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China Turns CDC Script On COVID Deaths Upside Down
Admits More Deaths, But Argues They're Mainly "With COVID", Not "From COVID"
Over the weekend, China sought to push back against the complaints from other nations and the WHO that Beijing was being less than forthcoming about the country’s ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, by acknowledging roughly 60,000 deaths since mid-December, all either “from” the virus or “with” the virus.
The toll included 5,503 deaths due to respiratory failure caused by COVID-19 and 54,435 fatalities from other ailments combined with COVID-19 since Dec. 8, the National Health Commission announced. It said those “deaths related to COVID” occurred in hospitals, which left open the possibility more people also might have died at home.
This update comes after over a month of little to no official information coming from China regarding the outbreak—much to the dismay of nations around the globe as well as the WHO.
As COVID-19 rips through China, other countries and the World Health Organization are calling on its government to share more comprehensive data on the outbreak. Some even say many of the numbers it’s reporting are meaningless.
Without basic data like the number of deaths, infections and severe cases, governments elsewhere have instituted virus testing requirements for travelers from China. Beijing has said the measures aren’t science-based and threatened countermeasures.
Yet while the latest revised data from China presumably is an effort to show greater transparency, instead the data stands as an ironic reminder of all the ways basic metrics regarding COVID have been manipulated here in the United States.
If we take China’s 59,938 COVID deaths at face value, we immediately run into a credibility problem—once again, China’s data does not reconcile to how COVID-19 outbreaks have unfolded elsewhere, particularly here in the United States.
59,938 COVID deaths since December 8 translates into a approximately 46.1 COVID deaths per million people (59,938/1,300,000,000*1,000,000). It took the United States from mid February through April 6, 2020 to accumulate that many deaths per million people, a span of nearly two months, as opposed to just over a month for China.
It took the United States until 28 April 2020 to accumulate 60,000 deaths—definitively two months, which is significantly longer than what China has claimed for itself.
By any measure, China’s COVID mortality rate seems to be decidedly higher than the United States (and, by extension, much of the rest of the world) over an approximately equivalent time frame (if we assume China’s extraordinary immunological naivete where Omicron is concerned, the proper comparison is to the first SARS-CoV-2 infection wave in the US back in 2020).
Superficially, at least, China appears to be validating the corporate media narrative which paints a pandemic portrait inside China several orders of magnitude more virulent than outside China.
Naturally, the corporate media is quite willing to further this narrative of an apocalyptically bad COVID outbreak in China by suggesting that the actual death toll in China is far greater than has been reported while accusing China of hiding the real data.
The lack of transparency has caused worldwide concern. The United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, Japan, India and Italy have imposed testing requirements and other restrictions on travelers from China.
And the World Health Organization has accused China of "under-representing" the severity of its current outbreak, which is caused by sub-variants of Omicron, including the most prevalent XBB.1.5, which is nicknamed the Kraken variant.
Bloomberg all but accuses China of suppressing the full data on COVID deaths.
While the number swamps the few dozen deaths previously recorded in the official tally — which drew widespread criticism both at home and abroad, including from the World Health Organization — experts say it’s still likely to be an underestimate given the enormous scale of the outbreak and the mortality rates seen at the height of omicron waves in other countries that initially pursued a Covid Zero strategy.
Yet in China’s latest death tally, we are seeing something that has been an alt-media talking point almost from the beginning of the pandemic—the distinction between a death “from” COVID-19 and a death “with” COVID-19.
This distinction arises from a policy started in late December, where Beijing decreed that only deaths caused exclusively by COVID-19 counted as COVID-19 deaths.
New government rules only count those who died directly of pneumonia or respiratory failure caused by the virus as COVID deaths in the statistics. Previously, people who died of an illness while infected with the virus were counted as a COVID death.
Deaths where comorbidities and other infections were present are not being counted as COVID-19 deaths, at least not in China.
Ironically, some corporate media commentators, such as CNN’s Leana Wen, have recently implied the United States ought to be counting COVID-19 deaths in a similar fashion:
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. 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.
Her position is doubly ironic, as several commentators within the alt-media space, including myself, made similar arguments all the way back in 2020.
Perhaps no revelation has had greater impact than the acknowledgement by the CDC that only 6% of recorded CCPVirus deaths had no comorbidity or complicating condition.
Table 3 shows the types of health conditions and contributing causes mentioned in conjunction with deaths involving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For 6% 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.
In 94% of all CCPVirus deaths, the patients suffered from, on average, 2.6 additional conditions.
As of August 26, 2020, some 153,504 deaths were attributed to CCPVirus. Applying these percentages works out to only approximately 9210 deaths being solely attributable to CCPVirus, with the remainder being the result of complications due to diabetes, heart disease, dementia, or other comorbidity.
Given the millions of people in the United States who have tested positive for the virus, for only 9,210 to have died from just the virus itself greatly alters the perception of the virus' lethality, and the risks for various patient demographics of perishing from the disease.
As an aside, Leana Wen got a double dose of Twitter grief for her late-stage conversion to the alt-media narrative on COVID mortality.
It is also worth noting that, after three years of Pandemic Panic, the comorbidity ratios have only worsened (emphasis mine):
Table 3 shows the types of health conditions and contributing causes mentioned in conjunction with deaths involving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The number of deaths that mention one or more of the conditions indicated is shown for all deaths involving COVID-19 and by age groups. For over 5% 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 4.0 additional conditions or causes per death.
COVID-19 in 2023 is even less of a threat to the average healthy individual (zero comorbidities).
China’s latest data also notes that deaths are most common among the elderly.
Jiao Yahui, director of the National Health Commission’s medical affairs department, said medical institutes had recorded 5,503 deaths as a result of respiratory failure triggered by Covid infection and 54,435 deaths of people infected with Covid-19 but with underlying conditions, such as cancer or cardiovascular diseases.
The average age of those who died was 80.3, and 90 per cent of fatalities were aged 65 or over.
This also is in line with the outcomes of COVID infection here in the US, as well as nearly every other infectious respiratory disease known to man.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, like all infectious respiratory pathogens, tends to be most dangerous to the elderly and the already infirm. Whether in China or in the United States, the healthy individual has much less reason to fear the virus than his sickly counterpart with multiple comorbid conditions, all of which have been shown to produce varying degrees of immune system dysfunction.
What China is doing is simply turning the CDC’s method of reporting mortality data on its head, and instead of lumping every cause of death where there is a positive COVID test result among COVID deaths, chooses to exclude all deaths where there is a comorbidity or concurrent injury or disease from the official death tally. While the accuracy of China’s COVID-19 statistics is inherently problematic, given Beijing’s historical tendency to fudge the numbers, a more nuanced and granular reporting of COVID-19 deaths still offers a somewhat less grim assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Put another way, China is adopting the alt-media view of COVID-19 mortality rather than the corporate media Pandemic Panic perspective, something even corporate media commentators are suggesting should be the “official” presentation of COVID data. By so doing, China is perhaps offering a subtle push-back to corporate media’s “coronapocalypse” narrative regarding China’s latest COVID-19 outbreak, and reminds us of the extent to which exaggeration and hyperbole have been the hallmarks of the Pandemic Panic Narrative all along.
China’s numbers might be suspect, yet the mortality data and its reporting, both in China and here in the United States, illustrate that the United States numbers themselves are not above suspicion, and warrant more than a little cautious scrutiny.
In China and in the United States, the proper view of all COVID data is still “Trust nothing. Verify everything.”
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