Health: Colin Powell’s death becomes grist for Covid vaccine debates

The Story:

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell died last Monday, October 18 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. His death was attributed to “complications from Covid-19.”


Secretary Powell was fully vaccinated. Some commentators have invoked to his to make the point that the vaccines don’t work. A Fox News anchor, John Roberts, tweeted that Powell’s death “raises new concerns” about their effectiveness.

Likewise, Will Cain, of the Fox & Friends program, said on air that Powell’s death will cause the vaccinated to “wonder what lies ahead for them.”

But it is unwise to take Powell’s death as telling us anything about the vaccine. He was an 84 year old prostate cancer survivor who was being treated for blood cancer. Both the cancers and the treatment would have worked against the vaccine.

In Pill Form:

A more sensible argument, on the other hand, might be: why was Powell’s cause of death listed as Covid at all? Would it not be as accurate to say he died of complications from his cancer? There are grounds for believing that when a death has multiple causes there is a bias in favor of listing Covid as THE cause, and this high-profile instance may lead to valuable questions as to the numbers.

On the third hand: surely the numbers are all-too-high on any reading.

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