Deadliness of coronavirus questioned due to counting policy

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Ambassador Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator, addresses reporters as she holds a copy of the President’s coronavirus guidelines brochure at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Monday, March 23, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

Are many of the deaths attributed to the coronavirus actually caused by other means?

That’s a question raised a British doctor, John Lee, who contends it’s still unclear just how deadly the coronavirus is, noted Rush Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated show Wednesday.

Those figures are important, because they form the basis for the unprecedented mass quarantine measures that have so severely damaged the economy.

Writing in Britain’s Spectator, Lee, a pathologist and statistician, is concerned that coronavirus is being listed as a cause of death for many people who are not dying because of it.

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Limbaugh noted that in New York and other places, there is a “shockingly low number of deaths” reported to have occurred because of other reasons.

“Like heart and cardiac arrest deaths are way down. Other standard, ordinary ways that people die every day are way, way down in New York — and the doctors are scratching their heads trying to figure it out,” Limbaugh said.

“What’s happening? And they’re coming up with all kinds of wild guesses. ‘Well, maybe people are dying in their homes and we don’t know why.'”

Limbaugh believes that what is happening is that “as many deaths as reasonably can be are being chalked up to COVID-19.”

Is the government playing games with the way coronavirus deaths are counted?

He noted that at Tuesday’s briefing at the White House, Dr. Deborah Birx admitted that the White House is relying on figures that count people with underlying health conditions as a death from coronavirus.

“We’ve taken a very liberal approach to mortality,” Birx said.

Limbaugh noted the word “with.”

“If you die ‘with it’ but not ‘because of it,’ they’re still counting it as a COVID-19 death,” he said. “If you die due to COVID-19, it’s a COVID-19 death. If you have it but die from something else, they’re still chalking it up as a COVID-19 death, and she admitted that.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Scott Jensen, a Minnesota physician and state senator, said in an interview with KXJB-TV in Fargo, North Dakota, that he received a seven-page document from the Minnesota Department of Health advising him to fill out death certificates with a diagnosis of COVID-19, even if the person didn’t die of the disease.

Jensen said he’s asked the health department to disclose the assumptions behind its death numbers.

“I think people are starting to say, ‘Hold it now. We need to have a deeper understanding of this, and we’re not getting it,” he said.

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