Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP.
I have been taking the reasonable precautions that have been advised by medical people to be so mindful of not being close to others, to wash and sanitize myself and items I bring into my house, and even to wear a mask when, by necessity, I need to go shopping for groceries. I have some doubts as to the necessity and to the added risks due to the feelings of false security that wearing gloves and masks brings. But to show I am a responsible citizen, I am complying.
I was preparing our must-eat-at-home meal last evening and barely listening to the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt when the words about the spike in deaths in New York City caught my ear, followed by the explanation that over 3,700 new cases had been added to the death toll resulting from Covid-19 by a decision to include them as presumptively dying from the virus.
On April 14th, 2020, the New York Times also reported: “New York City, already a world epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, sharply increased its death toll by more than 3,700 victims on Tuesday, after officials said they were now including people who had never tested positive for the virus but were presumed to have died of it.”
How suspect are such assumptions by a state like New York, and its governor, Andrew Cuomo, who is clamoring for federal aid and has a need to show proof they must have it? How credible is the rest of the data they provide considering this? Why else would they want their numbers to be bad? “Three thousand more people died in New York City between March 11 and April 13 than would have been expected during the same time period in an ordinary year, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the commissioner of the city Health Department, said in an interview. While these so-called excess deaths were not explicitly linked to the virus, they might not have happened had the outbreak not occurred, in part because it overwhelmed the normal health care system.” Without showing there might be other unusual causes for the spike, the department decided to just assume. That is not scientific and cannot justify the draconian shutdown of the state.
To add to the pseudo reporting of virus related deaths, the media, as would be expected in these days of fake news, reported, “ … epidemiologists, city officials and medical personnel say those numbers are likely to be far below the city’s actual death toll” and other such justifications for adding unconfirmed numbers of deaths.
It should be a red flag for all when headlines start appearing that “Death Count Expected To Soar As NYC Says It Will Begin Reporting Probable COVID Deaths In Addition To Confirmed Ones.”
In Ohio, it was declared in a headline that “Lucas County Republican Party chairman says father died after presumptive COVID-19 diagnosis,” while saying they did not have test results and that they didn’t even know if he died in Lucas County.
I have not even begun to check other states and whether they are presuming that deaths are the result of Covid-19, but with New York being the state reporting the highest numbers of deaths and operating in this manner, is it any wonder why there are many people now questioning the data that has led to the panic-driven decisions to close the economies of the nation? While it would not be wrong for people who are showing the symptoms of the disease to be presumed to have it in order for safety precautions to be taken, to presume and then publicly report that someone had died from the virus is misleading and brings into question all the numbers of deaths that are being reported. How difficult would it be to confirm before adding to the panic of the nation? Consider that the stock market had been rallying on some positive news on the infection rate in the nation until this was reported last evening, and now the Dow Jones averages have, as of mid-day dropped close to 700 points.
Yet when the number of infections subsides, it is certain that these same “leaders’ who have reacted like Chicken Little will take credit and praise themselves with saving lives. If we want the orders of our government leaders not to be questioned, their decisions must be based on sound scientific, fact-driven conclusions. That is not the case, and so I have now counted myself among the group that sees the “cure for the coronavirus as being worse than the disease.” We will have a hard time recovering from the economic damage inflicted on our economy. Through it all, more people will likely suffer, become ill and more will die as the result of the actions of our government than through contracting the disease.
There is a pandemic, and we must take the right actions before it is too late for our health and our way of life. Is it too late? Maybe not, but it will be soon, especially if we are not honest about what is happening and how to properly deal with it.