Not Just the Elderly [Updated]

While some are being cavalier about the fate of elderly Americans, it is worth noting that despite views in some quarters, it is not just the elderly who get the disease, nor only the elderly who die from it. Here are a couple of example from today’s news:

Via the NY Post: Brooklyn principal dies from coronavirus complications

Dezann Romain, 36, led the Brooklyn Democracy Academy in Brownsville, a transfer school that serves students who have dropped out or fallen behind in credits in traditional high school settings.

“It is with profound sadness and overwhelming grief that we announce the passing of our sister, CSA member Dezann Romain, Principal of Brooklyn Democracy Academy, due to complications from Coronavirus,” the union said in a statement.

Via CNN: Prominent 30-year-old Zimbabwe broadcaster dies of coronavirus

A prominent 30-year-old television journalist has died in Zimbabwe after contracting the new coronavirus infection, the first person to die in the country from the virus.

Zororo Makamba was one of the two people who tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday.

He was admitted to hospital in the capital Harare after exhibiting flu-like symptoms last Thursday, the health ministry said in a statement.

Makamba contracted the disease while he was in New York and was in isolation at Wilkins hospital, Harare’s only isolation facility.

Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The coronavirus claims two Georgia health care workers

A 48-year-old woman who worked at Donalsonville Hospital in southwestern Georgia tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and died Thursday at a hospital in Tallahassee, Florida.

The same day, a mammogram technician at Piedmont Newnan Hospital was found dead in her Coweta County home. Laboratory tests confirmed the woman had COVID-19, Coweta County Coroner Richard Hawk said.

The woman, 42, had been dead 12 to 16 hours when the police, checking on her welfare, discovered her body, Hawk said.\

Also, a few days ago: This 39-year-old New Orleans woman tested for coronavirus. She died before getting her results

On March 10, Natasha Ott, 39, felt the beginnings of a cold coming on. 
She had a slight fever. CrescentCare, the medical clinic where she worked, had only a handful of tests for the new strain of coronavirus on hand. She initially passed on the chance to take one, after being told she was low-risk for the serious disease.

When her symptoms didn’t shake, she did take the test on Monday. By Thursday, she felt “something in her lungs,” she told longtime partner Josh Anderson. But she still felt well enough by then to join Anderson as the pair walked her dog. 

On Friday, Anderson found Ott dead in her kitchen. 

Certainly, a couple of examples does not tell us a lot, but since there are many voices at the moment seeming to suggest that those under a certain age are immune, these are all cautionary tales worth taking into consideration as policies affecting the masses are put into place.

Update: As noted by a commenter, Ott’s test came back negative, but a follow-up test is being done (via

Ott’s initial test result was negative, but a lab is conducting a retest because the Orleans Parish Coroner is “deeply skeptical” of that outcome, said her boyfriend, Josh Anderson on social media.

A spokesman for the coroner did not return a request for comment Tuesday, but said earlier this week that the investigation into Ott’s death is ongoing. 

Results of the retest could come within two days, and will include both the original sample and a new sample, Anderson said. 

As such, her case may be a poor example, as her death may well have been from another cause.

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Kingdaddy says:

    Here’s a recent explanation of the mordibity rates by age group:

  2. Mister Bluster says:

    Pence again touts chloroquine as coronavirus treatment after it’s linked to deaths
    More evidence that Pence is just as dumb as Trump…and that both of them are trying to kill us all!

    Today’s quiz:
    Why Is Alleged Quack Dr. Oz the Face of NBC’s ‘Coronavirus Crisis Team’?
    A. He is trying to kill us all.
    B. He and Trump and Pence are trying to kill us all.
    C. We are screwed to the wall!

  3. mattbernius says:

    FWIW, here’s a simple graphing of cases in Monroe County NY broken out by over and under 50:

    We had our first teenager diagnosed today.

  4. Teve says:

    The mortality rate is good to know, but I want to know what percentage survive but with permanent lung damage? That’s an important number to know.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I posted this article from Pro-Publica the other day: A Medical Worker Describes Terrifying Lung Failure From COVID-19 — Even in His Young Patients

    “It first struck me how different it was when I saw my first coronavirus patient go bad. I was like, Holy shit, this is not the flu. Watching this relatively young guy, gasping for air, pink frothy secretions coming out of his tube and out of his mouth. The ventilator should have been doing the work of breathing but he was still gasping for air, moving his mouth, moving his body, struggling. We had to restrain him. With all the coronavirus patients, we’ve had to restrain them. They really hyperventilate, really struggle to breathe. When you’re in that mindstate of struggling to breathe and delirious with fever, you don’t know when someone is trying to help you, so you’ll try to rip the breathing tube out because you feel it is choking you, but you are drowning.

    “When someone has an infection, I’m used to seeing the normal colors you’d associate with it: greens and yellows. The coronavirus patients with ARDS have been having a lot of secretions that are actually pink because they’re filled with blood cells that are leaking into their airways. They are essentially drowning in their own blood and fluids because their lungs are so full. So we’re constantly having to suction out the secretions every time we go into their rooms.”

  6. Nightcrawler says:


    That article sealed my decision about not wanting to be “treated” if I get infected, and things go bad.

    That’s not “treatment.” It’s torture. In all likelihood, it will not save the patient’s life; it will only prolong their death.

    Then, there’s the matter of what kind of “life” the patient will have if they do wake up. I do not want a “life” with severe lung damage. That’s not living.

  7. Hal_10000 says:


    The mortality rate is good to know, but I want to know what percentage survive but with permanent lung damage? That’s an important number to know.

    I would guess most of those who need intensive care and ventilation. Which is a bigger problem than people think. Because if COVID comes back, those people will now be much more vulnerable to it. A second wave could see mortality rates spike to 10% or more.

  8. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: Are you talking about Dr. Mehmet “show me to the pay window, please” Oz? You really need to ask?

  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, I’m really a nerd. And my nerdliness is showing now because I’m now thinking this is a real-time Kobayashi Maru scenario. People are going to die no matter what the President and his crew do, and this is test to see how they respond to it.

    I’m pretty sure the powers at Starfleet Academy would have some concerns.

  10. @Jay L Gischer:

    I’m pretty sure the powers at Starfleet Academy would have some concerns.


  11. HS says:

    Your reference to the NOLA case is misleading, as at the time you posted this article, her results were still pending. Her results have now come back and they are negative.

  12. @HS: Thanks. I have updated.


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