How Honest is the COVID Fatality Count?

Dr. Scott Jensen is both a physician and a Minnesota state senator. Yesterday he was interviewed by a local television station and dropped a bombshell: he, and presumably all other Minnesota doctors, got a seven-page letter from the Minnesota Department of Health that gave guidance on how to classify COVID-19 deaths. The letter said that if a patient died of, e.g., pneumonia, and was believed to have been exposed to COVID-19, the death certificate should say that COVID-19 was the cause of death even though the patient was never tested, or never tested positive, for that disease.

Dr. Jensen found this to be irregular and contrary to the usual practice for filling out death certificates. It seems intended to inflate the number of Wuhan flu deaths; it is hard to see any other potential purpose. The most entertaining thing about the exchange is the shock expressed by the interviewer. Here is the video:

Can we trust the COVID fatality counts that we are being given daily? I think it is fair to say that powerful forces would like to maximize the apparent impact of the disease.

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