On Tuesday, San Diego county Supervisor Jim Desmond said after digging into the data that he believes only six of the county’s 194 coronavirus-identified deaths are “pure” coronavirus deaths, meaning they died from the virus, not merely with the virus.
Desmond was seemingly ruling out deaths from individuals with preexisting conditions.
“We’ve unfortunately had six pure, solely coronavirus deaths — six out of 3.3 million people,” Desmond said on a podcast, Armstrong & Getty Extra Large Interviews, according to San Diego Tribune. “I mean, what number are we trying to get to with those odds. I mean, it’s incredible. We want to be safe, and we can do it, but unfortunately, it’s more about control than getting the economy going again and keeping people safe.”
Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten suggested Wednesday during a press briefing that Desmond was being callous, noting that their liberal identification of COVID-19 deaths is uniform with coding nationwide.
“Their life is no less valuable than someone’s life who does not have underlying medical conditions,” Wooten said. “This is not just San Diego. This is how this is done throughout the entire nation in terms of identifying who has died of COVID-19.”
“Any loss of life, for any reason, is worth preventing,” Desmond reportedly responded via email, according to the San Diego Tribune. “Clearly, those with underlying circumstances are the most vulnerable. I believe we can keep people safe and responsibly open our businesses.”
According to a recent report from The Washington Post, leading voice on the White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx believes coronavirus-coded deaths are inflated by some 25%.
“During a task force meeting Wednesday, a heated discussion broke out between Deborah Birx, the physician who oversees the administration’s coronavirus response, and Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” The Washington Post reported over the weekend, adding, “Birx and others were frustrated with the CDC’s antiquated system for tracking virus data, which they worried was inflating some statistics — such as mortality rate and case count — by as much as 25 percent, according to four people present for the discussion or later briefed on it. Two senior administration officials said the discussion was not heated.”
“There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,” Birx said, according to two sources.
In April, Birx made it clear that the U.S. is liberally coding COVID deaths; in other words, she explained, if a person tests positive for the virus, “we are counting that.”
“I think in this country, we are taking a very liberal approach to mortality,” she said at an April 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,” Birx explained. “Some countries are recording that as a kidney issue, or a heart issue, and not a COVID-19 death.” In the U.S., she suggested, “we’re still recording it” as a COVID-19 death.
On Tuesday, however, Dr. Anthony Fauci, another leading voice on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told the Senate he believes COVID-19 deaths are likely understated.
Related: Pennsylvania Forced To Remove Hundreds Of Deaths From Coronavirus Death Count After Coroners Raise Red Flags
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