A Washington state free-market think tank caught the Washington Department of Health inflating its Wuhan virus statistics.
Instead of admitting fault, though, Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee denounced the group for promoting a dangerous “conspiracy” theory.
Now, newly obtained emails show Health Department bureaucrats acknowledged overblowing official stats, even describing the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation’s findings as “true” and “correct.”
But the state’s misleading methodology continues, despite clear medical and documentary evidence to the contrary.
In May, the Freedom Foundation released a groundbreaking report showing how the state was exaggerating Wuhan virus deaths by roughly 13 percent.
Washington’s official tally even counted gunshot victims as coronavirus deaths.
Using the state’s own data, Freedom Foundation researchers analyzed medical examiner records and found that 147 deaths of the total 828 deaths reported as of May 8, either failed to list COVID-19 on death certificates or listed COVID-19 as a contributor to death, not the cause of death itself.
In other words, if anyone tests positive for the Wuhan virus but dies of unrelated causes after the infection passes, then they will be counted as a COVID death.
And if someone dies of an unrelated cause while testing positive for the virus, then they will also be classified as an official COVID death statistic.
“DOH includes deaths of all persons who tested positive for COVID-19 in its totals, even if the victims died from other causes, such as gunshot wounds,” the Freedom Foundation explained.
When asked about the scandalous finding during a telephonic press conference, Inslee dismissed the report as “dangerous,” “disgusting” and “malarkey.”
He further accused the Freedom Foundation of “fanning these conspiracy claims from the planet Pluto” and not caring about the people who died.
However, recently obtained emails produced under the state Public Records Act tell a very different story.
On May 20, two days after Inslee’s nasty public rebuke, the Department of Health leadership team, which is part of the Inslee administration, conducted an email conversation about a radio interview involving the Freedom Foundation report’s chief author.
“In [the interview], he says that someone who has had a positive COVID test, and then maybe a month later died of a car accident, will be counted as a COVID related death. Please listen to the clip and let us know if what he is saying is correct,” a communications official wrote to the department’s health statistics manager.
“…Yes, in theory, that is correct,” the statistics manager promptly responded.
An attempt to coordinate a self-serving response across the department’s Center for Public Affairs and the state Joint Information Center located at the Washington National Guard headquarters ensued.
After explaining that the Health Department, and by extension the Inslee administration, was receiving numerous media requests for comment, a strategy was formed to “put a couple experts from the Center for Health Statistics on the Thursday tele-briefing to speak to the issue…”
An evening follow-up email from the Health Department’s public information officer to the JIC director, who happened to be Inslee’s former press secretary, explained that the upcoming briefing would specifically involve attacking the Freedom Foundation.
But that aspect of the administration’s plan was scraped when Inslee’s former press secretary later decided, “they don’t need the publicity.”
On May 21, Health Department officials acknowledged during the press tele-briefing that Wuhan virus deaths were indeed too high, but did not reference the Freedom Foundation or its blockbuster report.
However, the acknowledgment came with a disingenuous caveat.
Department officials said that the Wuhan virus death count was mistakenly inflated by only 3 percent, a statistically insignificant figure. The officials then committed to adjusting the death count accordingly.
Nearly one month later on June 17, the Health Department announced it was removing only seven deaths, which included two suicides, three murders and two drug overdoses.
Then on July 14, the department released a one-time “Death Category Report” breaking down Wuhan virus deaths into causation categories.
“As of 14 July, 2020 there have been 1,458 deaths among Washington residents who have had a positive RT-PCR COVID-19 test,” the report said.
The report also quietly acknowledged that 11 percent of previously reported Wuhan virus deaths were wrong.
The figure is likely still too low but is nearly four-times greater than the state’s previously acknowledged figure.
Despite his ugly denunciation of the Freedom Foundation, Inslee has yet to apologize or admit fault.
Like other Democrats governors in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, many of Washington’s Wuhan virus deaths have occurred in nursing homes, which critics assert is a total failure of leadership to protect the most vulnerable coronavirus population.
Despite being warned about a critical shortage of life-saving breathing ventilators from Inslee’s own Department of Health prior to the pandemic, Inslee chose to spend billions on ineffective climate change initiatives and pet progressive projects, like $1.1 billion for orcas, and then trash the Trump administration while begging for help.