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An Evil COVID Policy For Seniors

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaste

Pollsters made hay during the 2020 election cycle by predicting that senior citizens would vote en mass for former Vice President Joe Biden. It didn’t happen. Like almost every other survey, they were wrong and exit polling shows a majority of seniors supported Donald Trump on Election Day, albeit by a smaller margin than in 2016.


With a pair of runoff elections slated for January to decide Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats, seniors are likely to fall in line behind incumbent Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, and they should because one-party rule in Congress could be deadly. Literally. 

Despite the fact that the presidential results remain in question and will for some time, Biden has announced his plans for combatting the coronavirus, an issue that was said to move more older voters to Biden. Among the appointees to Biden’s COVID-19 Task Force is Dr. Zeke Emanuel. Dr. Emanuel is not an epidemiologist. He is not a virologist. He is an oncologist so his appointment to a virus task force is quizzical. Perhaps his appointment is better explained by the fact that Zeke is the brother of former Obama White House chief of staff, former Chicago mayor and all-around Democrat operative Rahm Emanuel. 

Dr. Emanuel’s political connections are not the problem. The problem is that he doesn’t seem to care much for seniors. According to the good doctor, people who are older than 75, “are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.” Not only are we pathetic, Dr. Emanuel opined that, “by 75, creativity, originality, and productivity are pretty much gone for the vast, vast majority of us.”

These pronouncements and others were made in a feature article Emanuel authored for the October 2014 edition of The Atlantic, in which he wrote that he hopes to be dead at age 75. Emanuel was so wedded to dying at 75 he said he wouldn’t even get a flu shot. “Flu shots are out,” wrote Dr. Emanuel. “Certainly if there were to be a flu pandemic, a younger person who has yet to live a complete life ought to get the vaccine or any antiviral drugs.”


None of this can be comforting for seniors, who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Older Americans who fear the coronavirus because they’re dying by the thousands need an advocate for their safety and health, not someone agitating against distributing vaccines to seniors because we’re “pathetic.” Why would anybody want someone with this worldview counseling them on health policy?

It gets worse. Dr. Emanuel may be a very good oncologist but his track record on epidemiology and virology is not great. In late March, Emanuel went on cable TV and gave an alarming prediction that 100,000,000 Americans would be infected by COVID-19 within four weeks. As Tom Bevan with Real Clear Politics observed four weeks later, “He was off by 99,111,291.” Forget about Emanuel’s guesstimate not being in the ballpark, it wasn’t even in a state with a Major League Baseball team. 

If policy and law are informed by the perspectives of Dr. Emanuel and others like him, it should scare the crap out of seniors. The only thing standing between us and COVID-19 laws that suggest withholding vaccines from the elderly is a Congress not corrupted by one-party rule. This is precisely why the stakes are so high in Georgia’s dueling Senate runoffs on January 5th. 

Such a proposal would likely be welcome in a Democrat House run by Speaker Nancy Pelosi – provided her power isn’t seriously challenged by her fellow Democrats – despite its heartless neglect of seniors. After all, we’re old and going to die pretty soon anyhow, right? This is more than misguided, more than ill-advised or simply bad policy. It’s just plain evil and it could be stopped only by a Republican majority in the Senate. 


Georgia seniors and their families need to think about this. Elections rarely involve questions of life and death. This one does.  

Jim Martin is the founder and chairman of the 60 Plus Association.

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