Back to Fort Fairfield Journal      WFFJ-TV      Contact Us


COVID-19 Death Numbers

Being Artificially Inflated


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, June 3, 2020


   The accuracy of COVID-19 death numbers is increasingly being called into question as more and more states reveal the arbitrary and loosey-goosey way in which they are counting those deaths.

   “Leave it to government to take something simple and make it complicated” is a very old maxim; however, when those same governments are attempting to justify their draconian lockdowns, business closures, social distancing and potentially harmful face mask mandates, there is going to be an incentive on their part to take what are otherwise lackluster numbers and bump them up in order to save face with the voters.

   This is what appears to be happening with the COVID-19 death numbers as some state bureaucrats are arguing over what their real death numbers are and others are just plain admitting they’re skewing them upwards. 

   Whichever the case may be, it is going to be very difficult to get objective, scientific, statistical data on a virus that has now become so overtly politicized by establishment media.

  Early on in the COVID-19 coronavirus saga, Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, admitted that when somebody dies of anything in the U.S. and they also happen to have COVID-19, that death is arbitrarily classified as a COVID-19 death.   “There are other countries that if you had a pre-existing condition, and let's say the virus caused you to go to the ICU and then have a heart or kidney problem, some countries are reporting that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death,” Dr. Birx said during a White House press conference.  “Right now we're still recording that...the intent is, right now, if someone dies with COVID-19, we are counting that.”

   Later on, however, Dr. Birx appeared to be distancing from that position as people are now using it to call into question the veracity of the death numbers.  Dr. Birx even went so far as to throw the US CDC under the bus.  In a Washington Post report, Birx told CDC Director, Robert Redfield, “there is nothing from the CDC that I can trust.”

   According to the Washington Post story, Birx and others suggested the CDC was inflating coronavirus statistics, such as mortality rates and case numbers, by as much as twenty-five percent.

   In a May 15 story on the Daily Beast it was noted how “President Trump has privately questioned the number of COVID-19 deaths as the death toll surpassed the 80,000 mark this week, suggesting it may be incorrect or inflated by the current methodology.”

   In a May 16, 2020 story, Fox News reported that “Three administration officials said Deborah Birx, the task force response coordinator, has urged the CDC to exclude from the death count some who were presumed infected, but did not have a confirmed lab result and those who had the virus but might not have died as a direct result of it.”

   The debate appears to be around counting “probable” COVID-19 case deaths as if they were in fact COVID-19 even though the deceased had never actually been tested and had other underlying conditions that more than likely were the true cause of death.

   Like nearly all businesses in the U.S., hospitals have also been shuttered by their respective state governments - only being allowed to service COVID-19 patients - a number that is exceedingly lower than the projected estimates at the beginning of the outbreak.  This has caused a financial strain on the hospitals because they can no longer perform regular elective procedures and are suffering from a huge loss of income.  Now comes Medicare with a financial incentive for hospitals to list people with COVID-19 in order to earn much-needed money.

   Minnesota Republican State Senator, Dr. Scott Jensen, M.D. revealed in mid-April  that the American Medical Association is encouraging doctors to over count coronavirus deaths. He also revealed that, “Medicare is determining that if you have a COVID-19 admission to the hospital you get $13,000.  If that COVID-19 patient goes on a ventilator, you get $39,000 - three times as much.” claimed to have debunked the hospitals over-reporting COVID patients for financial gain.  “There’s an implication here that hospitals are over-reporting their COVID patients because they have an economic advantage of doing so, [which] is really an outrageous claim,” UCLA senior fellow Gerald Kominski told the fact-checking site.

   However, just because something is an “outrageous claim” doesn’t ipso facto make it untrue.

   “Probable” cases are subjective diagnoses where a person is presumed to have the virus, but no test has been done to confirm it on them.  Maine recently admitted they were lumping “probable” cases in with confirmed test results and even the antigen tests - that show a person had the virus in the past but now has immunity to it - all together to create their “Total New Cases” for COVID-19.  The Maine CDC ultimately separated those numbers in mid-May and is now reporting them individually for context.

    But, Maine is far from alone in fudging their COVID-19 numbers. 

   Illinois has also been accused of skewing their numbers artificially upward.   In April, the state’s Director of Public Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike said at a coronavirus news briefing that the state’s COVID-19 death toll was also counting those who died of “a clear alternate cause” but had the virus at the same time.

   “You could be driving home and be in an auto accident and die from that,” Darren Bailey, a Republican Illinois lawmaker suing Gov. J. B. Pritzker to reopen the state, told WAND-TV on May 11.  “And if you had COVID-19 in your system, that death gets labeled as COVID.”

   The US CDC’s death counting protocol has also recently come under fire by Colorado’s Democrat Governor, Jared Polis after his own state’s health department acknowledged its death numbers had been inflated and lowered their COVID-19 death toll by nearly 300. 

   CGTN News reported, “According to the new policy, Colorado lowered the state’s coronavirus deaths from 1,150 to 878 as the CDC’s official death number actually includes people who had COVID-19 but died from other causes.”

   “The CDC criteria include anybody who has died with COVID-19, but what the people of Colorado and the people of the country want to know is how many people died of COVID-19,” Gov. Polis told Fox News Sunday.

   One of the most glaring inconsistencies is where a 35 year-old Colorado man, Sebastian Yellow, died of alcohol poisoning with a lethal 0.55 blood-alcohol level - seven times the state’s legal driving limit of 0.08.  However, since he had tested positive for COVID-19 he was counted as a COVID-19 death when the virus had nothing to do with his demise.

   There are also reports that bureaucrats at the Colorado Department of Health were arbitrarily rewriting and  changing completed death certificates to reflect COVID-19 as the cause of death, after a physician had already signed off on the cause of death as something other than COVID-19.

   Probably the biggest place for skewing death numbers is the greatest population center of the U.S. - New York City.

   There has been an ongoing feud between New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio - both Democrats - where the New York CDC is counting New York City’s COVID-19 deaths as thousands lower than the city’s officials who add all “probable” COVID-19 cases into their total death numbers.  For example, when the city reported 20,316 deaths on May 13, New York state CDC only counted the confirmed COVID-19 deaths at 14,380

   According to a May 14 report on, “For the past month, the state’s count has lagged the city’s by thousands of people because state officials have not included probable deaths - people who were never tested for the coronavirus, but had COVID-19 listed on their death certificate.  The city began reporting those fatalities on April 14, causing its death toll to soar past 10,000.  It has nearly doubled in the month since.”

   Furthermore, some New York City funeral directors and funeral home owners have spoken out in a documentary video by Project Veritas stating that they believe the death numbers have been grossly exaggerated in New York City.

   “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,” said Michael Lanza, the funeral director at Colonial Funeral Home in Staten Island.  “So, I think, you know, again, this is my personal opinion, I think that like the mayor in New York 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.”

   Lanza also said people are coming into his funeral home saying no one in their family - including the deceased - was tested for the virus.  “If the doctor thinks you had COVID, he can write it down,” said Lanza.

    Joseph Antioco, funeral director at Schaefer Funeral Home, said anyone with any kind of “respiratory distress” or “respiratory problems” - like pneumonia or the flu - are immediately being labeled as COVID deaths.

   “To me, all you’re doing is padding the statistics,” Antioco said.  “You know, you’re putting people on that have COVID-19.  If they didn’t have it, you’re making the death rate for New York City a lot higher than it should be.”

   In Arkansas, a woman is questioning the labeling of her mother’s death as COVID-19.  In a KTHV-TV report, the deceased mother’s daughter, speaking on conditions of anonymity, said “My mother was 91 when she passed.  She had been in hospice since January.  I feel the diagnosis of ‘respiratory failure due to COVID-19’ is not true.  To add a death due to the virus just to inflate the numbers is not right.”

   In Virginia, the daughter of a man who was listed as a COVID-19 death believes that to be inaccurate, as well. 

   The deceased, Garry Lee Burner, had a history of heart disease and had a heart attack 8 years ago.  His daughter, Robin Burner told the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, “I just can’t stand the fact of people saying he died from this virus.  Yes, he had it and it probably made him weaker, but in my heart, I don’t think that’s what he died of.  I think he had a heart attack.”

   The State of Pennsylvania has had to revise its coronavirus data multiple times to account for irregularities.

  In an April 24, 2020 Fox News report by Peter Aiken it was noted how, “Earlier this week, Pennsylvania started to include ‘probable deaths’ in its fatalities.  As a result, the total number of coronavirus deaths grew by 276, then 360, in successive nights almost doubling the number of the deaths in two days.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) subsequently removed 200 deaths from its count after facing mounting questions about the accuracy of the count.”

   “There’s a discrepancy in the numbers,” Charles Kiessling Jr., President of the Pennsylvania Coroners Association, and coroner in Lycoming County,  told the Philadelphia Inquirer.  “I’m not saying there’s something going on...I’m not a conspiracy theory guy.  But accuracy is important.”

   Coroners in Pennsylvania had been complaining for a month regarding the discrepancy in their state’s death figures.

   The Pennsylvania DOH ultimately blamed a “computer glitch” on the issue - a favorite fall-back excuse for all politicians and bureaucrats caught fudging the numbers on any topic.

   Finally, in San Diego, California, San Diego County supervisor, Jim Desmond said after digging into his county’s data, that he believes only 6 of the county’s 194 COVID-19 deaths are “pure” coronavirus deaths - meaning that they actually died from the virus, not merely with the virus.

   San Diego County Public Health Officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten suggested during a press briefing that Desmond was being “callous,” noting that their liberal identification of COVID-19 deaths is uniform with coding nationwide. 

   That “coding nationwide” is based upon the US CDC’s directive that everyone who dies gets a COVID-19 label if they had the virus - or even virus particles in them* - regardless of whether or not the COVID-19 coronavirus actually contributed to, or caused their death.


*New research from the South Korea CDC indicates a person who had COVID-19 and recovered could still have “dead” virus RNA fragments in their system and generate a positive PCR test even though they really are not actively infected.  See story, “Why are COVID-19 Cases still Rising?” page one of this issue of FFJ.