Coronavirus in one state (145)

Minnesota state Rep. May Franson has compiled her own review of COVID-19 death data in Minnesota. She discussed her review with retiring state Sen. and Dr. Scott Jensen in the video at the bottom of this post. Anthony Gockowski of Alpha News (on whose board I sit) posted the video and reported on it on December 19 in “State lawmakers call for audit of COVID-19 death certificates.”

Rep. Franson’s findings are difficult to reconcile with the the response I received earlier this week from the Minnesota Department of Health. I posted my question and response in part 143 of this series as follows:

Question: In how many of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 is COVID-19 shown on part 1 of the death certificate as an underlying cause and in how many is it shown on part 2 as a contributory cause?

Response: The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) assigns the ICD-10 codes and adheres to the WHO Nomenclature Regulations specified in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. NCHS also uses the ICD international rules for selecting the underlying cause of death for primary mortality tabulation in accordance with the international rules. There are several separate set of rules applied when assigning multiple and underlying cause of death (COD) ICD-10 codes. One cannot determine the underlying cause of death just based on the disease condition literals reported on the death records. Therefore, it is important the cause of death be reported in the correct format as the ICD-10 codes strictly depend on how the certifiers report the cause of death.

The figures below indicate the total number of cases with COVID or related terms reported by the certifiers in Part I and/or Part II. There could be cases where these literals are reported in both sections.

Even if COVID-19 is listed as a secondary cause, our experience indicates almost all of the persons listed below would not have died if they were not infected with SARS-CoV-2.

For the case definition that we use for COVID deaths (the CDC/CSTE case definition for deaths), it is not significant if COVID is listed in Part 1 or Part 2.

As of December 7:

• There are 3,408 death records where COVID or related terms (CORONA VIRUS, CORONAVIRUS, SARS) or coded as COVID-19 (U07.1) are reported in Part I.

• There are 463 death records where COVID or related terms (CORONA VIRUS, CORONAVIRUS, SARS) or coded as COVID-19 (U07.1) are reported in Part II.

Kevin Roche commented on this response and others here.

Rep. Franson has not yet made her analysis of the death data available for public consumption, but she kindly shared it with me this morning. Her analysis appears to cover a slightly different period of time than MDH’s above. As I say, however, I find it difficult to reconcile her compilation of the data with the answer MDH provided to me. Rep. Franson comments: “What I find very interesting — not one [member of the] MN mainstream media has reached out to me. Not. One.”

Responses