So how many people have actually died from the coronavirus? That’s from — not with.
Those two words make a world of difference, and it appears the lack of distinction may be muddying the numbers.
Case in point: This week, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond announced that, having looked deeply into the issue, he believes only 6 of SDC’s 194 reported coronavirus deaths were actually caused by the virus.
To be clear, as reported by The Daily Wire, Jim — who wants to see the state reopen — “was seemingly ruling out deaths from individuals with preexisting conditions.”
“We’ve unfortunately had six pure, solely coronavirus deaths — six out of 3.3 million people. I mean, what number are we trying to get to with those odds? I mean, it’s incredible.”
It seems Jim believes a power grab is afoot:
“We want to be safe, and we can do it, but unfortunately, it’s more about control than getting the economy going again and keeping people safe.”
[For the above statements, listen at the 5:35 mark]:
Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten isn’t on the same page. When asked about the supervisor’s comments during the county’s daily press conference Wednesday, she appeared to suggest he was being hugely insensitive with his remarks:
“Their life is no less valuable than someone’s life who does not have underlying medical conditions. This is not just San Diego. This is how this is done throughout the entire nation in terms of identifying who has died of COVID-19.”
Subsequently, Jim clarified his thoughts in an email to the Union-Tribune:
“Any loss of life, for any reason, is worth preventing. Clearly, those with underlying circumstances are the most vulnerable. I believe we can keep people safe and responsibly open our businesses.”
Are the numbers being wildly inflated? As observed by RedState’s Joe Cunningham weeks ago, many have suggested so.
On the other hand, notes the Tribune, coronavirus task force point man Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated he believes the COVID death toll has likely been underreported.
Contrast that with this coverage over the weekend, from The Washington Post:
During a task force meeting Wednesday, a heated discussion broke out between Deborah Birx, the physician who oversees the administration’s coronavirus response, and Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. … Birx and others were frustrated with the CDC’s antiquated system for tracking virus data, which they worried was inflating some statistics — such as mortality rate and case count — by as much as 25 percent, according to four people present for the discussion or later briefed on it. Two senior administration officials said the discussion was not heated.
The Post relayed that — according to two sources — Dr. Birx lamented, “There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust.”
In April, Birx was clear in her suggestion that the U.S. was liberally labeling coronavirus deaths:
“I think in this country, we are taking a very liberal approach to mortality. And I think the reporting here has been pretty straightforward over the last five to six weeks. … If someone dies with COVID-19, we are counting that.”
Fox News quoted her at the time:
“There are other countries that if you had a pre-existing condition, and let’s say the virus caused you to go to the ICU [intensive care unit] and then have a heart or kidney problem. Some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death. … The intent is…if someone dies with COVID-19 we are counting that.”
So how many people is the virus killing? It’s very confusing. And what of fatalities related to preexisting conditions? Should those still be counted as virus deaths? After all, many would presumably still be alive, if not for COVID-19.
Moreover, of course, the death percentage is skewed by lack of sufficient testing in order to determine how many have contracted the virus altogether.
The entire issue is a mess. And on top of trying to figure out the health situation, there are surely some among the Democrats who’d like to see the country stay shut down in order to hurt Trump’s re-election effort.
What do you think of Jim Desmond’s claim? And does it matter?
I look forward to finding out in the Comments section.
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