News & Politics

How Bad Is the Data on COVID? New Numbers From New York Provide Insight

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

To competently manage any situation, accurate information is a requirement. Americans require precise data about the COVID pandemic to analyze the performance of our leaders and assess personal risk. Unfortunately, it is becoming more apparent that the corporate media and public health officials have subjected us to inaccurate data and word games for the last two years. We all remember the CNN death ticker that ran until Joe Biden’s inauguration, and Americans are still subjected to regular hysteria about hospitalizations and cases. One new statistic from New York is just the tip of the iceberg on how the “experts” have manipulated some Americans into mass hysteria.

With the ubiquitous nature of omicron, thanks to the variant’s high rate of transmissibility, hospitalization numbers of COVID patients have started to rise. Dr. Anthony Fauci had to go on television and clarify that pediatric COVID hospitalizations were often due to incidental testing. On Dec. 30, he told MSNBC:

“If you look at the children that are hospitalized, many of them are hospitalized with Covid, as opposed to because of Covid. And what we mean by that, if a child goes in the hospital, they automatically get tested for Covid. And they get counted as a Covid hospitalized individual. When in fact they may go in for a broken leg or appendicitis or something like that.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul must have heard Dr. Fauci because earlier this week, she started requiring hospitals to specify whether a hospitalized COVID patient was admitted with COVID symptoms or something else and just happened to test positive. The early results are in, and in New York state, 43% of patients listed as COVID hospitalizations did not list the virus as an admission diagnosis. They simply tested positive on the compulsory testing for all patients. In New York City alone, 51% of those listed as COVID hospitalizations have admissions diagnoses that do not include COVID.

This analysis is not the first to call out the deceptive metrics about hospitalizations. In May of 2021, two studies in California noted that reporting overcounted pediatric hospitalizations for COVID by approximately 40%. Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-diseases specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, and Amy Beck, an associate professor of pediatrics, also at UCSF, wrote a commentary for Hospital Pediatrics. They noted, “Taken together, these studies underscore the importance of clearly distinguishing between children hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 found on universal testing versus those hospitalized for COVID-19 disease.”

Related: WINNING: A Court Victory for Transparency on Pfizer Covid Vaccine Data

At the time, Gandhi told reporters that there was no reason to believe this trend only existed in California. The New York findings confirm that view and demonstrate that the phenomenon happens with hospitalizations for all ages. However, there is no reason to believe it only applies to hospitalizations. As I noted in April 2020, a COVID death did not require a laboratory-confirmed test, unlike a death from influenza. The National Center for Health Statistics instructed doctors to include COVID as a cause of death “where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death.”

The CDC ran headlong into this loose reporting criteria when it started monitoring vaccine breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths. At one point, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the quiet part out loud. In May, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked Walensky if any vaccinated Americans had died of COVID. Walensky responded, “Not all of those 223 cases who had COVID actually died of COVID. They may have had mild disease but died, for example, of a heart attack.”

Breakthrough case monitoring reflected this distinction in the CDC’s reporting. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) for May 28, 2021, noted:

Based on preliminary data, 2,725 (27%) vaccine breakthrough infections were asymptomatic, 995 (10%) patients were known to be hospitalized, and 160 (2%) patients died. Among the 995 hospitalized patients, 289 (29%) were asymptomatic or hospitalized for a reason unrelated to COVID-19. The median age of patients who died was 82 years (interquartile range = 71–89 years); 28 (18%) decedents were asymptomatic or died from a cause unrelated to COVID-19.

There is no reason to believe that the only deaths misattributed to COVID occur in vaccinated patients. In fact, a retrospective study in three large New Jersey hospitals in November of 2020 demonstrated that 89% of people who died with COVID had a do not resuscitate order in place before their COVID diagnosis. This kind of order indicates the patient was already suffering from a terminal illness. Dr. Marty Makary found a similar pattern among pediatric deaths with COVID. In the claims data of 48,000 children, his team found that, of the COVID deaths reported, not a single one occurred without a severe pre-existing condition such as leukemia.

For almost two years, political leaders have governed many Americans’ lives using imprecise, misleading, and sometimes deceptive data. It is impossible to believe that, in the nation that gave birth to Big Tech, our healthcare agencies could not collect accurate data with appropriate privacy controls. Surprisingly, the second tin pot authoritarian governor of New York is leading the way in exposing it. But every governor should immediately follow her lead on counting COVID hospitalizations and deaths, then order a retrospective recalibration of deaths from COVID versus those with COVID in their state.