within hours of the Times publishing its front page, the following image started circulating on social media:

The image gives President Trump way too much blame.  Because he respects federalism, Trump allowed the various states to set their own approaches to the virus.  He confined himself to closing the borders, facilitating supplies, speeding research, and generally providing nationwide support.  The governors put in place day-to-day policies to address the virus.

At the state level, the chart below shows that the likelihood of a resident dying from the Wuhan virus in a Democrat-run state was four times greater than the likelihood for a resident in a Republican-run state:


Wuhan death information drawn from Statista's data for May 22, 2020.

Wuhan viruses aren't a Trump problem; they're a Democrat problem.

Fourth, the deaths in Democrat-run states occurred disproportionately in nursing homes.  That isn't just because nursing homes contain a vulnerable patient population.  It's because Democrat governors forced nursing homes to accept patients with the Wuhan virus.

One of those governors, Andrew Cuomo, has tried to blame Trump, saying the president's guidelines said that "nursing homes should admit any individuals that they would normally admit to their facility, including individuals from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 was/is present."  Only a very stupid person would read that sentence to mean "nursing homes must admit individuals who have COVID-19."  It's obvious that it means that a patient who would typically enter a nursing home — a disabled person, a pneumonia patient, a stroke patient, etc. — can still enter the nursing home even if that patient is discharged from a hospital that, somewhere on the premises, had a Wuhan virus case.

Sixth, the Times is showing great disrespect for those who died serving our country.  Any death that occurs for a reason other than old age is a tragedy for those who die and those who are left behind.  This is especially true when the death occurs because of epidemic disease, and it's even worse when a state governor's policies exacerbated the death toll.  Those dead deserve to be acknowledged.  Nevertheless, these deaths should not be conflated with Memorial Day observations.  There is a difference between those who die from disease and mismanagement and those who have lost their lives fighting in a war to defend American liberty.

There's nothing wrong with honoring the Wuhan virus dead.  There is something very wrong with using them as the Times did, to score political points against the president and to overwrite Memorial Day to score those points.

The New York Times got a lot of publicity on Sunday because it chose to fill the front page of its print edition with the names and brief obituaries of 1,000 people identified as having died from the Wuhan virus.  The text filled the entire page and included a reminder that almost 100,000 people may have died from the virus since it landed on American shores.  As with all things Times, this was a dishonest attempt to disparage President Trump, as well as a sign of disrespect to those whom we honor on Memorial Day.

Astute people instantly noticed that one of the people named in the article was not a Wuhan virus victim, but instead a murder victim.  That's a fun, nitpicky thing to hang on to the Times.  What's more important is what's behind those names and numbers.  (You can see an interactive online version here.)

First, we don't actually know how many people have died from the Wuhan virus.  John R. Lott, an economist and data-cruncher, details how the U.S. is overstating Wuhan virus deaths.  These overstatements include those who died with but not from the virus, deaths with negative postmortem virus results, overcounting due to political pressure, and overcounting for financial reasons.

Second, we do know that, by any count, the vast majority of deaths (39,589 as of May 22) have been in New York and New Jersey.  While residents of those two states, including Times reporters, may feel as if they're in a charnel house, that's not the case for the rest of America.  The front-page gimmick reflects the view from New York and New Jersey, not the view of America as a whole.

Third, the Times and other Democrat media outlets have done their utmost to blame virus deaths on Trump.  Within hours of the Times publishing its front page, the following image started circulating on social media:

The image gives President Trump way too much blame.  Because he respects federalism, Trump allowed the various states to set their own approaches to the virus.  He confined himself to closing the borders, facilitating supplies, speeding research, and generally providing nationwide support.  The governors put in place day-to-day policies to address the virus.

At the state level, the chart below shows that the likelihood of a resident dying from the Wuhan virus in a Democrat-run state was four times greater than the likelihood for a resident in a Republican-run state:


Wuhan death information drawn from Statista's data for May 22, 2020.

Wuhan viruses aren't a Trump problem; they're a Democrat problem.

Fourth, the deaths in Democrat-run states occurred disproportionately in nursing homes.  That isn't just because nursing homes contain a vulnerable patient population.  It's because Democrat governors forced nursing homes to accept patients with the Wuhan virus.

One of those governors, Andrew Cuomo, has tried to blame Trump, saying the president's guidelines said that "nursing homes should admit any individuals that they would normally admit to their facility, including individuals from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 was/is present."  Only a very stupid person would read that sentence to mean "nursing homes must admit individuals who have COVID-19."  It's obvious that it means that a patient who would typically enter a nursing home — a disabled person, a pneumonia patient, a stroke patient, etc. — can still enter the nursing home even if that patient is discharged from a hospital that, somewhere on the premises, had a Wuhan virus case.

Sixth, the Times is showing great disrespect for those who died serving our country.  Any death that occurs for a reason other than old age is a tragedy for those who die and those who are left behind.  This is especially true when the death occurs because of epidemic disease, and it's even worse when a state governor's policies exacerbated the death toll.  Those dead deserve to be acknowledged.  Nevertheless, these deaths should not be conflated with Memorial Day observations.  There is a difference between those who die from disease and mismanagement and those who have lost their lives fighting in a war to defend American liberty.

There's nothing wrong with honoring the Wuhan virus dead.  There is something very wrong with using them as the Times did, to score political points against the president and to overwrite Memorial Day to score those points.