Report: President Trump, top aides questioning if COVID-19 death toll inflated
Reportedly, President Donald Trump and top aides are questioning behind the scenes if the COVID-19 death toll in the United States is inflated.
On Wednesday, Axios reported:
“President Trump complained to advisers about the way coronavirus deaths are being calculated, suggesting the real numbers are actually lower — and a number of his senior aides share this view, according to sources with direct knowledge.”
A senior White House official said that the president's questions weren't simply "skepticism,"and he cited the inclusion of presumed deaths that haven't been tested for COVID-19 yet for why the questioning is happening, as it is for many Americans.
“Skepticism isn’t the right way to frame it. The numbers have been revised up to include presumptive cases — meaning deaths that are believed to be related to COVID but not known for sure,” the official said to Axios.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the leader of the White House coronavirus task force, explained last month that U.S. COVID-19 deaths have recording guidance that is "very liberal," saying that anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus and happens to die while being infected will automatically be included in the death toll.
“I think in this country, we are taking a very liberal approach to mortality,” Dr. Birx stated at the press briefing. “And I think the reporting here has been pretty straightforward over the last five to six weeks. … If someone dies with COVID-19, we are counting that.”
“There are other countries, that if you have a pre-existing condition, and let’s say the virus called you to go to the ICU (intensive care unit) and then have a heart or kidney problem,” Dr. Birx would explain. “Some countries are recording that as a kidney issue, or a heart issue, and not a COVID-19 death.”
Dr. Birx suggested that "we're still recording it" as a coronavirus death in the United States.
According to The Daily Wire, New York City, the COVID-19 epicenter of the United States of America, are including untested deaths into their tally:
“New York City added a huge number of deaths to the total number of deaths caused by the coronavirus after deciding to include over 3,700 victims who had not tested positive for the virus but were presumed to have the virus because of their symptoms and medical history.”
Just recently, Pennsylvania would remove hundreds of COVID-19 deaths from their official tally, this due to a lot of concerns about accuracy and numbers from area coroners not adding up to the official toll.
via The Daily Wire:
“The PA health department decided to include ‘probable’ coronavirus deaths, or an assumed COVID-19-related death without testing for the virus, to their death tolls, dating back days and even weeks ago. But the death toll spike raised questions from coroners who came forward to highlight a discrepancy in death totals, which were not adding up to the number of all-cause deaths. The scrutiny triggered multiple revisions and statements from the department, including the removal of 200 ‘probable’ COVID-19 deaths and a claim of computer ‘glitching.'”
All three outlets of Snopes, USA Today and Politifact would run fact checks and each would confirm that hospitals get paid more money if they list a patient as being infected with COVID-19, even if some patients haven't been tested. For a patient listed having the coronavirus, hospitals get 20% add-ons and even more (three times as much) if patients are put on a ventilator.
When we were just getting April started, State Sen. Scott Jensen (R-MN), who is also a physician, would make the public aware of the policy and later told Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle":
"Any time health care intersects with dollars, it gets awkward."