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There’s ample blame to go around in teen’s COVID-19 death

By Leonard Pitts, Tribune Content Agency on

A few words on the death of Carsyn Leigh Davis.

It has become predictable that the political right always knows whom to blame for disaster. After the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Donald Trump blamed video games. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Pat Robertson blamed a pact with the devil. After the 2001 terrorist attacks, the late Jerry Falwell Sr. blamed abortion, feminists and the ACLU.

But if any prominent conservative has assigned blame for Carsyn’s death, it has escaped notice. Which is unfortunate. Because while the lines of causality they’ve drawn in previous tragedies have seemed fanciful at best, the lines leading to this one are clear and easily read.

Carsyn was a teenager from Fort Myers, Florida, who had battled health issues all her life, including cancer and a rare autoimmune disorder. Then she contracted COVID-19. This, after an event at her church.

“Service is back and better than ever!” crowed the church on social media. They billed it as a “release party.” In the blog post that brought Carsyn’s death to widespread attention, Rebekah Jones, a Florida data scientist, called it a “COVID party.” She posted a screen grab of a social-media post by Carsyn’s mother, Carole, promoting a website: dontmaskourkids.com. For the record: Jones was fired by the state in May for, she says, refusing to make changes to coronavirus data to suggest Florida was doing better than it was. She has since been keeping track on her own.

A hundred kids, unmasked, attended the June 10 party. Afterward, says Jones, Carole, “who is not a doctor,” gave Carsyn a precautionary dose of azithromycin, “an anti-bacterial drug with no known benefits for fighting COVID-19.”

 

But Carsyn got sick: headaches, sinus pressure, a cough. Carole put her on her grandfather’s oxygen machine. And she gave her hydroxychloroquine, the drug Trump touted as a possible cure, but that actual doctors say is dangerous.

Finally, Carole took her daughter to the hospital. By then, Carsyn couldn’t breathe, but for several days, Carole refused to allow a breathing tube to be inserted. Carsyn died on June 23rd — two days after her 17th birthday.

And if no one else wants to assign blame, yours truly is not reticent.

Blame the church. You don’t hold a party in a pandemic.

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