Two Minnesota state lawmakers are calling for an audit of death certificates that were attributed to the coronavirus, saying COVID-19 deaths could have been inflated by 40%.
State Rep. Mary Franson and state Sen. Scott Jensen released a video last week revealing that after reviewing thousands of death certificates in the state, 40% did not have COVID-19 as the underlying cause of death.
“I have other examples where COVID isn’t the underlying cause of death, where we have a fall. Another example is we have a freshwater drowning. We have dementia. We have a stroke and multiorgan failure,” Franson said in the video.
She added that in one case, a person who was ejected from a car was “counted as a COVID death” because the virus was in his system.
Franson said she and a team reviewed 2,800 “death certificate data points” and found that about 800 of them did not have the virus as the underlying cause of death.
Jensen pointed out that he gained attention back in April when he criticized the Minnesota Department of Health for following federal guides on recording coronavirus deaths.
“I sort of got myself in hot water way back in April when I made the comment that I was, as a physician, being encouraged to do death certificates differently with COVID-19 than with other disease entities,” Jensen said.
“For 17 years, the CDC document that guides us as physicians to do death certificates has stood, but this year, we were told, through the Department of Health and the CDC, that the rules were changing if COVID-19 was involved.”
“If it’s COVID-19, we’re told now it doesn’t matter if it was actually the diagnosis that caused death. If someone had it, they died of it,” he said.
Jensen and Franson’s video comes after months of people across the country claiming their loved one’s death certificate listed the virus as the cause of death despite suffering from other ailments that would have caused death.
In Tennessee, for example, a hospital retracted a death certificate for a man who tested negative for the virus three times but was listed as a victim of the pandemic.
In Colorado, a county coroner’s office pushed back against the state’s claim that another victim, who tested positive for the virus, died of it in Montezuma County despite dying of alcohol poisoning.
Franson and Jensen noted in their video that while the deaths attributed to the virus appear inflated, this does not mean the virus should be treated without caution.
“The COVID-19 disease is real. There is no question,” Jensen said.
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