A 37-year-old California man who died of a drug overdose has been added to the novel coronavirus death toll.
Though the death of the unidentified man was caused by a drug overdose, he also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which was coded as a “significant continuing condition,” according to Ventura County spokeswoman Ashley Bautista, VA Star reported Thursday.
“Ventura County’s coronavirus death toll increased to 16 on Thursday as county officials reported two additional deaths, including a 37-year-old man,” the report said.
“The man died as a result of a drug overdose while infected with COVID-19, a significant contributing condition, according to county spokeswoman Ashley Bautista. He is the youngest victim to die from the virus yet in the county,” VA Star added.
Last month, a 61-year-old Pennsylvania man who died from a head injury and tested positive for COVID-19 was added to the coronavirus death toll, too.
“Lehigh County Coroner Eric Minnich confirmed the patient died Friday night at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill,” Lehigh Valley Live reported. “He said the primary cause of the man’s death was a head injury from a fall at home, but that the virus was listed as a contributing factor to his death.”
Earlier this month, leading voice on the White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx explained that COVID-19 deaths in the United States have “very liberal” recording guidance, noting that anyone who tests positive for the virus and dies would be included in their numbers of coronavirus deaths.
“I think in this country, we are taking a very liberal approach to mortality. And I think the reporting here has been pretty straightforward over the last five to six weeks,” she said, adding, “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,” she added. “Some countries are recording that as a kidney issue, or a heart issue, and not a COVID-19 death.” In the U.S., Dr. Birx suggested, “we’re still recording it” as a COVID-19 death.
Pennsylvania has had to remove hundreds of coronavirus deaths from its official death count, following questions of accuracy and highlighted discrepancies by area coroners.
“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 Daily Wire reported Saturday. “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.'”
Related: Yes, Hospitals Get Paid More For Coronavirus-Coded Patients, Even If They Haven’t Been Tested
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