What would we say if we knew that Donald Trump could have prevented hundreds of thousands of Americans from unnecessarily dying in the COVID-19 pandemic? Public health experts believe Trump is responsible for 400,000 excess deaths across the country in 2020.
The way that reachers came up with the number of “excess deaths” was by estimating how many people died from March to September in 2020. Then they compare that number to the actual number of deaths.
We know that heavily Democratic counties reported their death rates, while Republican “strongholds” underreported them. Thorough reports by Democratic portions of Florida may have compensated for the underreporting in Republican areas.
New research published earlier this month in The American Journal of Public Health indicated that 4,924 excess deaths from COVID-19 were not counted in Florida. Instead, those deaths were attributed to other conditions such as pre-existing diabetes or asthma. Governor Ric DeSantis (R) appointed all of the medical examiners in the state.
A year ago, DeSantis was charged with trying to keep the coronavirus deaths secret. Last August, he mandated that COVID-19 deaths did not require a medical examiner’s certification.
Over 30,000 Floridians died in the pandemic. Many claimed that a large number of those deaths were attributed to DeSantis not allowing localities to provide their own public health measures. He ignored health experts and resisted masks and lockdowns.
Health experts said Florida could easily be on the edge of yet another coronavirus wave. DeSantis’ attitude toward spring break crowds on the beaches and in the establishments will have played a big part in that surge.
Public health economist at the University of Utah who led the research team looking at Florida’s excess deaths, Moosa Tatar said he blamed COVID-19 for most deaths. The economist noted that he focused on Florida, because the governor lifted his restrictions so quickly.
Regarding the coronavirus pandemic in Florida, Tatar said as Yahoo News reported:
‘[The impact] is significantly greater than the official COVID-19 data suggest.’
Unfortunately, each state set up its own death classification system. Yale epidemiologist Daniel Weinberger noted that his own analysis showed Florida’s “gap” between the COVID-19 virus and excess deaths was not unusual.
Weinberger sent an email to Yahoo News:
‘Some states classify a death as due to COVID if a positive molecular test was obtained, while other states allow the death to be classified as due to COVID if there is a suspicion that it was caused by COVID (even without a molecular test).’
DeSantis was criticized for being reckless. Tatar said:
‘I am sure that COVID-19 is responsible for most of these excess deaths.’
Statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Lauren Rossen also analyzed excess deaths. She did not agree with the economist:
‘Florida doesn’t stand out to me.’
Florida has the second-largest population in the nation and the fourth-highest total deaths from the pandemic. It also has a significantly high number of elderly residents.
An associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida Jason Salemi said every excess death should not be considered due to the coronavirus. There were individuals who may have feared catching the coronavirus or for other reasons avoided treatment rather than being infected with the virus. Salemi said:
‘You could’ve never gotten the coronavirus, delayed needed health care, and died from diabetes-related complications. That’s still indirectly tied to the pandemic. [Florida’s deaths were] kind of middle-of-the-pack.’
Salemi has a coronavirus dashboard and speaks to Florida state epidemiologists. He said:
‘I don’t think there’s anything egregious going on with the data. I would know. I am just constantly in these data.’
Andrew Stokes’ of Boston University said that elected officials in parts of the nation supporting Trump took the coronavirus pandemic less seriously than in other parts of America. He said that did not mesh with what the CDC statistician Rosen found:
‘There’s a lot of regional variation within Florida. [There were] patterns of underreporting.’
Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Justin Lessler said only heart disease and cancer caused more deaths than the COVID-19 virus, The Scientific American reported:
‘Overall, COVID-19 was the third most common cause of death in the U.S. during 2020. Given it did not exist at the beginning of the year, this should be troubling to everyone.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
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