By Dr. Joseph Mercola
Four months ago, in early April 2020, Minnesota state senator and family physician Scott Jensen came out with a strong critique against the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for how doctors were to certify COVID-19 fatalities on the death certificate.1
Jensen called the guidelines “ridiculous,” saying they could easily lead to unwarranted fear as it would make the disease appear deadlier than it actually is. According to the CDC guidelines:
“In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID cannot be made but is suspected or likely (e.g. the circumstances are compelling with a reasonable degree of certainty) it is acceptable to report COVID-19 on a death certificate as ‘probable’ or ‘presumed.'”
Indeed, reporting deaths as COVID-19 deaths, without factual proof that the patient was in fact infected and actually died of the illness, is a clear manipulation of the statistics that drive up the perceived death rate.
Death Statistics Are Clearly Unreliable
In his April interview with Laura Ingraham, Jensen said:2
“The idea that we are going to allow people to massage and sort of game the numbers is a real issue because we are going to undermine the [public] trust. And right now, as we see politicians doing things that aren’t necessarily motivated on fact and science, their trust in politicians is already wearing thin.”
In that interview, Jensen pointed out that according to CDC guidelines, a patient dying after being hit by a bus, who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 after death, would be reported as a COVID-19 death, regardless of the injuries sustained in the accident, and regardless of whether symptoms of COVID-19 had even been present to begin with.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” he said. We recently saw a near-identical example of this nonsensical practice in Florida, where a motorcycle accident claimed the life of a 20-something man who was subsequently listed as a COVID-19 death.3
Ditto for a Florida man who died of a gunshot wound to the head, and a 77-year-old who died of Parkinson’s disease.4 According to a July 24, 2020, Washington Examiner report,5 only 169 of 581 COVID-19 deaths in Florida have COVID-19 listed as the sole contributing factor on the death certificate.
That same week, it was reported6 that the CDC website listed more than 3,700 COVID-19 deaths that also involved “intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events,” and in Texas, the death toll was reduced by more than 3,000, as they were never actually tested.
Financial Incentives Can Have Significant Influence
At that time in April, Dr. Anthony Fauci brushed off questions about COVID-19 deaths being “padded” as yet another “conspiracy theory” that should be ignored.7 A host of mainstream media reports also claimed suspicions that hospitals were overreporting positive cases and deaths in order to charge more money were pure conspiracy theory that lacked a basis in reality.
The fake arbiter of hoaxes, Snopes, also gave a “False” rating to Jensen’s claim that CDC guidelines for listing COVID-19 on death certificates in the absence of a test are resulting in an overcount.8 At the time, Jensen reacted to Fauci’s dismissal saying:9
“Medicare has determined that if you have a COVID-19 admission to the hospital you’ll get paid $13,000. If that COVID-19 patient goes on a ventilator, you get $39,000; three times as much. Nobody can tell me, after 35 years in the world of medicine, that sometimes those kinds of things [have] impact on what we do.”
Indeed, if we are to believe the first-hand testimony of nurse Erin Olszewski, these financial incentives were indeed at the heart of the routine overdiagnosis and mistreatment of patients at Elmhurst Hospital Center, a public hospital in Queens, New York, which was “the epicenter of the epicenter” of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.
I reported her shocking story in “Nurse on the Frontlines of COVID-19 Shares Her Experience.” According to Olszewski, patients who tested negative for COVID-19 were routinely listed as positive and were quickly placed on ventilators — a largely inappropriate treatment that ended up killing virtually all of them.
CDC Director Agrees Hospitals Likely Inflated COVID Deaths
Now, CDC director Robert Redfield admits that financial policies may indeed have resulted in artificially elevated hospitalization rates and death toll statistics. As reported by the Washington Examiner, August 1, 2020:10
“… Redfield agreed that some hospitals have a monetary incentive to overcount coronavirus deaths … ‘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,’ Redfield said11 during a House panel hearing … when asked by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer about potential ‘perverse incentives.’
Redfield continued: ‘So, I do think there’s some reality to that. When it comes to death reporting, though, ultimately, it’s how the physician defines it in the death certificate, and … we review all of those death certificates.
So I think, probably it is less operable in the cause of death, although I won’t say there are not some cases. I do think though [that] when it comes to hospital reimbursement issues or individuals that get discharged, there could be some play in that for sure.’”
Brett Giroir with the U.S. Health and Human Services Department also believes financial incentives have inflated COVID-19 fatalities. Giroir told lawmakers the statistics the HHS has been receiving from states “are over-inflated.”12
Medical Board Drops Case Against Jensen
Many medical professionals, scientists and researchers have been put through the wringer as a result of expressing views about the pandemic and its response that differ from the status quo put forth by the likes of Bill Gates and the World Health Organization.
Jensen, too, has been a fairly outspoken critic of several COVID-19 related issues over these past few months. In a July 6, 2020, video (above), Jensen told viewers he was under investigation and faced disciplinary action and, possibly, loss of his medical license after the Minnesota medical board received an anonymous complaint against him. The two-count allegation claimed he had:
- Spread “misinformation” about how death certificates are categorized during the pandemic
- Given “reckless advice” by comparing COVID-19 mortality to that of influenza
In his video, Jensen explained why neither of these accusations had any basis in fact. Copies of his response letters to the Minnesota Medical Board can be found on the Highwire website.13 July 28, 2020, Jensen announced14 the Medical Board had dismissed the allegations against him. In a press release, Jensen stated:
“We are all entitled to our own reasoning. In a nation built on free speech, this right must be protected. I was forced to respond to allegations from accusers I could not face. These people threatened to uproot my practice, my profession, and my life. But cancel culture didn’t win this time.”
String of ‘Errors’ Have Permanently Muddled Statistics
As reported in “Consistent Inaccuracies in COVID-19 Testing and Reporting” and “Common Cold May Trigger Positive COVID-19 Antibody Test,” the only consistent pattern in COVID-19 statistics is their inconsistency.
Faulty or contaminated tests have been used, labs have sporadically reported only positive test results,15,16,17 and reporting guidelines for infected cases (positive tests), hospitalizations and deaths have been changed so many times, it’s now virtually impossible to determine the accuracy of these statistics.
Positive Test Result Is Not a COVID-19 Case
Perhaps the most egregious misrepresentation of reality, though, is the media’s conflating a positive test result with the actual disease, COVID-19. These tests only test for the virus directly (PCR tests) or antibodies to the virus. The fact that a person tests positive does NOT equate to actually having the disease.
They’re infected, yes, but “COVID-19” refers to a clinical diagnosis of someone who exhibits severe respiratory illness characterized by fever, coughing and shortness of breath. If you’re asymptomatic, you do not “have COVID-19.” The worst that could be said is that you’re infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but if you’re not actually ill, you do not have COVID-19.
The media is intentionally confusing a positive test result with COVID-19 to deliberately mislead the public into believing the disease is far more serious than it is. They know better but consciously choose this despicable practice. A recent example would be CNN’s article, “Florida Has More COVID-19 Than Most Countries in the World.”18
They refer to the positive test as a “case.” This is beyond stretching reality to suit their nefarious purposes. Again, a case is NOT a positive test result but, rather, a person that has a positive test result and is seriously ill. You would never know that by reading their article.
Further down in their fear-mongering article is a subhead, “Florida Has Surpassed Italy in COVID-19 Cases, Too.” But at the very end of the article they finally admit the truth: Even though Florida surpassed Italy in “cases,” they had nearly 90% FEWER deaths — the metric that really counts, unless your goal is to perpetuate needless fear into the population.
1, 2, 7, 9 Fox News April 9, 2020
11, 12 Breitbart July 31, 2020