Numbers matter … which is why we follow them as closely as we can. Numbers tell us about outcomes. Results. Progress (or lack thereof). Of course you have to follow the right numbers, and you have to be able to trust the numbers you are following. In the hyper-partisan, über-sensitive, reflexively tribal “post-truth” world in which we find ourselves – following the right numbers has become harder than ever.
And with politicians, well … being politicians.
The initial panic, the mass societal shutdowns … all of these were grounded in fear, not fact. There was no debate. Tribes aligned along existing ideological fault lines and that was that …
For months, every Covid-19 headline has been chalked up as propaganda advancing one of two narratives: 1) Needless fear-mongering intent on keeping people dependent and economically inactive, or, 2) Ignorant and dangerous dismissal of a virus that poses clear and present dangers to public health.
From the beginning of the pandemic, this news outlet has sought to obtain the best available information … in the hopes of providing our readers with the proper context and perspective. We have also provided multiple voices offering news, analysis and commentary – including our founding editor Will Folks and our news director Mandy Matney.
And while we would never downplay the seriousness of the virus, we have also published articles calling into question some of the official government statistics related to the number of people it has purportedly killed.
Because challenging numbers … from every angle … is our job.
This week, a South Carolina resident posted something deeply personal on social media raising what we believe to be legitimate and important questions about a Covid-19 fatality that was allegedly misclassified.
According to a Facebook post from Kimberly K. Klosterman, her 79-year-old grandmother was officially recorded as having succumbed to “Covid-19 complications” even though she “never had any symptoms of Covid and was never even tested, before or after death!”
Nonetheless, “Covid-19 complications” is listed on her death certificate (which, incidentally bears the signature of a health bureaucrat who is supposed to have resigned his office months ago).
Take a look …
(Click to view)
“I know Covid is real and that it can be scary,” Klosterman wrote. “I know many people that have had it, some that have been hospitalized with it and people that have died from it.”
In other words, Klosterman is not some tin foil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist. She knows the virus is real. And she knows it is serious.
“BUT,” she added, citing her grandmother’s death certificate, “it’s really hard to believe the numbers the media is throwing out there.”
We concur …
As we noted earlier this summer, Covid-19 is clearly a “serious public health threat.” And citizens of this country – particularly those who are elderly, obese or who have underlying health issues – “should take appropriate measures to protect themselves and limit their potential exposure to the virus.”
We also acknowledged there are numerous coronavirus cases and deaths which have not been included in the official counts released by local, state and federal health care officials.
Meaning counting errors go both ways …
But there are also powerful incentives to over-classifying this virus that cannot be ignored.
In a guest column posted to this news outlet back in May, former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul of Texas claimed medical facilities in his home state were jacking “Covid hospitalizations” by testing all patients who entered these facilities irrespective of their condition.
“The ‘spike’ in Texas cases is not due to a resurgence of the virus but to hospital practices of Covid-testing every patient coming in for any procedure at all,” Paul wrote. “If it’s a positive, well that counts as a ‘Covid hospitalization.’”
According to Paul, hospitals are misclassifying these cases deliberately because the federal government is incentivizing them to do so.
“If you subsidize something you get more of it,” Paul wrote.
Stay tuned … we plan on keeping tabs on this situation and would encourage readers with similar stories to reach out to us. Similarly, we would encourage those who know of (or suspect) undiagnosed Covid-19 deaths that should be added to the state’s count to do the same.
Again, our goal is simple: Accurate numbers we can use to make the best possible decisions on how to handle this virus.
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