‘These are deaths that should not be politicized…’
The state’s original policy required health officials to count anyone who had COVID-19 at the time of death, even if coronavirus did not cause death.
This approach has been widely mocked and criticized by those skeptical of the fearmongering and over-hyping of misleading statistics during the pandemic.
Although some agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have encouraged the use of the more lax standard, hospitals have been accused of having a financial incentive with the federal government offering thousands of dollars per diagnosed patient to cover the COVID-19 treatments.
“We have been reporting … deaths among people who had COVID-19 at the time of death and the cause of that death may or may not have been COVID-19,” Dr. Eric France, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s chief medical officer, told KDVR-TV. “We started to hear stories about ‘are these correct or are these incorrect?’”
In one particularly egregious Colorado case that garnered national attention, the state health department classified a man’s cause of death as the virus even though the true cause was clearly alcohol poisoning, according to the National Review.
The 35-year-old man was found with a blood alcohol concentration at .55—a percentage nearly seven times the .08 level many jurisdictions consider to be intoxicated and nearly double what is considered to be a lethal concentration.
Now, the state is only counting those whose deaths were directly caused by the coronavirus. And as a result, the state’s total numbers dropped from 1,150 to 878.
The policy change is part of the state government’s efforts to remain “as transparent as possible,” said Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.
“The CDC criteria include anybody who has died with COVID-19, but what the people of Colorado and the people of the country want to know is how many people died of COVID-19,” Polis told Fox News on Sunday.
“One of the reasons we wanted to make sure we reported it out in a better way was to inspire confidence so that it wouldn’t be politicized,” he continued. “… These are deaths that should not be politicized.”
Polis has been one of the only Democratic officials eager to reopen his state. He rejected the idea that his state will need to stay shut down throughout the summer and into the fall, arguing that a prolonged shutdown of that nature simply is not sustainable.
But, Polis has continued to claim that even after the state reopens, life “will not return to normal” immediately.
— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) April 23, 2020