In mid-March, the Imperial College in London projected as many as 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19 in the United States alone, with peak mortality in three months, if nothing was done to mitigate the spread of the disease. There were many problems with this model, but nevertheless, it prompted quick action, and as you’ve probably noticed, we’re nowhere near 2.2 million deaths. It’s not even close.
Several months in, we’re at roughly 153,000 deaths, a tragic number for sure, but far below the doomsday predictions that prompted the nationwide lockdowns. With the exception of a few states like New York and New Jersey, most successfully flattened the curve, and even as cases spiked in recent weeks, treatments for COVID-19 have improved, decreasing mortality.
But the same people who justified the lockdowns because of doomsday scenarios with apocalyptic death projections aren’t willing to concede the success of the United States’ response. After all, there’s an election coming and the best way to ensure Joe Biden emerging victorious is for people to believe the United States’ response to the pandemic was a failure, and that the reason for that failure is Donald Trump.
Deaths may be lower than many of those early projections, but there’s reason to believe that we’re doing even better than the official counts indicate. The question is: by how much?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) actually directed physicians to put COVID-19 on death certificates even if the patient never tested positive for the disease. A CDC memo from March 24, 2020, stated that “COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death.”
“I can’t imagine if someone comes in with coronavirus, goes to an ICU, and they have an underlying heart condition and they die—they’re going to say, ‘Cause of death: heart attack,’” remarked Dr. Fauci back in April. “I cannot see that happening.”
How does one assume COVID-19? Based on symptoms. But here’s the problem. COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms: fever or chills, cough, breathing difficulty, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Any one or combination of these symptoms could be due to any number of different sicknesses. Heck, most of these are typical with the common cold, and some of the symptoms can be caused by seasonal allergies.
And hospitals are financially incentivized to assume a COVID-19 diagnosis.
So, one can imagine how many deaths are falsely attributed to being caused or contributed to by COVID-19. At least 30 percent of COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic. Probably even more. According to the CDC, roughly 80 percent of cases only have mild symptoms.
But it gets worse than that.
In Florida, a fatal motorcycle accident was listed as a COVID-19 death. An investigation has shown other deaths were falsely attributed to the coronavirus in the state as well. In Washington State, gunshot victims were listed as COVID-19 deaths.
In short, we know COVID-19 deaths are inflated. The question is by how much. We can’t wait until after the election to get the answer to this question.
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis