There are a lot of emotional stories in the news media right now to mark the passing of 200,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, but are they leaving anything out as they tug at your heartstrings? Photos of heartbroken family members bring home the impact of loss we all feel when someone in our family or acquaintance passes, but those same articles and photos are sometimes used by a news media trying to mislead instead of inform.
Is 200,000 a real number?
You may remember a recent report from the CDC itself noted, as many as 94 percent of COVID-19 deaths had on average another 2.6 contributing conditions or causes of deaths along with the virus, but if the patient had the virus, the death was counted as COVID-19. If this percentage is accurate, that 200,000 number becomes 12,000 deaths solely caused by COVID-19! One absurd example out of Florida showed a motorcycle rider who died in an accident happened to have the virus in his bloodstream and, sure enough, the death was listed as COVID-19 until publicity forced them to change it. Some patients who were soon to die from other causes and who had the virus in their system, were listed as dying from COVID-19 even if it had little or nothing to do with their actual death. It all added to the fear and hysteria without doing the general public any good. It makes you wonder why anyone would do this.
Were hospitals paid more for COVID-19 patients?
If a hospital had a financial incentive to classify a patient as having COVID-19 do you think it would have any effect on how many they had? Reports of these payments were sometimes dismissed as conspiracy theories, but here, too, a little digging shows the government really did pay hospitals more, as much as $77,000 more, per patient. All it takes is one COVID-19 admission per day to qualify. There are two rounds of distribution, the 1st round paid $77K per patient, the 2nd round was reduced to $50K per patient. Even at the lower rate, it wouldn’t take very many patients to add up to serious money.
A little honesty goes a long way
COVID-19 has become more political than medical and it made that turn early on. Sticking to the facts, giving people actionable information instead of useless statistics about cases would empower everyone. The breathless count of more cases only adds to stress, while promoting a common supplement gives people a chance to do something right now to better their chances of resisting the virus. And maybe a little honesty, maybe telling people that 200,000 figure has a few big asterisks next to it instead of hyping it as a new deadly milestone. It’s not, and the news media and politicians who repeat it aren’t doing anyone any favors, except maybe themselves.