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Seriously folks

The first sitting member of Congress has died of Covid-19


Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX) has become the first sitting member of Congress to die from Covid-19.

That’s better.

For all these post-graduate journalism degrees the Americans get they don’t seem to be able to write headlines…..

17 thoughts on “Seriously folks”

  1. How about “Covid-19 kills its first sitting member of Congress”?

    Hm. Americans tend to favour twee euphemisms in matters of death.
    And even death can be presented with a flavour of boosterism.

    “It’s a first! Passing of sitting member of Congress from Covid-19.”

  2. /sarc on

    Eh he’s an Evil Republican from the Evil Awful Horrible state of Texas, probably supported Trump and didn’t wear a mask, so it’s ok.

    /sarc off

    Like Herman Cain, had cancer, battled it, contracted SARS-Cov2, lost the battle. Died with, not from. But that’s not how it’s reported. I don’t know this guy, but I do miss Herman Cain.

  3. Similar to how Captain Tom ‘died after a positive Covid result’, allows them to skip over the fact he was admitted to hospital Covid free and unwell from something else then caught Covid in hospital, but still play on the everyone is dieing of Covid theme.

  4. Bloke in China (Germany province)

    Tim, you’ve no doubt written for American audiences, reading American publications, written to American style guides.

    There are two unbreakable style preferences masquerading as grammatical rules drilled into every American in the first four years of their liberal arts degree:
    1: Thou shalt, in the use of commas, emulate F. Scott Fitzgerald or Raymond Chandler, or any of the other “great” prose fictioners of The American Early 20th Century, or summat.*
    2: Thou shalt not use anything thy subeditor identifies (correctly or, more usually, not) to be in the passive voice.

    It is that second rule, probably in combination with prudery over the active use of “kill” (how many headlines have you seen along the lines of “X slain by …”) that prohibits the writing of a functional headline for this event.

    * Under revision as some of those authors are proceeding apace through the cancellation process.

  5. I guess it would be inconvenient if we were ever told how many (few?) have died of flu this winter compared to pretty much any other year.

  6. I guess it would be inconvenient if we were ever told how many (few?) have died of flu this winter compared to pretty much any other year.


  7. Flu is so low they are having problems finding enough samples to use to develop next years vaccine variant.
    The fact Covid is a replacement for flu shows up in the total death figures

  8. Bloke in China (Germany province)

    I’m not saying that either was not a great prose writer, I’m saying that the way Americans are taught to write is based on a very narrow style characteristic of a certain very short period in one anglophone country. Those stylistic choices are elevated to “ten commandments of grammar” status, and Self-Appointed Custodians Of Correct American English can always be relied upon to enforce them to the (flexible according to their mood that day) letter.

  9. I tried a Fitzgerald book once. NBG.

    The Great American Writer is Twain. I also liked some of Steinbeck. And Catch 22.

    Hemingway oozed inauthenticity.

    I read a series of Upton Sinclair novels when I was a teenager – forgettable middlebrow stuff, shame about the intrusive politics.

    I also enjoyed lots of SF aged, say, 13 to, oh, 19. By then you’re growing out of it, aren’t you?

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    For those wanting flu deaths:

    Go to this page

    Scroll down to “your download options” and download the and open the Excel file.

    Go to the “Weekly figures by cause” tab and voila:

    Unfortunately formatting doesn’t work in the comments.

    Week number 1 2 3 4
    Week ended 08-Jan-21 15-Jan-21 22-Jan-21 29-Jan-21
    Deaths by cause 1,2,3,4
    Note: deaths may be counted in more than one cause category, for example a death may have an underlying cause of COVID-19 but also have influenza and pneumonia mentioned as a contributory cause of death.
    Diseases of the respiratory system (J00-J99)
    Deaths involving respiratory disease (any mention on the death certificate) 7,025 7,497 7,837 7,816
    of which, deaths due to respiratory disease (underlying cause) 1,262 1,199 1,079 1,058

    Influenza and pneumonia (J08-J18)
    Deaths involving influenza and pneumonia (any mention on the death certificate) 4,649 5,273 5,696 5,719
    of which, deaths due to influenza and pneumonia (underlying cause) 380 381 330 298

    COVID-19 (U07.1, U07.2)
    Deaths involving COVID-19 (any mention on the death certificate) 6,057 7,245 8,422 8,433
    of which, deaths due to COVID-19 (underlying cause) 5,367 6,510 7,592 7,610

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