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Western mismanagement of coronavirus means the elderly are targets

Niall Ferguson

By Niall Ferguson (original source The Boston Globe)

The word “genocide” — meaning the murder of a tribe or people — was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish refugee whose family was all but obliterated in the Holocaust.

The word “senicide” — meaning the deliberate murder of the elderly — is less well known, though of older provenance. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was first used by the Victorian explorer Sir Henry Hamilton Johnston. “The ancient Sardi of Sardinia,” he wrote in 1889, “regarded it as a sacred . . . duty for the young to kill their old relations.”

Lemkin’s word caught on. Not so “senicide,” which is so rare a word that Microsoft Word’s spellcheck underlines it in red, itching to autocorrect it to “suicide.”

All that is about to change. If, as seems increasingly likely, a significant number of Western countries are going to continue mismanaging the pandemic caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 — the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, in December — then a very large number of old people are going to die before their time.

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