The Politics of Counting COVID Deaths
Whether in the U.S. or Communist China, the failure to accurately count COVID deaths has hampered public health.
There have been a couple of interesting developments recently in the ongoing COVID story. Well, they’re developments for those who unquestioningly drank the Kool-Aid that was served them by the Democrats and their bootlicking media brethren. As for the rest of us, we can dust off and break out our “I told you so” banners.
First is a recent op-ed by Washington Post columnist and CNN medical analyst Leana Wen calling out the medical community for overcounting U.S. deaths from COVID. Wen begins her piece by noting how the Centers for Disease Control’s statistics for COVID deaths don’t add up, forcing her to ask the question we’ve been asking since the start of the pandemic: How many Americans have died from COVID as opposed to dying with COVID?
The institutional elements that drive the American medical community — including the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Medical Association — glossed over this crucial distinction from the start. But it lays at the very heart of the federal government’s egregiously fumbled response to the crisis.
Hospitals across the country routinely counted a vast majority of deaths of anyone who tested positive for the novel coronavirus as having died from it. This included elderly patients who succumbed to unrelated ailments but had COVID in their system.
“Since every hospitalized patient gets tested for COVID, many are incidentally positive,” Robin Dretler, an attending physician at Georgia’s Emory Decatur Hospital, told Wen. Dretler estimated that 90% of patients at his hospital diagnosed with COVID were actually there for some other malady. The proportion of those hospitalized at Tufts Medical Center in Boston were similarly as low as 10% of the total number reported.
The danger in this sloppy overcount is that it shifts valuable healthcare resources to areas where they’re not needed. Thus, people in genuine need lack adequate care, while politicians grandstand and say that everything is being done that can possibly be done. It also interferes with efforts to combat the illness because physicians and scientists are operating with false positives and inflated numbers.
On the other side of the world, another dog-bites-man story has popped up regarding deflated COVID numbers. The Communist Chinese have been lying about the true extent of the outbreak since Day One. Until recently, the World Health Organization, the UN, and other international bodies have swallowed their propaganda as truth. We were fed the Chinese lie that COVID didn’t come from a Wuhan lab, and anyone who even suggested the Chinese were mishandling the crisis were labeled as racist.
Now the media mavens at the aforementioned Washington Post and CNN, among others, are saying that China’s death toll has been grossly underreported. Ya think? The Chinese government lifted its zero-tolerance COVID policy — which included welding shut the doors to people’s homes and restricting freedom of movement within entire cities — in December after the failure of such actions could no longer be kept secret. Chinese health officials then reported a mere 5,500 deaths nationwide in the month following the end of its draconian policy. Yeah, right.
Just last week, Jiao Yahui, head of medical affairs for China’s National Health Commission, stated that the country recorded nearly 60,000 COVID-related deaths in that same period. Try again, pal. If the Chinese couldn’t be believed before about their data, why should they be believed now? Evidence of mass funerals, crematoriums running overtime, and lines of refrigerator cars outside hospitals to store the dead are popping up on satellite imagery. Similar accounts are being secretly shared with Western media. Chinese doctors are being discouraged by government officials from listing COVID on death certificates. Some educated guesses in the West — which is all we really have — put the death toll at 9,000 per day, with an estimated 1.7 million Chinese COVID deaths expected by April.
U.S. and international condemnation of China’s underreporting and the half-hearted admission of overreporting in the U.S. are welcome. But where’s the accountability?
Wen was quick to point out in her op-ed that there was no “conspiracy theory” that hospitals were cooking the COVID books for “some nefarious purpose.” No, it was just money.
Government officials are saying the same thing about the Biden administration turning a blind eye to China’s complicity in the pandemic. Are we to believe that this was just a monumental misunderstanding? That so many health and policy experts got it all wrong? That they were justified in canceling every legitimate educated voice that merely questioned their approach?
This is an instance of what the old-timers used to call “stupid or liar.” Either these “experts” were not experts at all and were in fact way over their heads, or they deliberately engaged in obfuscation on a global scale to either hide their incompetence or increase their power over the populace.
Either way, a reckoning is called for.
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