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Two Minn. legislators claim COVID deaths have been inflated in their state, demand audit

Two Minnesota state representatives are demanding an audit of the published coronavirus death totals nationwide. They are claiming that the figures have been inflated by including individuals who died of obviously non-illness related reasons after they had a positive test for the novel coronavirus. In other words, if you die in a car crash or some other accident and test positive for the virus, the death is being counted as a COVID-19 death.

Republican Reps. Mary Franson and Scott Jensen went public with this on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Tuesday. Franson stated, “I enlisted some people that are really good at understanding data … to go through those death files and what I found was shocking because I was just hoping that it was a myth, but indeed, Minnesota is classifying some deaths as COVID when clearly, they should not be.”

“We should not have people dying in motor vehicle collisions, suicides, drownings, et cetera and being classified as a COVID death,” said Franson, adding that the presumed death toll is one of the chief reasons “our state is locked down. Our kids are now going to have to wear masks while playing basketball and hockey.”

She pointed out that people in the state are allowed to eat at restaurants “but it’s got to be outside. Today in Minnesota, we’ve got a blizzard. People are losing their livelihoods, we have the greatest transfer of wealth taking place right now — and we need an audit.”

Jensen laid the blame at the feet of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the mischaracterized deaths, saying, “When the Department of Health and the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] decided to change the rules that had been in place for 17 years by encouraging the diagnosis of COVID-19 in situations that we never would have otherwise, they were abandoning their long-held commitment to precisely identifying the inciting or the initiating event that would lead to a sequence of events that would lead to a person’s demise.”

“What we saw subsequently was … enhanced payments to hospitals for Medicare patients and then we saw … the old adage — follow the money — and we saw if hospitals could somehow hit 161 admissions with COVID-19, then they would be eligible for a $77,000 per admission payment through the CARES Act,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s any questions that reverse incentives have been created.”

Officially, over 344,000 Americans have passed away because of the coronavirus. The exact number of these deaths that should be counted as coronavirus deaths has been the subject of heated controversy since essentially everyone who dies while under a coronavirus diagnosis is allegedly being included in the totals. This is regardless of whether the coronavirus was the primary or even a significant contributing factor to their death. Medical professionals and the CDC have argued that those deaths should be included in totals when the novel coronavirus was one of several contributing illnesses that led to a person’s death.

Reports of individuals dying of obvious non-COVID related reasons have continuously surfaced since the beginning of the pandemic. These deaths are reported to have been included in COVID death totals simply because of a positive coronavirus test even though a car wreck, murder, suicide, or some other form of death would have occurred despite the virus.

Minnesota remains under lockdown orders imposed by Minnesota’s Democratic governor Tim Walz. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has aggressively targeted Minnesota bars and restaurants who have violated these orders, leading many small business owners in the state to close their doors forever.

Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann denied the claims saying MDH follows the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics on defining COVID-19 deaths.

“When we look at the number of deaths reported via [the NCHS], the number they’re reporting is consistent with what we are reporting,” Ehresmann said. “We’re absolutely following the national guidance on how we are doing our death reporting from COVID-19.”

Ehresman said car crash victims are not being counted among the state’s COVID-19 deaths.

“If someone had tested positive for COVID and then subsequently died, we would review the death certificate and motor vehicle accident would be the cause of death and so it would not be considered a COVID death,” Ehresmann said.

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