Tag Archives: the flu

Counting the Dead

                                         Keeping Track

The flu seems pretty bad this year.  According to the paper, over 30 people here in California have died.  But, inevitably, it seems, the paper goes on to report that these 30 people are all under the age of 65.  And that probably the number of dead is much greater than 30 because of all the people over 65 who died of it.  But they don’t know how many of those people that might be because they only count the number of people under 65 who die of the disease and not the number over 65.

Frankly, I don’t understand this practice.  There must be some reason for it.  Is the number of people over 65 so enormous that they just can’t be counted?  Or could the paperwork produced by their deaths be too burdensome to doctors, clinics, and hospitals?  If this is the case—and I am not saying it is—surely there should be at least some reporting, some attempts to keeps tabs, on the massive number of people over 65 who die from the disease.  I really believe people, like me, who are over 65 might be interested.  Or maybe, they do know the number over 65, but they don’t report it because it would be just too depressing for words.

In any case, I am confused, and really wish they would clear up the matter.  I mean because I just can’t shake the impression that they don’t count the people over 65 who die because—I don’t know how else to say it—people over 65 just don’t count.  Isn’t that generally the case in all such matters: those who don’t count go uncounted?  Counting counts, if you know what I mean.

I am hard pressed not to infer that this is the case, especially when the headline to the article blares: 10 children dead while those over 65 who have died go not only unmentioned but also actually uncounted.  But the children clearly have been counted.  Somebody somewhere took the time and the effort to tally that score.  Of course, having a child die is a horrible thing, and, maybe, having an elderly person (somebody over 65) die is just not as horrible.  Still, would it take that much effort to count them?  Or maybe the elderly tend to die alone and penurious in their tacky apartments and nobody is there to count.  While people do tend to keep track of their children though occasionally they do get lost at the circus or something like that.