It appears that some people who have died with coronavirus may have been counted as having died from coronavirus.
"Let's say the virus caused you to go to the ICU and then have a heart or kidney problem," Dr. Deborah Birx told reporters Tuesday. Birx is the White House Coronavirus Response Team coordinator. "Some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue, and not a COVID-19 death, [but] we are counting that as a COVID-19 death," she added.
"I agree with the federal government's approach. Having filled out, unfortunately, several death certificates myself in taking care of patients, there are several options of listing the cause of death. So, you typically start with the immediate cause.
"In Dr. Birx's example, the immediate cause would be an infection with the COVID-19 virus that then made a pre-existing condition such as heart failure worse. And so … that patient may have lived several weeks or months if they had not had the COVID-19 infection. So, I agree with that approach."
"It's absolutely critical that people take [crisis] this seriously. The greatest fear that our health care system is facing right now in the U.S. is that the COVID-19 pandemic will overwhelm our ability to take are of patients who, for instance, get very sick and get admitted to the ICU and possibly need a ventilator. The only way we can prevent the surpassing of our resources is to have people take every precaution they can to practice social distancing, wash their hands, and keep themselves from becoming infected until we can find adequate treatments and eventually develop a vaccine."
Dr. Jeffrey Barrows
Christian Medical Association
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was reporting 12,754 deaths in the U.S. Worldometers.info, as of Thursday morning, puts that number approaching 15,000 – 2,000-plus more than the earlier CDC report.
So, in a country where things such as heart and kidney problems are common, OneNewsNow asked a nonprofit health-freedom group: Is this the right approach to tabulating deaths caused by COVID-19?
"Counting every patient who happens to have coronavirus as a death from coronavirus is going to skew the results and make coronavirus scarier than it is," says Twila Brase, R.N., president and co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom. "Coronavirus is scary, but there's no need to make the death results any higher than the death results [actually] are."
That, says Brase, is why the best thing right now is to have accurate data.
"Epidemiologists are asking for real data to make real decisions – and that's part of the problem," she continues. "We don't really have the data to make the decisions."
Right now, one big decision involves when people can go out in public again beyond just trips to the grocery store or a doctor's office. Many citizens and elected officials are hesitant to lift shelter-in-place orders, saying the worst is yet to come and that people need to avoid interactions as much as possible to avoid spreading COVID-19. Others warn that an economic collapse from too many shuttered businesses could make things worse.
On Wednesday, the CDC released guidance that would permit "essential workers" who have been exposed to positive COVID-19 individuals – but remain asymptomatic – to return to work or stay on the job.
Numbers don't add up, says Penn. activist
As reported earlier this week by OneNewsNow, a 19-year-old Pennsylvania woman intends to challenge the $200 fine she received from a state police officer for basically "going for a drive." She was by herself and had apparently had not come in contact with anyone else. Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, thinks such enforcement of Governor Tom Wolfe's "stay-at-home" order is extreme, considering the fact that since the state's first case reported on March 6 there have been 250 COVID-19 deaths in a state with a population of almost 13 million.
"The [current] numbers are extremely low when they're predicting by the end of the month there's going to be 3,000 dead Pennsylvanians," the pro-family activist shares. "I just don't see it any more than I see between 100 [thousand] and 200 thousand dead Americans within the next two to three weeks. I don't see it."
In her opinion, the pandemic scare is being driven by the media – which she says is designed to "bring down President Trump's economy and to bring down President Trump and to make sure he does not get reelected in November."