In the early months of 2020, many mainstream news media laughingly called concerns that there were more deaths reported from COVID than could be attributed to the disease a “death toll conspiracy”1 they said was led by conservative Republicans and “anti-vaxxers.”2 Yet, a few short months later, data confirm what many already knew: The number of people who died “from” COVID-19 were not the same as those who died “with” COVID-19.
In late 2020, I reported on several deaths3 that were originally counted as COVID-19, but were later retracted, for example, two deaths from gunshot wounds in Grand County, Colorado, and a motorcycle accident in Orlando, Florida. At the same time, the Freedom Foundation4 accused Washington State's Department of Health of inflating the number of COVID deaths by up to 13%.
Although the governor denied the allegation, internal emails revealed in May 2020 that the Department of Health was counting deaths in their official COVID numbers that were not directly due to the virus.5 The high death count with COVID-19 was supported by the shameless way in which experts manipulated the PCR test they used to confirm the presence of the virus.
As I reported in 2020 and 2021, the high false positive rate with PCR test was due in considerable part to the recommended exorbitant cycle threshold. The cycle threshold refers to the maximum number of times doubling is allowed during the test. The higher the threshold, the greater the risk that a false positive will label healthy people as a “COVID-19 case.”
In reality, PCR testing is not a proper diagnostic tool even though it has been promoted as such. A rising number of COVID-19 cases from inaccurate PCR testing helped to support the death toll recorded from the virus. Recently, two counties in California have revised their numbers based on a reevaluation of the data.
Two California Counties Recount COVID Deaths
After an analysis of the data, Santa Clara and Alameda counties in California discovered there was a significant discrepancy in the number of people who died from COVID-19. The data didn’t change. The number of actual deaths didn’t change. But what authorities found was that 22% of the deaths recorded from COVID could not be attributed to the virus.6
Santa Clara County reported July 2, 2021, that the new numbers were generated by counting only those whose cause of death was from the virus and not counting people who had tested positive at the time of death. The county officials used this approach to determine the true impact COVID-19 had on their community.
The month before, in June 2021, Alameda County had also recounted deaths attributed to COVID-19 and registered a death toll drop by about 25%. University of California San Francisco professor of medicine and infectious disease expert Dr. Monica Gandhi believes that the CDC may soon ask all counties to recount their deaths from COVID-19 and the entire nation could see a drop in the death toll.7
Initially, California recorded anyone who died and who had tested positive for COVID-19 as having died from COVID-19. The newest count lists only those who have the virus as cause of death on the death certificate, as determined by the medical examiner.
Yet, despite this recount, based on the financial incentives to alter the death certificates and PCR testing that inaccurately labeled people as infected with the virus, the numbers may still not be an accurate representation of the number of people who died from the virus.
Financial Incentives Likely Inflated COVID Death Numbers
In April 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci brushed off questions that COVID-19 death counts were padded, claiming it was another “conspiracy theory” and should be ignored. A host of mainstream media also reported that suspicions that hospitals were over reporting in order to charge more money were pure conspiracy theories lacking a basis in reality.
Yet, firsthand testimony, including that of nurse Erin Olszewski, showed financial incentives were at the heart of overdiagnosis and mistreatment at a public Hospital in Queens, New York. I reported her shocking story in “Nurse on the Frontlines of COVID-19 Shares Her Experience.”
According to Olszewski, patients who tested negative were routinely listed as positive and quickly placed on ventilators, a largely inappropriate treatment that ended up killing virtually all of them. By August 2020,8 CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield admitted financial policies may have artificially inflated hospitalization rates and death toll statistics.
As reported in the Washington Examiner,9 hospitals have had a financial incentive to inflate coronavirus death, just as they do with deaths in other diseases. In response to a question before a House panel committee asked by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., about potential “perverse incentives” that hospitals might have to alter death certificates, Redfield said:10
“I think you’re correct in that we’ve seen this in other disease processes, too. Really, in the HIV epidemic, somebody may have a heart attack but also have HIV — the hospital would prefer the [classification] for HIV because there’s greater reimbursement.”
The Washington Examiner11 also reported that in August 2020 more than 3,000 people were removed from the death count in Texas after it was revealed they did not test positive but were only considered a probable case.