A doctor who appeared prominently in the media during the pandemic acknowledged this week the United States is “overcounting” COVID-19 deaths and stressed the need for “transparent reporting” on the real numbers.
Leana Wen, a former Planned Parenthood director who now works for CNN and the Washington Post, told the channel that natural immunity and vaccinations have reduced severe COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
“Hospitals are still routinely testing everyone who’s getting admitted for COVID,” Wen, also a former director of the Baltimore City Health Department, said in response to a question about whether her statements could be “fodder for conspiracy theorists.”
“We’re seeing many people who are hospitalized with COVID, and I think it’s important to separate out who is being hospitalized because of it,” Wen added. “Because there are a lot of people who are still very concerned about their risk from COVID and we need to give them the most accurate data possible so that they can better gauge their risks. There are people still not resuming indoor dining or going to the gym or socializing. We have to give them the most accurate reporting as possible.”
“Two infectious-disease experts I spoke with believe that the number of deaths attributed to COVID is far greater than the actual number of people dying from COVID,” she wrote. “Robin Dretler, an attending physician at Emory Decatur Hospital and the former president of Georgia’s chapter of Infectious Diseases Society of America, estimates that at his hospital, 90 percent of patients diagnosed with COVID are actually in the hospital for some other illness.”
Some patients have several concurrent infections, not just COVID-19.
‘With COVID’?But if those patients die, the doctor said that COVID-19 may get added to their death certificates—meaning, they’re counted as a COVID-19 death. That’s despite COVID-19 not being the primary factor that caused the deaths.
“Given his already fragile state, his condition quickly took a turn for the worse” and he later died, a doctor said. Despite having advanced cancer, medical officials listed his death as caused by COVID-19.
“While he was very weak and frail from his underlying cancer, his death was undoubtedly accelerated and precipitated by COVID-19,” Dr. Sara Auld told the association.
Following the publication of her Washington Post opinion piece, some conservatives and COVID-19 vaccine skeptics suggested Wen is behind the curve.