Dr. Deborah Birx said at the briefing last night that anyone who tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of any other underlying condition, is being counted as a COVID-19 death:
Well, Dr. Birx just said it. Anyone in U.S. who dies with Covid 19, regardless of what else may be wrong, is now being recorded as a Covid 19 death.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) April 7, 2020
This is remarkable. Dr. Birx says here very plainly that anyone who dies “with COVID-19” is being counted as having died from COVID-19. She admits this is a “liberal approach” to recording mortality. The suspicions many of us had are now confirmed.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) April 7, 2020
We get that this is a complicated business, for example:
Bronx teacher was diagnosed last week with leukemia and COVID-19. Dies within days. Is it OK to consider him a COVID-19 death? People diagnosed with leukemia USUALLY don't deteriorate that quickly. THAT'S why COVID-19 is labelled as the cause. https://t.co/voEGHBWpuw
— Robert A George (@RobGeorge) April 7, 2020
And it’s the nature of the disease that it attacks those with an underlying condition:
Once more, with feeling: *COVID-19 is most dangerous to people with something else already going on.* We've known this the entire time. https://t.co/8gT4dQ5S1O
— Andrew Egger (@EggerDC) April 8, 2020
But if we’re going to use this number as the metric to keep the economy shut down or not, yeah, it’s going to get questioned:
Yeah, that's kind of troubling.
I'm not ready to say we're getting led on, but I'm getting suspicious adjacent. https://t.co/kDpTbe3l7K
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) April 7, 2020
President Trump shut down the country for any additional 30 days and displayed charts showing 100,000-200,000 deaths just last week and now this?
The CDC director said Monday that the death toll from the novel coronavirus will be “much, much, much lower” than models have projected. https://t.co/Yj6kcSlozy
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) April 7, 2020
On the other hand, there was a report in Gothamist suggesting that NYC is potentially undercounting COVID-19 deaths:
— Gothamist (@Gothamist) April 7, 2020
In summary, there’s been a 400% increase over last year of deaths at home. These are people who were not confirmed COVID-19 positive before death and since they’re not tested after death, they’re not included in COVID-19 totals:
The FDNY says it responded to 2,192 cases of deaths at home between March 20th and April 5th, or about 130 a day, an almost 400 percent increase from the same time period last year https://t.co/1R4K6pKpsP via @gothamist
— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) April 7, 2020
But we’re in the middle of the crisis and it’s difficult to figure out exactly what’s going on. There’s anecdotal evidence that people suffering from heart attacks and strokes aren’t seeking care right now, which could be why there’s been an increase of deaths at home:
"The hospitals are eerily quiet, except for Covid-19," a doctor writes. "We are all asking: Where are all the patients with heart attacks and stroke? They are missing from our hospitals." https://t.co/XKXnERzj3q
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 7, 2020
With that said, New York City is now going to try to estimate those who’ve died of COVID-19, but were not tested for it beforehand. From Gothamist:
New York City officials will begin to count suspected COVID-19 deaths of people who die at home following a WNYC/Gothamist report revealing a staggering number of such deaths that were not included in the official tally.
In a statement, Stephanie Buhle, a spokeswoman for the New York City’s Health Department, said the city would no longer report only those cases that were confirmed by a laboratory test.
“The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) and the NYC Health Department are working together to include into their reports deaths that may be linked to COVID but not lab confirmed that occur at home,” she said.
She didn’t say when the city would begin reporting suspected deaths along with the overall count. But the new protocol is likely to add thousands to the toll.
It’s messy. And going to get messier.