4/17/2020 ©Moira Dolan, MD
New York is playing the same numbers game that China pulled, when their alleged CoVID death numbers spiked in mid-February.
New York’s health department reported coronavirus deaths took a jump overnight. On Tuesday April 14th there were 6,589 deaths, and by Wednesday April 15th there were 10,367.
How did this happen? They added in deaths from 3,778 people who never tested positive, or who had actually tested negative.
Doctoring the Numbers
A new category is “presumed to have died from COVID-19.” It counts dead people who had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, as well as those who did not get tested at all.
This goes way beyond the mandate in the US, where physicians are required to report virus-positive cases as a coronavirus death (no matter what they think was the actual cause of death).
In the early days of the pandemic, symptomatic people were routinely getting tested for other common causes of respiratory symptoms, such as strep throat, flu and bacterial pneumonia.
For some weeks now, symptomatic people have not been likely to get tested for these common causes of respiratory symptoms.
Telemedicine diagnoses of presumptive CoVID infections are even being made for people with cough, with no testing at all.
And now, when a deceased person tested positive for some other common cause of respiratory illness, and/or didn’t get tested for SARS-CoV-2, or actually tested negative for coronavirus, CoVID still gets listed as the cause of death.
There is something nefarious behind these number games; it is not medically sound.
Of course, “NY Death Toll Tops 10,000” is a lot more catchy than 6,589 (in a state of 19.45 million).
In other news, the effectiveness of masks is increasingly questioned, just as the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced more broad recommendations to don a mask.
The CDC now advises the use of homemade cloth masks in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
The first obvious evidence that masks might not be effective came from Wuhan at the start of the outbreak.
This was already a mask-wearing public. It is common practice to wear masks outdoors in Wuhan and in virtually all industrial cities in China.
Such masks decrease the inhalation of particulate matter from air pollution.
From early on in the pandemic, Wuhan hospital workers followed mask-wearing protocols. Yet 29% of CoVID infections in the month of January were in the Wuhan hospital staffers themselves.
In a medical publication from February, the Chinese reported that in Wuhan’s first 138 cases, hospital-related transmission was responsible for 41% of the illnesses.
There is only one published study of masks regarding this new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), from South Korea:
Four patients known to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 put on masks and then were individually seated at a table containing an open viral culture dish.
They coughed through surgical medical masks. The culture plates grew the virus in abundance
Then the experiment was repeated with fresh culture plates while the patients coughed through N35 respirators. The culture plates again grew the virus in abundance.
What’s more, the mask surfaces were detected to have more SARS-CoV-2 virus on their outside layer than on the inside. This was explained by the wicking action of the mask material.
This validates the concern of many medical people, that the wearing of masks by the general public might end up promoting disease transmission.
The British Medical Journal recently published a summary of past studies on the effectiveness of medical masks in preventing viral infections. They failed to show effectiveness of masks.
The studies included some coronavirus testing, but as they were done before the outbreak of this new SARS-CoV-2 strain, none of them actually tested for the particular virus that is causing the current scene.
The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Japan’s Ministry of Health. Labor and Welfare officially admits that the effectiveness of wearing a face mask to protect from contracting viruses is “limited”.
They state, “If you wear a face mask in confined, badly ventilated spaces, it might help avoid catching droplets emitted from others but if you are in an open-air environment, the use of face mask [sic] is not very efficient.”
China recommends surgical masks according to their 3-tier risk rating: surgical mask for people at moderate risk, disposable mask for people at low risk, and no need for mask for people at very low risk, or, the latter can wear cloth masks.
In Hong Kong the Department of Health says masks are advised for people who are ill or have some symptoms, and for anyone taking public transportation or staying in crowded places.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health advises wearing a mask if you have respiratory symptoms, such as a cough or runny nose.
Contrary to the belief of many, the CDC advice is a recommendation, and is not a mandate or law.