The Freedom Foundation has discovered an unnerving trend in the COVID-19 death tolls coming out of Washington state. Washington State Department of Health officials confirmed on Thursday that they've been reporting the deaths of all individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, even if the victims died from other causes, such as gunshot wounds.
“We don’t always know the cause of death for a death when it is first reported on our dashboard," DOH health statistics manager Katie Hutchinson said in a briefing. "That is true. Over the course of the outbreak, we have been monitoring and recording the causes of death as we know it. We currently do have some deaths that are being reported that are clearly from other causes. We have about five deaths — less than five deaths — that we know of that are related to obvious other causes. In this case, they are from gunshot wounds.”
Before state officials admitted the erroneous reporting, Gov. Jay Inslee dismissed the Freedom Foundation's reporting as “dangerous,” and “disgusting," adding that the group was “fanning these conspiracy claims from the planet Pluto."
"This is why Jay Inslee has no credibility on this issue," said Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe. "He knows he was lying now, and he knew it on Monday when he dismissed out of hand the research that was 100 percent validated."
Thankfully it sounds like the state Department of Health will be "adjusting" the way it reports COVID deaths. As of Wednesday, it was reported that 1,044 people in Washington who had COVID-19 have died.
“Over the course of the outbreak, we have been very aware of a small number of deaths being reported on our dashboard that end up not being due to COVID…We will be removing them over time from our death count,” said Hutchinson.
“We are really trying to figure out how best to report out the information on the COVID deaths in a way that is more understandable and still is accurate and is in real time as possible," she added.
She mused that the actual number of coronavirus deaths may actually be higher than initially reported, and investigators are looking into another 3,000 deaths that involved COVID-like symptoms.