By Karl Dierenbach, The Federalist
hree-hundred-fifty years ago, John Graunt attempted to give Londoners an accurate assessment of fatality rates of diseases in the community so people could understand their risk level. Until COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fulfilled the same role.
Then the CDC abandoned tradition and sensibility and treated COVID differently than every other disease. For a death to be considered a COVID death, COVID no longer needed to be the immediate or underlying cause of death. Now, a death is considered a COVID death even if COVID was only a contributing condition.
For example, a certificate that lists dementia as the cause of death but doesn’t list a respiratory ailment is likely to be a case of dying with COVID, not from COVID. Likewise for accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and any other non-respiratory condition.
Singapore, for example, only counts deaths as COVID deaths if they are accompanied by pneumonia. If the United States followed this criterion, COVID deaths would total about 90,000 and be comparable to a very bad flu season.
To disentangle respiratory COVID deaths from other types of COVID deaths requires examining individual death records, which are difficult to obtain. Fortunately, in May, Florida released data on 1,489 COVID deaths. About two-thirds of those deaths that listed more than just COVID as a cause also listed a respiratory condition.