It is difficult to keep up with the epidemic of sophistry, lies and disinformation coming from conservatives, libertarians and conspiracy theorists about COVID-19, but last month one of the major talking points was the drop in pneumonia deaths due to a normal reporting lag.
The Real US #Coronavirus Death Toll Now Likely Exceeds 80,000. The latest Mortality Surveillance data shows 15,863 excess Flu and Influenza deaths over the last 5 weeks, which the CDC says are likely due to #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/dgjcdVOuI6— Coronavirus Updates – Alexander Higgins (@kr3at) May 1, 2020
"The percent of deaths associated with pneumonia and influenza is above the epidemic threshold. The increase is due to an increase in pneumonia deaths rather than influenza deaths and likely reflects #COVID19 activity." US CDC.— Coronavirus Updates – Alexander Higgins (@kr3at) May 1, 2020
The official US #Coronavirus Death Toll now stands at 64,914. With the additional excess 15,683 Pneumonia and Influenza deaths that puts the real US #Covid19 Death toll at 80,777. pic.twitter.com/wYd665LVUO— Coronavirus Updates – Alexander Higgins (@kr3at) May 1, 2020
Now, the CDC is reporting a huge spike in pneumonia deaths over the past five weeks which haven’t been counted as COVID-19 deaths in the official death toll.
If memory serves, here is a short list of deaths that haven’t been counted as COVID-19 deaths:
- Presumed positive deaths outside of New York City, which is to say, a patient who dies under the care of a doctor with all the symptoms of COVID-19, but doesn’t have a positive confirmed test result.
- People who have died at home without a confirmed positive test result.
- People who have died in nursing homes.
- Flu and pneumonia deaths without a confirmed positive test result.
- Excess deaths which are above historical norms, but which haven’t been attributed to COVID-19.
The official death toll is overwhelmingly people who died in hospitals with a confirmed positive test result for COVID-19.
When conservatives and libertarians say that COVID-19 deaths are due to comorbidities and say, well, the CDC says that people with a confirmed positive test who die with coronavirus should be counted as a COVID-19 death to inflate the numbers, they are trying to disingenuously dismiss people who might be elderly or overweight or who have diabetes, but who die of severe double pneumonia which is totally unrelated to their underlying conditions as having somehow not died from COVID-19.