Introducing his new video detailing Project Veritas’ investigation into fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in COVID, starting with interviewing funeral directors in New York skeptical about the number of cases attributed to COVID-19, James O’Keefe states, “We know there are many unanswered questions during the pandemic. We’ve been out in the street, talking to some folks who are on the frontlines, talking to the unsung heroes of the people of New York City … And we’ve talked to these unsung heroes and we’ve learned some troubling things. Some things that should disturb us.”
Here are some of the comments O’Keefe and his team elicited from various funeral directors:
Michael Lanza, funeral director at Colonial Funeral Home:
To be honest with you, all of the death certificates, they’re writing COVID on all the death certificates whether they had a positive test, whether they didn’t. So I think, you know again, this is my personal opinion, I think like the mayor in our city, they’re looking for federal funding, and the more they put COVID on the death certificate, the more they can ask for federal funds. So I think it’s political.
So I’m going to turn around and say, you know, like, not everybody that we have here that has COVID on the death certificate died of COVID, Can I prove that? No. But that is my suspicion … They’re putting it on everybody’s death certificate to make life easier for them, because like, the causes of death get approved by the way —if you write COVID, I mean, listen, they’re just pushing things out there because they’re overwhelmed, and it’s just easier to write COVID on everything.
Asked how often he thought such a thing was happening, Lanza answered, “Quite a lot. Quite lot.” He added, “I think they’re not doing it to help the mayor; I think the mayor is ordering it from down, because the more deaths that they report from COVID, the more money they can go and ask the federal government for. If they put 100 COVIDs, I’m going to tell you 100 people didn’t have COVID … They’re not even testing these people.”
Joseph Antioco, funeral director at Schafer Funeral Home:
They are putting COVID on a lot of death certificates because people who are going to their hospital or any kind of respiratory distress, respiratory problems, pneumonia, the flu — the flu-like symptoms lead into the COVID-19. So, you know, it’s hard for them to put their finger on it … To me, all you’re doing is padding the statistics. You’re putting people on that have COVID-19 even if they didn’t have it. You’re making the death rate for New York City a lot higher than it should be …
A lot of people have been dying at home, and the problem is, the medical examiner — if you had a private doctor, the medical examiner would speak to the private doctor over the phone, clear it up. Bing, bang, it’s all done. But now, if you don’t have a private doctor, and you are under any medical care, they’re automatically putting down on the death certificate COVID-19 because they don’t want to go — they’re so overwhelmed, A, and B, they’re not going out to houses anymore. They would go out to the house; they would investigate the scene; they would do testing at the scene, and then come up with the conclusion as to “He had heart disease.” But now they’re putting everything as COVID-19.
Josephine Dimecili, president of Dimecili & Sons Funeral Home: “The guy that I just buried a little while ago from Long Island National Cemetery, they called me from the nursing home. They said, ‘Did Raymond have COVID-19?’ She said, ‘Well, no. It was failure to thrive. But we’re assuming they all have it.’ And I’m all, ‘Why would you assume? Why aren’t they all in the hospital?’ She had no answer. ‘I can’t answer you,’ she said. They put it down on Raymond’s death certificate … He didn’t have COVID-19.”
Dimecili continued, “I had one that was autopsied because the sister was famous, and apparently, and I don’t know who the Supreme Court Justice is, but the Supreme Court Justice was related to this family, and she says I know my sister didn’t die of COVID-19. She said she had Alzheimer’s and they didn’t suction her. You have to suction because they forget how to swallow. And right away they put down COVID-19 on her death certificate, and the Supreme Court justice, whoever it is, contacted the hospital. They did an independent autopsy; bingo. No COVID-19.”
Experts have pushed back against claims that medical examiners have been ordered to list COVID-19 on birth certificates as a “default diagnosis” and that the COVID-19 death toll has been inflated.
“Death certificates are basically federal, and each state has a public health division that answers to the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] for death certification,” Sally Aiken, the president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, told FactCheck.org in early April. “For all practical purposes death certification is directed by the feds, via health departments.”
The CDC’s guidance issued on April 2 read: “If COVID–19 played a role in the death, this condition should be specified on the death certificate. In many cases, it is likely that it will be the [underlying cause of death], as it can lead to various life-threatening conditions, such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In these cases, COVID-19 should be reported on the lowest line used in Part I with the other conditions to which it gave rise listed on the lines above it.”
This article has been updated to include information countering claims of a “default diagnosis” for COVID-19-connected deaths.
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