There’s a reason why some people believe government officials are exaggerating the number of COVID-19 fatalities.
One problem is the hodgepodge way states tally those numbers, Fox News has found.
Some states count presumed coronavirus deaths along with confirmed cases under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance issued last month. Other states don’t count those deaths.
Deaths have been classified as a COVID-19 death even after a physician or loved ones reported otherwise. And those who died “with” COVID-19 have been included in the count with those who died “of” COVID-19.
“I think a lot of clinicians are putting that condition (COVID-19) on death certificates when it might not be accurate because they died with coronavirus and not of coronavirus,” Macomb County, Mich., Chief Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz in an interview with the Ann Arbor News last month.
“Are they entirely accurate? No,” Spitz said. “Are people dying of it? Absolutely. Are people dying of other things and coronavirus is maybe getting credit? Yeah, probably.”
The doctor also said he believes there are people who died of COVID-19, but weren’t counted. Determining a COVID-19 death is based on each doctor’s best clinical impression and that varies, he said.
“There’s no uniformity,” he said.
The debate over whether the COVID-19 death count has been exaggerated has intensified as deaths from the virus continue to rise at a steady and alarming rate.
As of Friday, there were 85,974 deaths due to COVID-19 in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was reporting 83,947 COVID-19 deaths on Friday.
On Wednesday, a report said President Trump and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force are pushing the CDC to revise the way it counts coronavirus deaths. That change could lead to far fewer deaths being counted.
Trump has privately questioned the number of COVID-19 deaths as the death toll surpassed the 80,000 mark this week, suggesting it may be incorrect or inflated by the current methodology, the Daily Beast reported.
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