A little-noticed, peer-reviewed study published last October by a science and public health journal claims the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ignored federal laws and regulations when it changed how the government counts deaths from COVID-19, caused by the CCP virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.
“All federal agencies are required to submit notification for data collection, publication, or analysis to the Federal Register BEFORE gaining approval from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OMB/OIRA) to ensure they are in compliance with the Information Quality Act (IQA) and the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and therefore, approved to implement the proposed changes,” the authors said in the study published by the Journal of Science, Public Health Policy, and Law.
“Based upon the complete absence of Federal Register records for ‘Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment,’ at no point did the CDC inform the OMB/OIRA or allow for 60 days of public comment in the following unilateral decisions that attempted to bypass Federal oversight.
“We allege that the complete absence of the appropriate Federal Register records is evidence that the CDC knowingly and willingly violated the IQA & PRA. As a direct consequence of implementing the two documents below without OMB approval, there was significant inflation of COVID-19 case and fatality data.”
A CDC spokesman didn’t respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment by press time.
The 10 authors of the study compared fatality counts compiled using the new system propounded by the CDC in an alert issued on March 24, 2020, early in the initial national lockdown and the procedures used by the CDC and all state and local public health officials since 2003. The latter procedures are described in two handbooks, one for physicians and a second for medical examiners and coroners.
“These handbooks have been used successfully for 17 years without need of update. They remain in use today for all causes of death except where involvement of COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed. When involvement of COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed, the March 24th, 2020 COVID19 Alert No. 2 guidelines are used instead,” according to the study.
Based on data for all recorded U.S. deaths through Aug. 23, 2020, the new CDC system counted 161,392 that were attributed to the virus. Using the older system, the death total was only 9,684.
The essential difference between the old and new systems was the latter’s inclusion of multiple comorbidities along with the virus and listing the virus as the cause of death and the comorbidities as “contributing conditions.”
The study pointed to a CDC weekly alert on Aug. 23, 2020, that stated: “For 6 percent of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.”
The same weekly alert updated as of March 14, 2021, read: “For 6 percent of these deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned on the death certificate. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 3.8 additional conditions or causes per death.”
The revised fatality counting system, with changes that weren’t announced or made subject to public comment, as required by federal laws, raises concerns, according to the study’s authors.
“Why would the CDC decide against using a system of data collection and reporting they authored, and which has been in use nationwide for 17 years without incident, in favor of an untested and unproven system exclusively for COVID-19 without discussion and peer-review?” the study said.
“Did the CDC’s decision to abandon a known and proven effective system also breach several federal laws that ensure data accuracy and integrity? Did the CDC knowingly alter rules for reporting cause of death in the presence of comorbidity exclusively for COVID-19? If so, why?”
The study has received little media attention, despite the potential significance of such a huge overcount for federal policymakers and medical professionals.
Searches on the study’s title produced no results on the websites of The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. The Epoch Times hasn’t previously reported on the study.
Politifact, a journalism fact-checking website, addressed the study indirectly in rating a National File post about it as “False,” and saying: “The study does not definitively say that the CDC inflated COVID-19 deaths. Rather, it calls into question guidelines the CDC issued in March 2020 that were designed to more accurately capture mortality data related to the coronavirus.
“The study’s authors called the guidance ‘a capricious alteration to data collection has compromised the accuracy, quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of their published data.’”
In fact, while the study doesn’t say the CDC “inflated COVID-19 deaths,” it does claim the change in data counting procedures produced the wide divergence in total fatalities as of Aug. 23, 2020, 161,392 versus 9,684, as explained above.
Congressional correspondent Mark Tapscott can be reached at email@example.com.