Strangely, a mix of celebrity culture and coronavirus shows how income inequality kills ordinary people.
I started thinking of famous people coronavirus had killed and could only think of one CEO and failed Presidential candidate Herman Cain. Notably, Cain possibly died because he attended a Trump rally.
When I Googled “famous people who died of coronavirus” I found a bunch of names I’d never heard of or names it took me a few minutes to remember. That seemed odd to me because coronavirus had killed 1.246 million people worldwide and 241,560 Americans as of 6 November 2020.
The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an often fatal disease, especially for older people. Celebrities are often older than the general population, yet surprisingly few of them have died of coronavirus.
Furthermore, the media is excellent at reporting celebrity deaths. Yet I’ve heard of few famous people dying of COVID-19.
How Income Inequality Makes Coronavirus Deadlier for Ordinary People
I think the reason the celebrity death rate seems lower than the general population is obvious: income inequality.
Celebrities tend to be richer than the general population. Even minor celebrities such as B-list movie stars and second tier musicians often have more money than the general population.
Notably, famous coronavirus fatalities are usually minor celebrities with less money. For instance, character actors, band members, or former ballplayers. The top-tier celebrities such as movie stars, rock stars, and billionaires appear to be resistant to COVID-19.
The major celebrities are still alive because they can afford to shelter at home as long as necessary. People such as Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks can afford to sit around their mansions all day and take the occasional Zoom interview. Additionally, Tom and Oprah do not have go out shopping they can send a servant to Costco (NASDAQ: COST) or order everything through Amazon (AMZN).
Likewise, an aging Rock star such as Mick Jagger sits around his country house in England far from the maddening crowd. Jagger stays alive despite his age and life of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll because he has no reason to leave. Remember, the Rolling Stones cannot go on tour.
A related factor is that Tom, Oprah, and Mick can afford the best healthcare at the finest medical facilities. Few celebrities will sit around an emergency room waiting for the doctor to see them.
When celebrities get sick, top doctors will see many of them and some celebrities will receive experimental treatments before the rest of us. Remember, how fast President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida) recovered from coronavirus after receiving experimental drugs.
Meanwhile, journalists, newscasters, comedians, pod casters, CEOs, and hedge fund managers can work from home.They can easily do their jobs over Zoom or the internet.
In addition, those people have the money to pay for fast internet, and a good computer to support their remote work. Joe Rogan even built his own elaborate studio for remote podcasting.
How Income Inequality Kills
If a wealthy celebrity needs medical treatment he or she can travel to a safe world-class medical facility on a private jet. Arnold Schwarzenegger flew to the Cleveland Clinic for his recent heart surgery.
Consequently, few famous people die of coronavirus or even get it. Instead, coronavirus is a disease of ordinary people. Meatpackers and nurse’s aides die while billionaires live.
Those who get coronavirus include the bus driver, the truck driver, the supermarket cashier, the delivery person, and others who have to go to work. The so-called essential workers, the celebrity class glorifies as heroes.
Similarly, elderly celebrities can isolate in their homes because they have servants, money for Amazon deliveries, and home healthcare. Meanwhile, working and middle-class elderly get stuck in nursing homes or live with younger friends or relatives who have to go out to work every day.
Consequently, Mick Jagger and Jack Nicholson are still alive while you bury your father and your grandmother.
The sorry truth is that income inequality kills and coronavirus makes it worse. Celebrity deaths prove it. We need to deal with that reality.