The figures are shocking but according to experts the truth may be even worse. They say it’s a near certainty we’ve under counted the dead in some cases.
By the time coronavirus began dominating the headlines people had already been getting sick for weeks. Clearly the virus had been circulating there for a number of weeks to have had this
level of penetrance into the general community.
Many of them landed in the hospital with a fever and severe trouble breathing. Some died but if doctors didn’t know to look for coronavirus they didn’t know to test for it. In many cases those deaths got recorded as pneumonia or likely influenza. Recent autopsies in California revealed that corona virus related deaths occurred weeks earlier than initially reported. As the virus spread doctors knew what they
could be dealing with, but testing lagged. Many patients died without ever being tested because tests weren’t available. Even as testing spreads the cause of death can still be hidden. Viral infections like corona virus or even the flu caused inflammation throughout the bod. If people with underlying cardiovascular disease get a viral infection that inflammation can cause heart attack or stroke.
Experts say each day there are people dying of heart attacks and strokes when it was undiagnosed corona virus that pushed them over the edge and how those deaths get recorded is different depending on where you died. Some states like California Washington or Louisiana require confirmation that means without a test, coronavirus doesn’t get counted. Connecticut, Ohio, Maryland and Delaware started counting deaths where coronavirus was the presumed cause. Florida only counts residents who died of coronavirus leaving out vacationers and snowbirds – that’s a lot of people. Experts say Florida’s true toll could be
10 percent higher.
The toll on institutions can also be unclear – especially if they’re trying to avoid public scrutiny. Many nursing homes still aren’t testing for coronavirus or releasing figures on how many of their
residents died. Health care workers are at high risk and while their deaths may get recorded by the state, many hospitals won’t say if an employee has died from covid. Just this month we got an idea of
just how many coronavirus deaths we could be missing nationwide – New York City revised their figures to include 3700 more people presumed coronavirus deaths that weren’t originally counted. That raised the city’s official tally by more than 17 percent. The new number includes people who died at home – not in the hospital.
In the face of these numbers some of President Trump’s supporters have tried an orwellian move – arguing that we’re not under counting the dead, we’re overcounting them: “Governments are eager almost to chalk up as many deaths to coronavirus as they can because then it furthers the policies they have put in place by virtue of their models.”
Even Dr. Anthony Fauci was forced to denounce the theories: “You will always have conspiracy theories when you have very challenging public health crises. They are nothing but distractions.”
Public health experts say it could be a year or more before they can come up with a good estimate of how many people are really dying. The truth is, a real number may never be known.