Pennsylvania to stop inflating coronavirus death numbers

Their counts were artificially high.

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Earlier this week Pennsylvania began to include “probable deaths” in its coronavirus death count. “Probable” means the deceased person was never tested for the coronavirus, and that means the state had absolutely no idea whether they died from the virus or not. But they counted them anyway.

Thus the total number of deaths went up last week by 276, then 360, in two consecutive nights. This almost doubled the death rate in just two days. But then the Pennsylvania Department of Health took 200 deaths off the list on Saturday after serious questions were posed as to the accuracy of their count.

This was the initial position of Pennsylvania: “We will now be reporting probable deaths related to COVID-19 in addition to confirmed deaths,” public health chief Rachel Levine announced Tuesday. But then they backtracked Saturday and even admitted that “probable deaths” had been included in the count much earlier than Tuesday. Just how many “probable deaths” are there in Pennsylvania or in the rest of the nation?

It was another instance (and we’re seeing this nationwide) of states including very possibly non-coronavirus deaths in virus death counts. This practice brings up questions of credibility regarding the entire national death rate. Given also that over 50% of deaths and infections are in two states —New York and New Jersey— have we loaded the nation with debt, hurt countless lives, and shut down much of our entire economy for a generally non-lethal flu based in only two states?

If so, there will be hell to pay when the country eventually has a chance to officially review the actions of state governors in this crisis.

“There’s a discrepancy in the numbers,” Charles E. 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… This is why I’m so upset.”

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He’s not the only one upset. We should all be asking these questions: What is the real death rate specifically due to coronavirus? If it is much lower than now estimated, who made the decisions to inflate the numbers to false totals and why?

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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