What about cultural responsibility for COVID-19 infection?


I’ve often said that COVID-19’s greatest danger is that it is not deadly or dramatic enough of a pestilence to create an immediate sense of danger or impending doom on the individual level.

The kill rate is low and the affliction is not horrendously dramatic. I understand that suffocating to death in your own lonely hospital room is “dramatic” for the patient’s family, but the Black Death-ian bloody, pus-filled dissolution of your dying body is not there for COVID-19. COVID-19 lacks the histrionics of Ebola or Smallpox and definitely lacks the mortality of those diseases. In fact, COVID-19 doesn’t even approach the kill rate of its cousins, MERS or SARS.

COVID-19’s greatest danger is its stealth anonymity, its faceless, sporadic ability to take cover without revealing itself in many cases while retaining its contagious proliferation. Even when it reveals itself, it frequently bares only the faintest hint of its pulmonary or bodily destructive potential. What may present as a momentary cough and fever in one person can fatally present as a deadly full-body inflammatory assault in another.

COVID-19 is a plague for our times. Faceless anonymity in the context of a dense global society, where physical distance is rendered small, is peculiarly afflicted by an oblique malady like this.

If the virus was more deadly, the visual representations and alerts would be pronounced and the population would be pummeled into submission by outward fear.

COVID-19 resides in our minds, not so much in our souls. We continue to function at half capacity (or 75%, 90%, 98% for a great many of us). Its repressed and passive nature elicit a sense of self-destructive passivity. There are some who defer to conspiracies as a means of assuaging the “in the background” nature of COVID-19. The virus’s low-key attack lend it a mundane “only the flu, bro” vibe, and leaves us with a taste of the familiar; it is hardly envisioned as exotic, and conspiratards hover over the illusion like hungry flies.

It’s real and it kills.

And for some reason, it infects and kills a lot of Hispanics hispanics.

Adelita Cruz Trevino, 39, and Nicolas Trevino, 35, were not only siblings, they were best friends. Both died of Covid-19 just one week apart.

They tested positive for the coronavirus on November 6, after a trip to California to attend their uncle’s funeral, their brother Daniel Trevino told CNN.

Adelita passed away from the virus on November 29 at Ascension Borgess Hospital. Her brother died a week later at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, hours after his sister’s funeral, said their sister Jesusa Vela.

“I don’t wish this on anybody,” said Trevino. “My sister was 39 and my brother was 35. Pretty young. They had a lot of life left in them. And unfortunately, their lives were cut short because of the virus.”

Adelita presented all the symptoms of the virus, from fevers to body aches, according Vela. She was admitted to the hospital on the same day she tested positive and never left, Vela said.

Her brother, Nicolas, was admitted the next day and was sent home to quarantine. He returned to the hospital a week later as his condition began to decline, Vela told CNN.

What gives?

Media coverage is illusory and a manmade contrivance that minimally reflects reality, but every other feature story about COVID-19’s destruction points to Hispanics hispanics as disproportional victims.

Confirmation bias aside, there is statistical support that demonstrates Hispanics hispanics are in fact disproportionately susceptible to COVID infection. The numbers don’t lie. The explanations propounded by authorities and medical experts are politically palatable and predictable. According to them, it’s all about the lack of medical care, lack of medical insurance and the neglected state of “marginal communities” and their heavy representation in essential service industries. These reasons go without saying. Of course they are partly the reason for heightened infections and mortality, but there are more reasons which mainstream culture resists confronting because they are not not nice observations to note openly.

In today’s oppressive politically correct climate, simply noticing and voicing cultural observations is akin to hate, bigotry and racism, the wicked trio of banishment from pop society.

What do I notice (from the “Hispanic hispanic perspective”)?

I notice cultural reasons explain a lot about why some groups catch (or don’t) COVID-19 in greater numbers than the rest of the population.

Cultural habits and traits (ie, stereotypes) go a long way toward explaining specific groups’ tendencies to succumb to infection. COVID-19 is a disease of social grouping, and a killer of slovenly lifestyle.

From the tragic CNN story:

The brother and sister were neighbors in Hartford, Michigan. Both were raising children on their own as single parents, with 11 kids in total between the two.

“They were always at each other’s houses,” said Vela. “They liked to barbecue a lot. Lita was always over there. They barbecued almost every weekend. They did a lot of stuff together.”

Vela says the two were silly and fun whenever they were together. Most of all, they loved their kids and were dedicated to their families.

This very passage embodies the traditional Hispanic hispanic family tradition which involves gatherings and extensive interplay between members of families on an interconnected household level.  The constant drone of activity and the dynamic of extended relationships between family members is an innate fixture in Hispanic hispanic culture.  A real familial “web” in which people connect to people by degrees of contact.  So-and-so will inevitably see or talk to so-and-so and 2 times 2 becomes 4 which then becomes 16. The Hispanic hispanic family tradition is defined by its network of real-time dealings, a tradition and habit which will not be dispelled by some stupid virus.  It’s as if we can’t be troubled with such burdensome shackles on tradition.

In addition, we can’t be troubled to lead healthy, spartan lifestyles of clean eating and physical activity like all those fancy yoga-loving white people.

The Trevino siblings didn’t look horribly unhealthy, but by the same token, they didn’t look especially fit, either.

Adelita Cruz Trevino and Nicolas Trevino

Underlying conditions common in the Hispanic hispanic community express as common co-morbidities which can amplify the deadliness of COVID-19: diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, metabolic syndrome (there is no data on that last one as far as prevalence in the Hispanic hispanic community or as a contributing factor in COVID death risk, it is entirely my conjecture). Many of these are lifestyle-based afflictions which, paired with Hispanic hispanic sociocultural traditions, have created a perfect storm of disaster for the Hispanic hispanic community.  Pinning the causes entirely on politically-based reasons (poverty, working conditions) only explains a non-representative sliver of the phenomena.

Ethnic culture explains much and by denying it, we overlook the obvious. Danger lurks there.

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