Opinion

Why Did New York’s Coronavirus Death Count Just Spike?

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Posted: Apr 15, 2020 11:20 AM
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Why Did New York’s Coronavirus Death Count Just Spike?

Source: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File

"It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes." It may have been Stalin and it may have been Napoleon. It may have been Boss Tweed. Regardless of the original source, this truism describes government corruption and manipulation to perfection.

Even in the face of a global pandemic and an unprecedented government-ordered economic shutdown, politicians are using their power to corrupt vital needed data regarding the Chinese coronavirus and its deadly toll on Americans.

The latest escapade comes from America's "ground zero" for COVID-19 infections, New York, where the death tally just surpassed 10,000. Or did it?

The New York Post explains how previously unreported deaths are now, suddenly being included in the city's death count, and the reasons deserve scrutiny:

More than 10,000 people have died of coronavirus in New York City, including over 3,700 cases where someone never made it to a hospital, the city’s Health Department announced Tuesday. 

The Big Apple’s new death toll is 10,367. That figure combines the 6,589 victims who tested positive for the virus plus another 3,778  who were never tested, but whose death certificates list the cause of death as “COVID-19 or an equivalent,” according to city Health Department data from March 11 through April 13.

The Post goes on to explain that the victims of probable coronavirus seem to center mostly on individuals 75 years or older, according to the NYC Health Department.

The newly revised death count of 10,367 could very well be accurate. And, of course, it could be wrong. The previous number of 6,589 was the official number right up until the moment it wasn't because government officials decided to widen their definition of a coronavirus death.

The problem - and this is a pretty big problem - is that we are making extraordinary and unprecedented decisions that infringe on our dearly held individual liberties and are stifling our once-burgeoning economy. We Americans are grudgingly willing to make these painful concessions on a temporary basis in the spirit of protecting our fellow citizens from infection or death. But when we acquiesce to these demands on our freedom, don't we deserve sound and reliable data to justify the concessions?

Instead of solid, reliable data, our leaders have constantly moved the goalposts and even the rules of the game. The models shift, the predictions are memory-holed and now even something as seemingly solid as an accurate tally of how many people have died as a result of this virus is being fudged. And it's being fudged in the middle of the game.

It's hard for a cynic (and these days Americans who are relying on critical information from our government and from the news media should be radically cynical) to assume this shift in data is being made not for scientific or public policy purposes, but to satisfy a political agenda.

In the Trump era, hard data is tough to come by when it pertains to information that could hurt Donald Trump's presidency and legacy. There is no doubt that a liberal protocol for counting a COVID-19 death will serve to increase the total number and will be used as a political weapon against President Trump. That's just a fact.

Two and a half years after Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico, we still don't have an accurate death toll because the methodology for determining those numbers was radically modified for the first time in history. And it was modified just as President Trump was touting the relatively low initial death toll as compared with other, comparable storms in American history.

The Puerto Rico death toll immediately became a political cudgel and the media used the new weapon forged with unprecedented death count protocols to hammer the president. Ironically, if many Puerto Ricans died as a result of government negligence post-Hurricane Maria, it appears to have been the fault of the local Puerto Rican officials and not the Trump Administration.

This January, it was discovered that political corruption in Puerto Rico withheld federal aid from people suffering from the hurricane in the weeks after the storm hit the tiny island. But the same media who were making the case that the inflated hurricane death toll was grounds for Trump's impeachment mostly ignored the story. They were too busy covering their latest reason for impeaching the president to be bothered with it.

Direct tallies of individuals who are conclusively found to have perished due to the coronavirus should be executed in a consistent and logical way. If the deceased individual tests positive for the virus and their death came about due to symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19, then they should count. If a person dies in their home and they are over the age of 75, and there is no indication they were exposed to the virus, they should not count. Sadly, in New York, they now do count.

How many people have died as a direct result of the Chinese coronavirus? Sadly, that depends on who's doing the counting.

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