UPDATE: 8:35 pm
The Washington Post reports:
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.
“There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,” Birx said, according to two of the people.
The flare-up came two days after it was reported that an internal government model, based on data from the CDC and other agencies, projected the daily death count would rise to 3,000 by June 1.
As of Sunday at 4 pm, the official U.S. death toll from COVID-19 stands at 80,500.
Disagreement over the accuracy of this number is heating up and opinions appear to be tied to where one sits on the political spectrum.
Last week, a group of doctors working on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus expressed concern that the number of deaths in the U.S. may be inflated. Some said they feel pressured to record COVID-19 as the cause of death if a patient who clearly has other medical issues is “suspected” of having been infected.
Just the News spoke to clinical researcher Dr. Jonathan Fishbein, who says the CDC, the NIAID, and the WHO have “issued vague if not misguided recommendations that unfortunately have been adopted by national, state and local leaders…It is absolutely critical that we have accurate data to support decision-makers. If the data in our assessments included patients who have not definitively tested positive for COVID-19, that provides misleading information to policy-makers.
Creating an independent survey to collect evidence to evaluate risk factors and treatments for COVID-19, with the expectation of more accurately recording causes of death.
The reporting tool was developed by Veracuity and the survey is being conducted in partnership with the Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES).
New codes and guidelines were issued by the CDC in early April.
The guidelines state: (emphasis mine)
The underlying cause depends upon what and where conditions are reported on the death certificate. However, the rules for coding and selection of the underlying cause of death are expected to result in COVID- 19 being the underlying cause more often than not.
Additionally, the guidelines state: (emphasis CDC’s)
COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death. Certifiers should include as much detail as possible based on their knowledge of the case, medical records, laboratory testing, etc.If the decedent had other chronic conditions such as COPD or asthma that may have also contributed, these conditions can be reported in Part II.
(The guidelines can be read in full here.)
Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson noted in a tweet, “Under the new Guidance, any death which COVID-19 “caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to” will be counted as a coronavirus death. He explains that “other possibly relevant factors, like, oh, COPD, are considered secondary.” Berenson adds, “Confirmed lab tests are not required.”
So, how often is a death from heart disease, cancer, influenza, or something else, recorded as a coronavirus death? Probably more often than we think.
Another factor leading to padded numbers is that hospitals receive more compensation for taking care of COVID-19 patients.
I asked one of my readers, a physician, who wishes to remain anonymous, if he thinks the numbers have been inflated.
He replied, “What we do know is that when the government compensates healthcare providers for taking care of a malady, that malady increases in incidence. This is a law more certain than gravity. And so, the number of deaths in the United States has been inflated.”
The other reason, he said, is that “your government has been bought and co-opted by powerful forces, principally from Palo Alto, who don’t believe in a republic, who do believe in fascism and who would desire to implement a feudalistic renter’s paradise in the United States of America.”
Assuming that the lockdown is being applied uniformly, it should be applying constant pressure to the growth and diminishment of the coronavirus.
What we should therefore see is a smoother curve as the virus first gains steam and then loses steam as immunity kicks in to decrease the R0 value naturally. What we shouldn’t see is a prolonged peak or a double peak.
If the deaths do not follow a smoother, more regular curve, it can only come about by certain means.
It could come about if we suddenly injected more people into the population. It could also come about if we, according to their logic, relaxed the lockdown.
Finally, it could also come about if we decided to attach more diagnoses of coronavirus to people.
Well, we know that New York City and upper New Jersey did not receive a sudden influx of people. We know that the lockdown has stayed the same. This leaves us logically with the third option which is that the number of coronavirus deaths is being increased artificially.
The people my reader refers to from Palo Alto, who control the government, are pumping the number of coronavirus deaths so as to cause the maximal amount of fear in society. The more fear they can produce, the greater economic damage they can cause.
He adds that “Dr. Fauci makes outrageous predictions; the numbers are pumped to meet those predictions; Dr. Fauci makes even more outrageous predictions.”
And he believes as many as 30,000 extra deaths have been attributed to COVID-19. “The 80/20 rule would dictate 20% or 15,000 extra deaths. A regular cheater would pad no more than 20% of the deaths because he doesn’t want to get caught. An aristocrat is in another league. He will cheat well beyond propriety because he knows he’ll never be punished for his crimes. I put the aristocrat at 40% or 30,000 extra deaths.”
Axios reported a source told them last week that President Trump and several members of his administration believe that the actual numbers of COVID-19 deaths are lower than the numbers being reported. I believe he has said as much publicly. It should be noted that Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx disagree with President Trump on this issue.
I am convinced the numbers have been inflated. Further, the frequently reported overreach by state and local government officials, mostly Democrats, tells us this is exactly how they want it to be. I think it’s pretty clear that the left is using the pandemic as an opportunity to push their radical agenda.
As you would expect, the left refers to these concerns as a conspiracy theory. This morning, Forbes reported that “A growing number of conservatives (especially fringe sites like Alex Jones’ Infowars) are embracing a conspiracy that government-approved death tolls are inflated for various political reasons—and some reports suggest President Trump will soon endorse the murky theory as well.” It goes on to list Fox News’ Brit Hume, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sebastian Gorka, as well as the ubiquitous Dr. Scott Jensen, among the conspiracists.
On Saturday, The New York Times argued that the disagreement on the death toll may open a “grim new front in the election battle. Elements of the right have sought to bolster President Trump’s political standing by turning scientific questions into political issues.” This appears right next to an editorial which contends the dismissal of the Michael Flynn case turned the rule of law on its head.