How Many COVID Fatalities Died In The Prime of Their Careers?
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A question that is still largely unanswered about the large death toll from the coronavirus is how much have we lost in terms of societal contribution from people with the prime of their careers still ahead of them.

For example, will anybody write a famous song about the young geniuses struck down by COVID the way “American Pie” commemorates the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, age 22, and Ritchie “La Bamba” Valens, then only 17 and on a trajectory to perhaps be the most famous Mexican-American ever.

Here’s the current version of Wikipedia’s

List of deaths due to COVID-19

This is a list of notable people who have died from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), as a result of infection by the virus SARS-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This article is about deaths of notable people. …This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.

I think their working definition of “notable” is having a Wikipedia page already, although I can’t confirm that. This list appears to be updated about a half dozen times per day, so it’s not abandoned. How complete it is, I don’t know, but it seems complete for the famous cases I can recall.

One of my usual analytical techniques from the bag of tricks I’ve assembled over the decades is to check out my theories against other people’s lists which they assembled for purposes not related to my theory. That way I can’t be accused of cherry-picking my data. (Of course, I still am accused of cherry-picking …)

Below are the 167 more or less American deaths. The table is organized by country of death, so I’m counting everybody who died in the U.S, plus a small number of people whose place of death was not recorded but who are described as Americans. There are a handful of Americans who died abroad whom I am not including because it would have been more work than it was worth.

The lists include live links to the Wikipedia page of the dead person and the Ref. column takes you to a footnote linking you to a news account of the death. So you can read up on the individuals, perhaps find a picture, see what they’ve been doing lately, and do your own analyses.

If you aren’t American, I encourage you to do your own analysis for the country you know best.

Among these 167 deaths, the mean age of death was 78.6 and the median age was 83.0.

These are not, on the whole, hugely famous people. I think I recognized 15 of the 167 names, and I’m reasonably well informed. Many of them were never celebrities but instead high achievers in low profile fields like nephrology or corporate law, or obscure figures in more publicized fields like sports or music.

What strikes me is that only a few of them were struck down in the prime of their careers. Actor Nick Cordero was 41 and working steadily, songwriter Adam Schlesinger was 52 and had recently done excellent work for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Herman Cain was 74 and still doing Herman Cain stuff. But your take on this data may differ from mine:

Name Age Occupation Ref. Date
Chris Trousdale 34 Actor and singer [499] 2-Jun
Lynika Strozier 35 Biologist [511] 7-Jun
Fred the Godson 35 DJ and rapper [364] 23-Apr
Nick Cordero 41 Canadian actor [567] 5-Jul
Bruce Williamson 49 Lead singer of The Temptations [686] 6-Sep
Nashom Wooden 50 Drag queen [68] 23-Mar
Ken Snow 50 Soccer player [543] 21-Jun
Anick Jesdanun 51 Technology reporter and editor, first internet writer for the Associated Press [161] 2-Apr
Troy Sneed 52 Gospel musician [388] 27-Apr
Adam Schlesinger 52 Songwriter, member of Fountains of Wayne [152] 1-Apr
Morris Hood III 54 Member of the Michigan Senate (2010–2018) and Michigan House of Representatives (2002–2008) [451] 12-May
Mike Huckaby 54 Deep house DJ [369] 24-Apr
Maria Mercader 54 Television news producer and journalist [117] 29-Mar
Reggie Bagala 54 Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives (since 2020) [240] 9-Apr
Olan Montgomery 56 Actor and artist [192] 4-Apr
Brian Axsmith 57 Paleobotanist and ecology professor [423] 5-May
Scott Erskine 57 Serial killer [562] 3-Jul
Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejía 57 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee [367] 24-Apr
Ceybil Jefferies 57 House and R&B vocalist [251] 10-Apr
Orlando McDaniel 59 American football player [100] 27-Mar
Floyd Cardoz 59 Chef and television personality [82] 25-Mar
Lorena Borjas 59 Mexican American transgender and immigrant rights activist [124] 30-Mar
Wallace Roney 59 Jazz trumpeter [141] 31-Mar
H. G. Carrillo 59 Novelist [344] 20-Apr
Joe Diffie 61 Country singer [115] 29-Mar
Tootie Robbins 62 American football player [634] 2-Aug
James Mahoney 62 Pulmonologist and internist [384] 27-Apr
Howard Schoenfield 62 Tennis player [576] 8-Jul
Maurice Berger 63 Chief curator of the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture [56] 23-Mar
Justa Barrios 63 American home care worker and labor organizer [406] 2 May[a]
Cristina Monet-Palaci 64 Musician [139] 31-Mar
Hal Willner 64 Music producer [231] 7-Apr
David Owen Brooks 65 Convicted murderer, accomplice to serial killer Dean Corll [491] 28-May
Brahm Kanchibhotla 66 Journalist [206] 6-Apr
Noach Dear 66 Justice of the New York Supreme Court (since 2015) [337] 19-Apr
Jerry Givens 67 Executioner and anti-death penalty advocate [280] 13-Apr
Pearson Jordan 69 Barbadian Olympic Sprinter [108] 28-Mar
Mark Blum 69 Actor [81] 25-Mar
Alan Merrill 69 Lead singer of Arrows and songwriter [118] 29-Mar
Philip Foglia 69 Lawyer, civic activist and advocate for Italian American rights issues [351] 21-Apr
Kamala 70 Professional wrestler [648] 9-Aug
Michael Sorkin 71 Architect and critic [93] 26-Mar
Riad Ismat 72 Minister of Culture of Syria (2010–2012) [456] 13-May
Alan Finder 72 Journalist [74] 24-Mar
John Prine 73 Singer and songwriter [225] 7-Apr
Tom Dempsey 73 American football player [185] 4-Apr
James T. Goodrich 73 Professor of Neurosurgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine [126] 30-Mar
Herman Cain 74 Business executive, writer, 2012 Presidential candidate and political activist [626] 30-Jul
Bhakti Charu Swami 74 Indian spiritual teacher (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) [563] 4-Jul
William B. Helmreich 74 Professor of Sociology at The Graduate Center, CUNY [106] 28-Mar
Ted Monette 74 FEMA Director of the Office of Federal Coordinating Officer Operations [129] 30-Mar
Bob Glanzer 74 Member of the South Dakota House of Representatives (since 2017) [174] 3-Apr
Tom Seaver 75 Hall of Fame baseball player [676] 31-Aug
Arthur Whistler 75 Professor of Ethnobotany at the University of Hawaii [170] 2-Apr
Roy Horn 75 Member of Siegfried & Roy, stage magician and lion tamer [438] 8-May
Brandis Kemp 76 Actress [564] 4-Jul
Madeline Kripke 76 Book collector [374] 25-Apr
Carole Brookins 76 Executive director of the World Bank (2001–2005) [58] 23-Mar
Patrick Ellis 77 Radio personality [596] 16-Jul
Allen Daviau 77 Cinematographer (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun) [302] 15-Apr
Muhammad Sirajul Islam 77 Member of the Jatiya Sangsad (1973–1982) [191] 4-Apr
Stanley Chera 77 Real estate executive [259] 11-Apr
Burton Rose 77 Nephrologist [368] 24-Apr
Bernie Juskiewicz 77 Member of the Vermont House of Representatives (2013–2019) [236] 8-Apr
Dobby Dobson 78 Jamaican reggae singer and record producer [613] 21-Jul
Adlin Mair-Clarke 78 Jamaican Olympic sprinter and hurdler [211] 6-Apr
Robert H. Garff 78 Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives (1985–1987) [116] 29-Mar
Stephen Schwartz 78 Professor of pathology at University of Washington [33] 17-Mar
Stephen Susman 79 Attorney [594] 14-Jul
Rick May 79 Canadian-American voice actor and theatrical performer, director and teacher [239] 8-Apr
Allen Garfield 80 Actor [216] 7-Apr
Steve Dalkowski 80 Baseball player [336] 19-Apr
Wilhelm Burmann 80 German-born ballet master and teacher [132] 30-Mar
Frank A. Howard 81 Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives (2008–2020) [621] 27-Jul
John Pfahl 81 Photographer [308] 15-Apr
Bob Lazier 81 Race car driver [332] 18-Apr
Frank Cullotta 81 Mobster and movie consultant [666] 20-Aug
Terrence McNally 81 Playwright and screenwriter [75] 24-Mar
Thomas Kunz 81 American biologist [282] 13-Apr
Dennis G. Peters 82 Electrochemist [285] 13-Apr
Marv Luster 82 American CFL player [487] 25-May
John Horton Conway 82 British mathematician [260] 11-Apr
Bootsie Barnes 82 Jazz saxophonist [362] 22-Apr
Daniel S. Kemp 83 Organic chemist [409] 2-May
Denis Farkasfalvy 83 Hungarian-born Cistercian abbot and theologian [477] 20-May
Mike Longo 83 Jazz pianist [55] 22-Mar
Trini Lopez 83 Singer and actor [652] 11-Aug
Mary J. Wilson 83 First African-American senior zookeeper at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore [478] 21-May
Robert Beck 83 Olympic pentathlete and fencer [171] 2-Apr
Stephen F. Williams 83 Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (since 1986) [644] 7-Aug
Michael McKinnell 84 Architect [101] 27-Mar
David Boe 84 Organist [390] 28-Apr
Gil Bailey 84 Jamaican radio broadcaster [278] 13-Apr
Henry Grimes 84 Jazz bassist [303] 15-Apr
Milena Jelinek 84 Czech-American screenwriter [306] 15-Apr
Giuseppi Logan 84 Jazz musician [320] 17-Apr
Jack Taylor 84 Member of the Colorado Senate (2000–2008) and House of Representatives (1992–2000) [352] 21-Apr
Rabbi Yehudah Jacobs 84 Mashgiach ruchani at Beth Medrash Govoha [383] 27-Apr
Robert M. Laughlin 85 Anthropologist and linguist. Preserver of the Tzotzil language [493] 28-May
Emilio Allué 85 Spanish-born auxiliary bishop emeritus of Boston [377] 26-Apr
Ellis Marsalis Jr. 85 Jazz pianist [149] 1-Apr
Gene Shay 85 Disc jockey [325] 17-Apr
Nicholas Rinaldi 86 Poet and novelist [490] 27-May
Patricia Bosworth 86 Actress and author [155] 2-Apr
Arlene Stringer-Cuevas 86 Member of the New York City Council (1976–1977) [181] 3-Apr
Joel M. Reed 86 Filmmaker and screenwriter [271] 12-Apr
Iris Love 86 Archaeologist and dog breeder [321] 17-Apr
Jack Lotz 86 Wrestling referee [333] 18-Apr
Bennie G. Adkins 86 United States Army soldier and recipient of the Medal of Honor [317] 17-Apr
Dick Lucas 86 American football player [395] 29-Apr
Kevin Duffy 87 Judge for the U.S. District Court for Southern New York (1972–1998) [146] 1-Apr
Lila Fenwick 87 Chief of the United Nations Human Rights Council [188] 4-Apr
Jim Cross 87 Ice hockey player and coach [407] 2-May
Joel Rogosin 87 Television producer and writer (The Virginian, Ironside, Magnum, P.I.) [355] 21-Apr
David Driskell 88 Visual artist and academic [145] 1-Apr
Bill Mack 88 American singer, songwriter, and radio host [627][628] 31-Jul
Julie Bennett 88 Voice actor [133] 31-Mar
Leib Groner 88 Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi [218] 7-Apr
Teruyuki Okazaki 88 Japanese karate master [354] 21-Apr
Donald Kennedy 88 Scientist, public administrator, and academic [353] 21-Apr
Yu Lihua 88 Chinese-American writer [401] 1-May
Helen Damico 89 Scholar of Old English literature [291] 14-Apr
Ken Farnum 89 Barbadian-born Jamaican Olympic cyclist [187] 4-Apr
Helène Aylon 89 Ecofeminist artist [203] 6-Apr
Yaakov Perlow 89 Hasidic rabbi [224] 7-Apr
Leila Benitez-McCollum 89 Filipino-American television and radio host [232] 8-Apr
Henry Miller 89 Lawyer and jurist [314] 16-Apr
Arlene Saunders 89 Operatic soprano [323] 17-Apr
Felicia F. Campbell 89 Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas [619] 27-Jul
Chaim Dov Keller 90 Haredi rabbi [663] 17-Aug
Margit Feldman 90 Holocaust survivor [294] 14-Apr
Kenneth Church 90 Canadian born Thoroughbred racing jockey [591] 13-Jul
Lee Fierro 91 Actress [199] 5-Apr
Romi Cohn 91 Czechoslovakian-born American rabbi and real estate developer [70] 24-Mar
Dietmar Seyferth 91 German-born American chemist [508][509] 6-Jun
Ann Sullivan 91 Animator [289] 13-Apr
Walter Robb 91 Engineer [65] 23-Mar
Wilson Roosevelt Jerman 91 White House butler to 11 U.S. presidents [466] 16-May
Alan Abel 91 Percussionist and music educator [371] 25-Apr
William H. Gerdts 91 American art historian [295] 14-Apr
Ralph McGehee 92 Intelligence officer [410] 2-May
Tommy DeVito 92 Musician, founding member of The Four Seasons [709] 21-Sep
Arnold Demain 92 Professor of Industrial Microbiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [172] 3-Apr
Aaron Rubashkin 92 Businessman [166] 2-Apr
Lee Konitz 92 Jazz composer and alto saxophonist [307] 15-Apr
Motoko Fujishiro Huthwaite 92 Preservationist (Monuments Men) [421] 4-May
Benjamin Levin 93 Lithuanian-born Israeli partisan and Holocaust survivor [283] 13-Apr
Bill Pursell 94 Composer [680] 3-Sep
William Wolf 94 Film and theater critic [111] 28-Mar
Beryl Bernay 94 Journalist and children’s television creator [112] 29-Mar
Ella King Russell Torrey 94 Human rights activist and aide to Eleanor Roosevelt [299] 14-Apr
Bucky Pizzarelli 94 Jazz guitarist [151] 1-Apr
Forrest Compton 94 Actor [184] 4-Apr
Richard Passman 94 Aeronautical engineer and space scientist [150] 1-Apr
Stephen Sulyk 95 Ukrainian Catholic Archeparch emeritus of Philadelphia [209] 6-Apr
Martin S. Fox 95 American publisher [234] 8-Apr
Trần Ngọc Châu 96 Vietnamese soldier and politician [533] 17-Jun
Meyer Rubin 96 Geologist [413] 2-May
Roy Lester 96 American football player and coach [418] 3-May
Helen Jones Woods 96 Musician [617] 25-Jul
Wynn Handman 97 Artistic director [261] 11-Apr
Nina Popova 97 Ballet dancer [643] 7-Aug
Henry Graff 98 Historian [217] 7-Apr
Annie Glenn 100 Disability rights advocate and widow of John Glenn [471] 19-May
Steve dePyssler 101 United States Air Force colonel [615] 25-Jul
Henrietta Boggs 102 First Lady of Costa Rica (1948–1949) [688] 9-Sep
Katherine B. Hoffman 105 Chemist [604] 18-Jul
Count 167      
Mean 78.6      
Median 83      

What do you think?

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