In Michigan, things look to be unfortunately moving in the same direction as New York in terms of how the state has handled the COVID-19 crisis and how we have treated our elderly.
As a brief refresher, here is what I covered last week with this story on legal action that reporter Charlie LeDuff and the Mackinac Center are taking against the State of Michigan and Gov. Whitmer. Below is what LeDuff announced at the time. Pulitzer Winning Journalist Announces COVID Death Count Lawsuit Against Michigan Governor
The Whitmer administration has not fulfilled my request or our request on the No Bullshit News Hour for COVID death data that may shed light on the true extent of the nursing home devastation. This, in my opinion, is a violation of state law, and more so and this is not an opinion, it is a danger and a disservice to our institutionalized elders who have borne the brunt of the suffering and continue to bear it. (Guv) Cuomo in New York is now under Federal investigation, a second one apparently for misleading the public whose nursing home playbook was copied by (Guv) Whitmer. This in the aftermath of an investigation conducted by the office of the New York State Attorney General, a democrat.
LeDuff has now released an interview with “Jessica” whose identity is hidden for her protection and she claims that at the care facility where she worked, the deaths they were reporting were undercounted by the State.
LeDuff: Jessica, you were the director of nursing. You were charged with tracking deaths and where your patients went correct?
LeDuff: Ok, explain how that worked and we are not going to name your facility, cause you still gotta work. You left mid-summer, how did it work how many dead from COVID did you report to the state?
Jessica: We reported 24 deaths, that is not the number on any site that you are going to see.
LeDuff: Let me do this, so it was 24 when you left 6 months ago, 8 months ago, 9 months ago whatever, and what did it say on the website that the state had up like when we looked?
Jessica: Oh, half.
LeDuff: About 12, so what happened to half of the deaths? This is the lawsuit. How did you report it and how did you track them?
Jessica: In March and April we were reporting to the county health department. We were calling them and we were faxing them, the form that we completed. Then the state became involved in May, then they had a spreadsheet that we would put their birthday, who they were when they were admitted, what their symptoms were when they were first COVID, and then if they went to the hospital. This was sent for each new case and then at the end of the week on Friday. We would also report on there if they died in the hospital.
LeDuff: So the state has it, at least if there was someone like you that wanted to do her job it is quite easy for a nursing home to not even bother with that, is that true?
Jessica: Yeah, you know if there was an oversight and so we didn’t, and someone didn’t take it seriously or didn’t do what they were supposed to do that could be the case. We reported everything.
LeDuff: All of a sudden half of it disappeared.
The state, since the beginning of their reporting of deaths, has done a “Vital Records Review” which has an asterisk that includes deaths that did not actually happen in the previous day’s numbers. Those numbers are added to the overall totals but there is no way of knowing how this is done yet and that is one of the reasons for the LeDuff FOIA lawsuit.
After watching the mess unfold in New York, the best thing to do for Michigan and its citizens is to release the numbers, take the criticism and move on. The cover-up and the nonsense that goes on with it is always the worst road traveled for anyone in a political office. Hopefully, the state leaders realize this sooner rather than later.
You can follow Charlie LeDuff and his show and columns right HERE.