Cooking the Books on COVID-19 Deaths
Fox News, and other cable networks, run a COVID death count ticker on the side or bottom of the television screen just as they show the major stock indices during the business day. Why are they so obsessed with deaths from the Chinese virus?
Most peoples’ moods are already melancholic over the unending economic shutdown, along with social distancing, masks, and restrictions on movement and assembly not normally seen in free societies. Why don’t news networks show a tally of recovered patients rather than deaths?
Aside from the morbid, “If it bleeds, it leads” mantra that guides much news reporting, the media wants to pin each death on the tail of President Trump. Twitter has a #TrumpDeathCount hashtag to blame every single death on the president, the more the merrier. This is ahead of the fall presidential campaign where Democrats will attempt to blame the entire Wuhan virus mess on Trump, from the economic devastation to the total number of deaths.
If more deaths are better for the Democrat and media narrative, expect to see inflated death counts, erroneously blaming non-virus deaths on the virus. The left is practiced at this since every type of extreme weather, from rain to snow, heat to cold, hurricanes to tornadoes, is blamed on global warming or climate change, depending on which term fits the weather in question.
As states and cities reopen, expect each new death to be trumpeted by the media, with panel discussion by “experts” discussing Trump’s recklessness and disregard for American lives.
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Dr. Deborah Birx, has already noticed and it’s no coincidence that major media outlets are in no hurry to interview her lest she let the death count cat out of the bag. At a meeting in early May the Washington Post reported,
"There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust," she told CDC Director Robert Redfield, two people familiar with the meeting told the newspaper.
The Post reported that Birx and others feared that the CDC's data-tracking system was inflating coronavirus statistics like mortality rates and case numbers by up to 25%.
That’s a deep state insider’s estimate. Want to bet it’s far more than 25 percent?
Aside from politics, one can also follow the money. Attaching COVID to a diagnosis taps into Uncle Sam’s money tree. As USAToday described,
Hospital administrators might well want to see COVID-19 attached to a discharge summary or a death certificate. Why? Because if it's a straightforward, garden-variety pneumonia that a person is admitted to the hospital for – if they're Medicare – typically, the diagnosis-related group lump sum payment would be $5,000. But if it's COVID-19 pneumonia, then it's $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000.
Let’s look at some specific examples where government officials are playing footloose and fancy free with death counts. New York provides a good example, which might explain why the NY metro area is responsible for almost half of COVID deaths in the U.S.
In mid-April the NYC death count spiked. Not because the virus mutated into a more dangerous form, but instead due to bureaucratic malpractice. As the New York Times reported,
New York City, already a world epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, sharply increased its death toll by more than 3,700 victims on Tuesday, after officials said they were now including people who had never tested positive for the virus but were presumed to have died of it.
A one day increase in 3700 deaths? This was not due to the virus but instead to cooking the books, or death based on presumption. How’s that for good science? Those screeching the loudest about hydroxychloroquine and anecdotal evidence are happy to “presume” the cause of death, a far lower standard than even anecdotal evidence.
For the left, this is perfectly normal. Both unseasonably cold and hot weather are “presumed” due to climate change.
President Trump is “presumed” to have colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton, despite the complete lack of evidence, and now emerging picture that Obama and his goons conspired together and with foreign governments to seditiously undermine and overthrow the Trump presidency.
The svelte Stacey Abrams “presumes” herself to be the governor of Georgia and Joe Biden’s running mate, despite the contrary reality.
Death occurs in only a limited number of ways, specifically some combination of the lungs and heart failing. Having a fever or cough at the time of death doesn’t mean COVID caused the death, particularly if the patient already had other serious medical problems.
Even a positive COVID-19 test doesn’t mean the person died “from” COVID, rather than “with” COVID. Someone who drank a beer or smoked some marijuana and then a few hours later had a fatal accident, might test positive or these substances in their blood but may not have been impaired. In fact, the accident may be the fault of someone else and the death would not be blamed on alcohol or marijuana simply because it was in their system. With COVID-19 it would, as these examples illustrate.
In Washington, anyone testing positive for COVID-19 is included in the COVID death count. This includes 5 deaths due to gunshot wounds, which were counted as COVID deaths.
In Colorado, a man died of alcohol poisoning, seven times the legal limit, yet he was classified as a COVID death simply because he tested positive for the Wuhan virus.
Is any of this about the virus? Or is it about money, power, and the November election? Is this about safety or an excuse for legalized election fraud via mail-in ballots? Is this a way to keep ObamaGate and Biden-Ukraine corruption out of the news? All with the DNC media parroting the anti-Trump narrative they have been fed.
Exaggerated death counts are fear porn, keeping people scared. What a good excuse to prevent Trump rallies and to keep Sleepy Joe Biden locked away in his basement away from scrutiny. Except of course when he is telling blacks, “You ain’t black” if they wander off the Democrat plantation.
ObamaGate sedition revelations are creating a great awakening and Trump’s approval numbers remain strong. The left has played all their cards, each one trumped by one of Trump’s cards. As Q says, is it a PAN-DEM-IC or DEM-PANIC? Inflated death counts are Democrats’ latest gambit to shift the narrative, one they lost long ago.
Brian C. Joondeph, M.D., is a Denver-based physician and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, Rasmussen Reports, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and QuodVerum.