Minnesota Lawmakers Call for Audit of COVID Death Totals


Two Minnesota legislators called for a nationwide audit of death certificates this week, alleging that the number of coronavirus deaths is being deliberately inflated.

Republican state Rep. Mary Franson and Republican state Sen. Scott Jensen appeared on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Tuesday to discuss the possible inflation.

The lawmakers alleged that, although many death certificates list COVID-19 as the cause of death, they found multiple instances in the state where patients actually died of something else entirely.

Franson said she made the discovery after she was approached by concerned citizens who had documents from the Minnesota Department of Health and asked her to take a look.

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The state representative said she called on a team of people who would understand the data, including Jensen, to help sift through 2,800 death certificates.

They found that 800 death certificates did not have COVID-19 listed as an underlying cause of death.

“What I found was shocking because I was just hoping that it was a myth, but indeed, Minnesota is classifying some deaths as COVID when clearly they should not be,” Franson said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“We cannot have people dying in motor vehicle collisions, suicides, drownings, etc. and being classified as a COVID death.”

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Jensen, who is also a physician, said that the availability of money for health care could be affecting the official COVID-19 death rate.

“When the Department of Health and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] decided to change the rules that had been in place for 17 years by encouraging the diagnosis of COVID-19 in situations that we never would have otherwise, they were abandoning their long-held commitment to precisely identifying the inciting or the initiating event that would lead to a sequence of events that would lead to a person’s demise,” he said.

“What we saw subsequently was, we saw enhanced payments to hospitals for Medicare patients and then we saw the CARES dollars being distributed,” Jensen continued.

“Once again the old adage — follow the money — and we saw that if hospitals could somehow hit 161 admissions with COVID-19, that they would be eligible for a $77,000 per admission payment through the CARES Act.”

He added, “I don’t think there’s any questions that perverse incentives have been created.”

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Jensen said on “Fox & Friends” that the most important detail on the death certificate is the underlying cause of death because that is the one that gets tabulated as part of the federal registrar.

Franson added a plea on the morning segment to President Donald Trump to conduct a nationwide audit to protect citizens’ freedoms.

“President Trump, if you are watching ‘Fox & Friends’ this morning, I am asking you to request a full audit of every single state in the nation,” Franson said.

“Minnesota is not an anomaly. The citizens of our country are being led in fear, and that fear is leading them to make irrational decisions.”

However, Minnesota Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann countered the claims on Wednesday, saying the state Department of Health follows guidelines directly from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics on classifying COVID-19 deaths.

“When we look at the number of deaths reported via [the NCHS], the number they’re reporting is consistent with what we are reporting,” Ehresmann told KMSP-TV.

“We’re absolutely following the national guidance on how we are doing our death reporting from COVID-19.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith