As the “official” tally of COVID-19 deaths tops 100,000 in the U.S., we keep hearing how that number is likely a low-ball estimate. But there’s far more evidence that the death count has been knowingly exaggerated – possibly by a very wide margin.
A recent Seattle Times article pretty much lays out the charade going on.
The headline reads: “Washington state’s actual coronavirus death toll may be higher than current tallies, health officials say.”
But the story itself leads one to the exact opposite conclusion.
Well down in the article, the reporter reveals that:
“The rapid onslaught of this coronavirus forced officials to part from their normal process of counting deaths. … Their goal was to get the data out as quickly as possible, ‘in near-real time so immediate decisions could be made to protect the health of Washingtonians.’”
The story goes on to say that the state’s dashboard “reflects anyone who died, that tested positive for COVID, irrespective of cause of death.” (Emphasis added.)
Basically, the state has been matching up the names of those who died this year with a database containing names of people who tested positive for COVID-19.
A review of the data by the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation found that of all the deaths attributed to the virus, 5% didn’t list COVID-19 as the cause of death on their death certificates. Another 13% involved people who had at one time tested positive for the disease, but the virus wasn’t “listed on death certificates as either causing or contributing to death.” Five of the state’s “coronavirus deaths” actually died from gunshot wounds.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s reaction to the Freedom Foundation report was to accuse the group of trafficking in conspiracy theories “from the planet Pluto.”
The Freedom Foundation findings came after Colorado’s public health department was forced to admit that nearly a quarter of those listed as dying from COVID-19 didn’t have the disease listed on their death certificates.
“The death figure CDPHE has been providing for weeks is more accurately described as the number of people with COVID-19 who have died – for any reason,” noted the Colorado Sun.
To its credit, Colorado now tracks two numbers: the broader count of people who died and had tested positive for COVID-19 (currently 1,352), and those whose deaths were “due to” the virus, which is 18% lower at 1,114.
Guess which Colorado number shows up on the dashboards, such as Worldometer, that everyone is tracking. That’s right, the inflated 1,352 figure.
In late April, Pennsylvania removed more than 200 deaths from its count – which amounted to 12% reduction at the time – after reviewing the data.
Assuming that all states are tallying numbers the way these states had been, the national count is almost certainly off by a very wide margin – possibly in the tens of thousands.
The reaction from public health officials to this is to basically say, “Who cares?” In their view, it’s always better to overcount deaths than undercount, because that way people will take the outbreak seriously.
Michael Fumento, writing for Just The News, quotes a former World Health Organization epidemiologist who said that inflating such numbers was routine, and called it beating the numbers up. “‘We did it consciously. I think all of us at that time thought that the beat-ups were more than justified, they were necessary’ to get donors and governments to care,” Fumento writes.
“Beating up” the numbers might be acceptable to public health officials, but for the country as a whole it is turning out to be a complete disaster. If the death toll from COVID-19 is actually in the range of 75,000, then it’s more like a bad seasonal flu than an epidemic requiring a once-thriving economy to shut down.
And as we pointed out in this space, the cost of the lockdown in lives could easily be higher — and possibly much higher — than the deaths attributed to the virus.
Democrats keep bleating about how we must follow the science when deciding when and how to reopen the economy. We’d like to know what’s scientific about knowingly inflating numbers just to get people “to care.”
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board.