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Op-Ed Global Health

Western COVID-19 deaths amount to “gerocide” - mass killing of elderly

Melbourne, Australia

Dr Gideon Polya is a Melbourne-based scientist, writer, artist and humanitarian activist. He has published over 100 scientific papers and taught science students at La Trobe University for over four decades. He has published ‘Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950’, and other books.

By Dr Gideon Polya

With the exception of decent New Zealand and arguably Australia, the rich, European countries of the US Alliance have been involved in deliberate, intentional Gerocide in which their sustained, deliberate, Covid-19 pandemic policies resulted in overwhelmingly elderly “Covid-19 deaths per million of population” that were 10-180 times greater than that obtaining in New Zealand. Expression of a deliberate intention to cause avoidable death of large numbers of people, and specifically of elderly people (Gerocide), would be unacceptable in politically correct  Western democracies. But, unspoken and publicly unacknowledged, Gerocide is what has been happening in North America and Western Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the Covid-19 pandemic to date about 41 million infections with the coronavirus have been detected, 31 million people have recovered, and over 1.1 million people have died worldwide. Developed countries have had the resources to deal with the pandemic, and to develop better medical treatment protocols, medicines and, we all hope, vaccines for protecting Humanity and allowing full economic activity to resume. However, there have been huge differences in the Covid-19 death toll in Developed countries.

The countries with the lowest “Covid-19 deaths per million of population” (Covid-19 deaths/M) are notably those of East Asia, specifically (Covid-19 deaths/M in brackets):

  • Taiwan (0.3),  
  • China (3),
  • Singapore (5),
  • South Korea (9),
  • Japan (13), and
  • Hong Kong (14),

countries notable for Confucianism-influenced cultures involving personal and collective discipline, and respect for the elderly. The only substantially European country with a Covid-19 deaths/M outcome similar to that of the East Asian countries is New Zealand with a 5 Covid-19 deaths per million of population.

In contrast, US Alliance North American and Western European countries have vastly greater “Covid-19 deaths per million of population”, to whit (Covid-19 deaths/M in brackets as of 20 October 2020):

  • Norway (46),
  • Germany (118),
  • Denmark (118),
  • Canada (258),
  • Netherlands (395),
  • France (515),
  • Italy (606),
  • UK (643),
  • US (649),
  • Spain (727), and
  • Belgium (897).

New Zealand and Australia

A significant outlier in this tragic story has been the substantially European and US allied country of Australia with 30 Covid-19 deaths/M as compared to five for its culturally similar neighbour, New Zealand. Until May 2020 Australia had a similar outcome to New Zealand with only four Covid-19 deaths per million of population. However, in the Australian state of Victoria a number of Federal and State Government blunders meant that a “second wave” of Covid-19 occurred with a large proportion of these new Covid-19 deaths occurring among residents of Aged Care homes.

In short, the Australian Federal Government has key responsibility for quarantine (keeping traveller-borne Covid-19 out of island continent Australia) and for Aged Care (notably in Federal Government-funded Aged care nursing homes). Nevertheless, while aware of these responsibilities, the disproportionately high danger to elderly people of Covid-19, and the danger of a “second wave” of infection, the incompetent, anti-science and neoliberal Australian Coalition Government led by PM Scott Morrison, allowed a “second wave” to occur in Victoria.

The State Government in a pervasive neoliberal environment hired private security firms to supervise international travellers in quarantine in luxury hotels in Melbourne, but a judge-lead formal Inquiry has yet to discover who actually made the fatal decision – it seems to have somehow morphed into existence in an environment in which the “private sector” is firmly believed to do things more efficiently than the “public sector”. In the event the disease escaped due to slack security, and rapidly spread, notably into poor and vulnerable communities. Privately-owned, and for-profit but Federally subsidized Aged Care homes were particularly vulnerable, and were responsible for most of the “second wave” of Covid-19 deaths. The “second wave” spread was assisted by poverty, under-payment of casual part-time workers, and poverty-impacted non-compliance with public health instructions.

Crucially, the “second wave” in Victoria, Australia, was finally defeated over a period of about six months by severe ”Stage 4 lockdown” supervised by Labor Premier Daniel Andrews. Premier Dan Andrews has indefatigably presided over daily press conferences, exhorting Victorians to obey the social distancing rules (compulsory masks, hand sanitizer user, no inter-person touching, a 1.5 meter inter-person spacing distance, only one hour of exercise daily, confinement to home except for exercise, shopping or medical reasons, a circa 9:00pm to 5:00 am curfew, a five kilometer limit to travel), and to get tested for Covid-19 infection with the slightest of symptoms. Massive testing (about 10,000-20,000 PCR-based tests daily), extensive contact tracing, and huge fines for violations finally got daily new cases down to one (and indeed possibly zero) in Victoria (population 6.5 million) on 20 October 2020, as compared to an utterly shocking 23,331 new cases on the same day for the UK (population 68.0 million).

Livelihoods versus lives

However “lockdown” at varying levels of severity has come at a huge economic cost for Victoria and for Australia as a whole. Indeed the Coalition Opposition has labelled the Premier Daniel Andrews as “Dictator Dan”, and kept up a litany of carping abuse throughout the “second wave” rather than critically examining State measures and Federal responsibilities (actions that might actually have prevented the “second wave”). There is huge pressure on the Victorian Labor State Government from the neoliberal Right to prematurely lift a ban on “non-essential” business activities. Similar “livelihoods versus lives” pressure has lead to over 1.1million Covid-19 deaths around the world with 95% of the deaths being 50 years and over people in the US and Australia.

Genocide (intentional killing in whole or in part) and Gerocide (intentional killing of the elderly)

The horrible reality is that about 95% of Covid-19 deaths occur in people over the age of 50 years. Thus 94.5% of Covid-19 deaths in the US (May-August 2020) were of 50 years and over people.

Over 95% of Covid-19 deaths were 50 years or older in Australia.

Conversely, in Australia 33.7% of detected cases have been in 50 years or older people, and 66.3% in younger than 50 years old people (young people get out and about more than the elderly).

Lockdown stops the spread of the coronavirus and disproportionately protects the elderly from Covid-19 death. However, lockdown comes at an enormous economic cost. Thus the IMF estimates  that the economic cost to the World of Covid-19 over two years will be $9 trillion [7-13].

Accordingly, there has been huge pressure against lockdown from the politically dominant One Percenters (notably excepting prosperous medical professionals who are on the dangerous front-line in the fight against Covid-19). This “livelihoods versus lives” campaign has been most blatant in the US as exampled by anti-science President Donald Trump and his fervent Racist Religious Right Republican (R4) supporters. Science-based rational risk management that is crucial for societal security successively involves (a) accurate information, (b) scientific analysis involving the critical testing of potentially falsifiable hypotheses, and (c) informed systemic change to minimize harm when mistakes inevitably happen [14]. However Trump’s deadly anti-science record is most succinctly summarized in the carefully researched statistic that he made 20,000 false or misleading claims during his administration [15].

Genocide is defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention thus: “In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: a) Killing members of the group; b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” [16-18].

However Gerocide can be similarly defined as the intentional killing of old people. Thus Italian physicians Adriana Servello and Evaristo Ettorre in a letter to the “Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics” (2020):

“[The Covid-19] Outbreak has quickly became the fastest and most subtle “Gerocide” that our history as a highly developed country has ever experienced….
Our hospitals have experienced moments of extreme difficulty, in which care and assistance seemed to be never enough. In those tragic moments, we have suddenly understood that chronological data matter again, even if only in terms of access to treatment in a situation which is a real catastrophe. We have realized that our fathers, mothers, colleagues, teachers, companions and patients are the most exposed and considered the most expendable part of the population, the part that the young population had previously struggled to protect and preserve.
A dramatic, unwanted, silent “Gerocide” has taken place, which will surely leave a deep and incurable wound in the ethical conscience of contemporary physicians, who have been taught to heal, operate and treat as long as possible” [18].

Intentional political choices

Gerocide is not just emergency doctors in overwhelmed hospitals having to make distressing ethical triage choices about applying scarce resources to saving the lives of younger people more likely to benefit from the treatment and survive. Gerocide  is also involved in the clearly intentional political choices (notably in North America and Western Europe) between the economy and the lives of old people in a Covid-19 pandemic.

For these rich, mostly European countries one can assess “avoidable Covid-19  deaths” (95% people of 50 years and older) as a result of political choices by using New Zealand as a base-line i.e. by pragmatically and conservatively assuming that for a rich, mostly European country the New Zealand outcome of five Covid-19 deaths per million of population is as “good as it gets”. This analysis is set out below for (A) Anglosphere countries of the “5-Eyes” intelligence-sharing club (New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the UK and US), and (B) Western European allies of the US.

  1. Gerocide in the Anglosphere “5-eyes” Intelligence Club:
    • New Zealand: population 5.0 million, 25 deaths, and  5 deaths/million of population i.e. as good as it gets for European countries and zero (0) New Zealanders killed by the Jacinda Ardern Labor Government.
    • Australia: population 25.6 million, 905 deaths, 35 deaths/million, and 30 avoidable deaths per million i.e. 30 x 25.6 = 768 Australians killed through incompetence by the Australian Coalition Government.
    • Canada: population 37.8 million, 9,778 deaths, 258 deaths/million, and 253 avoidable deaths/million i.e. 253 x 37.8 =  9,563  Canadians killed by the Trudeau Canadian Government.
    • UK: (population 68.0 million, 43,726 deaths, 643 deaths/million, and 638 avoidable deaths /million i.e. 638 x 68.0 =  43,384 Brits killed by the Johnson Tory UK Government.
    • US: (population 331.6 million, 225,170 deaths, 679 deaths/million, and  674 avoidable deaths/million  i.e.  674 x 331.6 = 223,498 Americans killed by the Trump Administration.
  2. America’s Western European NATO Allies:
    • Norway: population 5.4 million, 278 deaths, 51 deaths/million, and 46 avoidable deaths/million i.e. 46 x 5.4 = 248 Norwegians killed by the Norwegian Government.
    • Germany: population 83.9 million, 9,896 deaths, 118 deaths/million, and 113 avoidable deaths/million i.e. 113 x 83.9 = 9,481 Germans killed by the Merkel German Government.
    • Denmark: population 5.8 million, 686 deaths, 118 deaths/million, and 113 avoidable deaths/million i.e. 113 x 5.8  = 655 Danes killed by the Danish Government.
    • Netherlands: population 17.1 million, 5,918 deaths, 395 deaths/million, and 390 avoidable deaths/million i.e. 390 x 17.1 = 6,669 Dutch killed by the Netherlands Government.
    • France: population 65.3 million, 33,623 deaths, 515 deaths/million, and 510 avoidable deaths/million i.e. 510 x 65.3 = 33,303 French killed by the Macron French Government.
    • Italy: population 60.4 million, 36,616 deaths, 606 deaths/million, and 601 avoidable deaths/million i.e. 601 x 60.4 = 36,003 Italians killed by the Italian Government.
    • Spain: population 46.8 million, 33,992 deaths, 727 deaths/million, and 722 avoidable deaths/million i.e. 727 x 46.8  = 34,024 Spaniards killed by the Spanish Government.
    • Belgium: population 11.6 million, 10,413 deaths, 897 deaths/million, and 892 avoidable deaths/million i.e. 892 x 11.6 = 10,394  Belgians killed by the Belgian Government.


Respect for the elderly

With the exception of decent New Zealand and arguably Australia, the rich, mostly European ethnicity countries of the US Alliance have been involved in deliberate, intentional Gerocide in which their sustained, deliberate, Covid-19 pandemic policies resulted in “Covid-19 deaths per million of population” that are 10-180 times greater than that obtaining in New Zealand. Through incompetence and failure to properly fund and protect Aged Care homes, Australia has ended up with 35 “Covid-19 deaths per million of population”, seven times greater than for New Zealand (5).

One can speculate about why East Asian countries and New Zealand have had such successful outcomes in the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus the East Asian countries have a strong Confucian culture of personal and collective discipline and respect for the elderly.

Expression of a deliberate intention to cause avoidable death of large numbers of people, and specifically of elderly people (Gerocide), would be unacceptable in politically correct  Western democracies. But, unspoken and publicly unacknowledged, Gerocide is what has been happening in North America and Western Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic. US President Donald Trump and UK PM Boris Johnson should be arraigned for Gerocide before the International Criminal Court.