[Rushtalk] CDC Tells Hospitals To List COVID as Cause of Death Even if You're Just Assuming or It Only Contributed

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Fri May 1 11:34:04 MDT 2020

CDC Tells Hospitals To List COVID as Cause of Death Even if You're Just
Assuming or It Only Contributed

26 days ago 

The problem with making informed decisions about coronavirus is that we
don’t have a whole lot of data on it at the moment.
The data that we do have, meanwhile, could end up being terminally
skewed, particularly the data that’s been coming out of China.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on
determining COVID-19 as a cause of death isn’t going to help those
Issued March 24, the guidance tells hospitals to list COVID-19 as a
cause of death regardless of whether or not there’s actual testing to
confirm that’s the case.
Instead, even if the coronavirus was just a contributing factor or if
it’s “assumed to have caused or contributed to death,” it can be listed
as the primary cause.
The International StatisticalClassification of Diseases and Related
Health Problems, or ICD, has established the code U07.1 for death by
coronavirus infection. There’s a secondary code, U07.2, “for clinical or
epidemiological diagnosis of COVID-19 where a laboratory confirmation is
inconclusive or not available,” according to the CDC guidance.

“Because laboratory test results are not typically reported on death
certificates in the U.S., NCHS is not planning to implement U07.2 for
mortality statistics.”
Therein lies the problem.

“The underlying cause depends upon what and where conditions are
reported on the death certificate. However, the rules for coding and
selection of the underlying cause of death are expected to result in
COVID- 19 being the underlying cause more often than not,” the
guidelines read.

“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. Certifiers should include as much detail as possible based on
their knowledge of the case, medical records, laboratory testing, etc.,”
the guidance continued.
“If the decedent had other chronic conditions such as COPD or asthma
that may have also contributed, these conditions can be reported in Part
Author and former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, one of the few
well-known figures to question some of the statistics on COVID-19,
questioned the new CDC guidelines as well:

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump and members of his coronavirus
task force announced that they were expecting a death toll of between
100,000 and 240,000 from coronavirus.

In an article on Friday, The Washington Post said some experts didn’t
think the White House’s prediction models were accurate. It wasn’t
because those experts thought that figure was too high or too low: It’s
just because they didn’t think there was enough data to determine a
death range yet.

“We don’t have a sense of what’s going on in the here and now, and we
don’t know what people will do in the future,” Jeffrey Shaman, a
Columbia University epidemiologist whose work was used by the White
House to determine the death ranges, said.

“We don’t know if the virus is seasonal, as well.”

It doesn’t help that data when the guidelines for determining who’s
actually died of the coronavirus are profoundly vague.
For instance, what happens when an elderly person with numerous
underlying conditions comes into the hospital and dies?

What happens when someone suffering from late-stage cancer or liver
failure dies in the hospital? If that person was in the final stages of
life and no testing is done and no autopsy conducted, what are we to

If no testing is done and a patient’s symptoms are close enough to the
seasonal flu, will that person’s death automatically be attributed to
COVID-19? And how much of a difference would that make in the numbers,
if any?

The Western Journal has emailed the CDC for comment, but did not hear
back in time for publication of this article.
There’s no doubt that this guidance will inflate the numbers, the only
question is how drastically.
In places like New York City, where medical professionals are painfully
overstretched, anyone who dies with an infection that’s vaguely
COVID-19-like could potentially have COVID-19 listed as their cause of

Consider, for instance, that the CDC is estimating there were between
24,000 and 63,000 deaths in the United States from influenza between
October and March.
In NYC, does that mean some of those deaths got lumped under COVID-19?
Will this keep on happening?

If so, that could skew the data in a significantly different direction —
and it could influence the government’s intervention to stop the spread
of the virus.
This is a haphazard way to gather data at a time when that data needs to
be more accurate than ever. We can and should do better than this.


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