The recorded fatalities that have resulted from the coronavirus are no doubt tragic- but how accurate are they?
Insight provided by the Director of the Illinois Public Health Department now sheds light on what was once aggressively debunked as a “conspiracy theory,” and raises questions as to just how many COVID-19-tagged deaths were actually due to the virus.
Ngozi O. Ezike, the Medical Doctor who leads the way at Illinois’ Public Health Department, claimed that just because a person’s cause of death was listed as “coronavirus,” they may not really be the reason the individual died.
In the doctor’s own words, the deaths of individuals who died while infected with/exposed to coronavirus are being written off as coronavirus-related deaths, despite the actual cause of death.
“The case definition is very simplistic,” she said during a press conference. “It means at the time of death, it was a COVID-positive diagnosis. That means that if you were in hospice, and had already been given a few weeks to live..then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death.”
Dr. Ezike went on to say that the listing of the deaths don’t always match what actually happened.
“Technically, even if you died of a clear alternate cause, but you had COVID at the same time, it’s still listed as a COVID death.”
The information is nothing new, though it has been repeatedly denounced by those who feel the “mislisting” practice is little more than a “conspiracy theory.”
Despite this, the White House has also touched upon the issue, confirming what Dr. Ezike said.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, noted that the federal government was continuing to count deaths in a similar manner.
“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,” she said during a White House Briefing in April. “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.”
The Centers for Disease Control guidelines even state that it is “acceptable” to report deaths as COVID related, despite having definitive proof.
“In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID–19 cannot be made, but it is suspected or likely (e.g., the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty), it is acceptable to report COVID–19 on a death certificate as ‘probable’ or ‘presumed’,” the agency advises. “In these instances, certifiers should use their best clinical judgment in determining if a COVID–19 infection was likely.”
As death tolls continue to rise, guidelines continue to flip-flop inconsistently and media reports continue to create more questions than answers in many cases, perhaps it is most prudent to exercise caution with a healthy dose of skepticism until a final determination can be made.
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