In California's seventh largest county, Alameda, health officials have made a rather bombshell admission — 25% of all deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the county of 1.6 million people, were actually not caused by the virus at all.
The Alameda County Public Health Department made the announcement on Friday and revised the death toll from 1,634 to 1,223 — a 25% decrease or 411 total cases.
“There are definitely people who died from reasons that were clearly not caused by COVID,”said Neetu Balram, a spokesperson for the Alameda County Public Health Department.
According to a report from Oaklandside.org, Balram couldn’t give specifics about the true cause of death for the 411 people removed from the COVID-19 data, but she said the cases were identified after reviewing codes entered by county coroners into CalREDIE, the state’s database for disease reporting and surveillance. Alameda County uses CalREDIE data to populate its COVID dashboard.
“We knew any change like this would have raised some eyebrows,” Nicholas Moss, Alameda County’s health officer told The Oaklandside. “Nothing about this changes our policy decisions now or during the height of the pandemic.” From The Oaklandside:
Balram said the state’s definition was different: A death can only be attributed to COVID-19 if the coroner or medical provider can show that the person died “as a direct result of COVID-19, with COVID-19 as a contributing cause of death, or in whom death caused by COVID-19 could not be ruled out.” The state came up with this definition late last year in the middle of the pandemic, after Alameda County was already using its method.
“Obviously our definition was broader than the state’s,” Balram said, adding the 411 deaths being removed were “clearly not COVID.”
This reversal from Alameda county backs up many claims from other health officials who stated their cities were attributing deaths to COVID-19 when they clearly were not.
As TFTP reported in March, similar findings came out of Illinois. Monroe County Coroner Bob Hill made waves in his home state of Illinois after he examined a portion of the list of possible COVID-19 deaths. What he found was utterly shocking and has led to calls for an audit of COVID-19 deaths in his state.
According to the Center Square, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed 19,893 deaths through the end of February in Illinois where COVID-19 was listed among multiple causes. Of those deaths, about 1,830, or 9.2%, had COVID-19 listed as the sole cause of death.
That percentage is higher than it was in September 2020 when the rate was about 6%.
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However, Hill calls these numbers into question after reviewing many of the cases, finding that people who died from clearly non-COVID-19 issues are being counted as dying from COVID-19.
“My concern is, I’ve reviewed several cases, (of 100 cases) about ten of them here in Monroe County, that the state has deemed COVID-related deaths and none of them have had underlying conditions or contributing factors to COVID,” Hill said. “So my concern is no matter when the person was tested positive, the state is automatically giving them a death classification as related to COVID.”
One glaring case the coroner found during his review was a man who died from an accidental drug overdose. The man died in January from the overdose but tested positive three months prior in October for COVID-19. His death was recorded as a COVID-19 death, according to Hill.
“As soon as that death came across to the state they went ahead and classified and put a statistic as a COVID death,” Hill said.
After Hill made his concerns public, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the governor responded with the health department admitting the data may change.
“Once IDPH has a chance to further investigate the data, connect with local health departments about specific cases, review death records, and conduct other quality assurance measures, the data may change,” a department spokesperson said.
“A confirmed or probable COVID-19 case will be considered if: Death is within 30 days of symptom onset,” among other factors, the department said.
But Hill found cases that don't even come close to fitting this criteria.
“We’re seeing people on the list that they've put as a COVID death that have tested positive 9 months ago that have since recovered that have died from other issues unrelated to COVID,” Hill said.
As stated above, there are cases like this from coast to coast. One insanely glaring case comes from New York in which a man was shot 7 times by police.
Ricardo Cardona, 55, was shot 7 times by New York police officers and died five days later in the hospital. His cause of death was not listed as gun shots, however. According to reports, he died of COVID-19 despite the seven bullet holes in his body. You cannot make this up.