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Monday, May 18, 2020

Trump wants to fudge the death toll numbers

Laura ClawsonDaily Kos Staff

Trump Jokingly Walks Away As Doctor Birx Says She Had Fever Over ...
Dr. Deborah Birx once again covers for Trump by pushing CDC to reduce
death count. Dr. Fauci, by contrast, thinks the official death tool is too low.
There have been more than 83,000 deaths officially attributed to COVID-19 in the United States as of this writing.

Donald Trump would like to reduce that number, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials tell The Daily Beast. Trump can’t bring people back to life, but he can potentially change how novel coronavirus deaths are counted.

Trump’s previous plan, as reported by Axios, was to accuse hospitals of lying about COVID-19 deaths to get a Medicare bonus.

Now the push is to exclude deaths from the official toll if the deceased was presumed to have the virus but didn’t have confirmed lab results—now there’s an incentive for Trump to make testing less available—or if they had the virus but something else could have directly caused their death.

It’s more sophisticated than “hospitals are lying,” but no more true. In fact, many experts, including Anthony Fauci, believe novel coronavirus deaths are being undercounted.

“Most of us feel that the number of deaths are likely higher” than the official count, Fauci told Sen. Bernie Sanders in Senate testimony on Tuesday. 

That’s because, for instance, in New York, “there may have been people who died at home who did have covid, who are not counted as covid because they never really got to the hospital.”

Similarly, Bob Anderson, the head of the Mortality Statistics Branch in CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, told The Daily Beast: “We’re almost certainly underestimating the number of deaths [in the country].”

According to Anderson, that can happen through means as simple as doctors recording deaths as due to “coronavirus” or “COVID” rather than “COVID-19.”

Jared thinks Trump is doing a great job
But while that’s the reality according to the CDC official who should know best, Trump is probably more likely to listen to geniuses like right-wing economist Art Laffer, who claims: “When you attribute a death to the coronavirus today, what that means is that the guy had the coronavirus and died. It doesn’t matter if he got hit by a car and died, and he would still be categorized as a coronavirus death [...] You need the whole transcribed medical records on a disk so people can sit there, maybe without names, and look for causes and correlations.”

Untrue, but falsehood has never been an impediment to Trump.

We got to 83,000 deaths this fast because Trump refused to take the coronavirus outbreak seriously in January, February, and early March.

Now his response—always with his eye on November’s elections—is to push to convince us that what has happened didn’t actually happen.