I recently came across a very interesting editorial. It appeared in the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ). And it accused politicians who didn’t take more aggressive measures to control pandemic losses of a crime that they called “social murder.”
That’s a pretty provocative statement. Sure, I’ve had similar conversations with my friends—but this is the first formal commentary I’ve heard from a medical perspective.
And, to be honest, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write about something so controversial. (After all, should anybody really be blamed, much less punished, for the millions of COVID-related deaths we’ve suffered so far?) But it is an important discussion.
So… let’s talk about it. And then you can decide what you think.
Defining “social murder”
The term “social murder” is an old phrase that the philosopher Friedrich Engels used to describe conditions back in 19th century England, which favored privileged classes at the expense of the lives of the poorest.
According to BMJ’s executive editor, Dr. Kamran Abbasi, the phrase could also describe “the lack of political attention to social determinants and inequities that exacerbate the pandemic.”
And you have to admit, it makes sense. The media has been reporting on this very issue since the pandemic started. Which makes me wonder… why haven’t underserved communities been made a priority? They’ve been hit much harder—yet the wealthy have had (and continue having) easy access to testing sites and vaccinations that poorer folks have not.
“Politicians must be held to account by legal and electoral means, indeed by any national and international constitutional means necessary,” Abassi writes.
Again, he has a point: When you step back and look at the situation thus far, it’s clear that politicians and experts have been willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths for the sake of population immunity or in the hopes of propping up the economy.
At the very least, this shows a reckless indifference toward the lives these officials were elected to protect. (You can read the editorial yourself to see exactly which politicians the editorial called out—it was more than one.)
Who is responsible?
Now, without going any farther down a political rabbit hole, I will say that I’ve been involved in some very heated conversations about this very topic.
My concerns aren’t just aimed at former or current presidents, either. I would also like to know why Dr. Anthony Fauci never pushed for wearing masks under the previous administration, only to later tell us that two masks may be better than one.
That is not an example of science leading the way. (Not that I’m blaming him personally for anything—I’m simply pointing out a fact.)
It’s also worth noting that the BMJ article isn’t the only one offering strong opinions on this matter. A related editorial claimed that politics had driven government pandemic response—and called for specific people to be held accountable.
Because, when you look at all COVID-19-related deaths worldwide, half of those deaths happened in just five countries: the U.K., the U.S., Brazil, Mexico and India. And the editorial staff of the BMJ calls that a crime—one that the countries’ populist leaders should have to answer for.
As for the United States, our leaders are elected to serve us—a simple pact that many seem to have forgotten. And right now, they continue to be unaccountable and unrepentant. But let’s not forget… we knew months before this pandemic struck that it was coming. And still, nothing was done.
Call it what you want. Weak leadership. Ignorant leadership. “Social murder.” Or perhaps all three! If nothing else, it just proves my point that you are your own best advocate. So, as always, start taking your health into your own hands. That can—and should—be your top priority… especially since the powers-that-be continue sticking their heads in the sand.
P.S. As we continue fighting against COVID-19, I still encourage you to keep your immune health in tip-top shape. For step-by-step guidance, check out my Complete Guide to Year-Round Immunity.
“Are COVID Deaths the Result of ‘Social Murder’?” WebMD Health News, 02/05/2021. (webmd.com/lung/news/20210205/are-covid-deaths-the-result-of-social-murder)