Elon Musk wrote Tuesday that the truth is coming out about the over-reporting of hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19.
The Twitter, SpaceX and Tesla CEO previously identified this problem during an interview in 2020, shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic.
Musk’s Tuesday tweet came in response to one from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an outspoken critic of COVID policy and censorship related to it.
Kennedy posted a recent Washington Post column by CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen titled, “We are overcounting covid deaths and hospitalizations. That’s a problem.”
“A year ago, this was a conspiracy theory that would get you censored…” RFK Jr. wrote.
Musk replied, “The truth is finally coming out.”
The truth is finally coming out
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 17, 2023
Wren suggested she was skeptical of the latest COVID stats, writing, “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is experiencing around 400 COVID deaths every day. At that rate, there would be nearly 150,000 deaths a year. But are these Americans dying from COVID or with COVID?”
The public health expert continued, “Understanding this distinction is crucial to putting the continuing toll of the coronavirus into perspective. Determining how likely it is an infection will result in hospitalization or death helps people weigh their own risk.”
Wren cited two doctors with backgrounds in infectious diseases who said the number of reported COVID deaths is far greater than the actual figure.
“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,” Wren wrote.
Dretler explained to her, “Since every hospitalized patient gets tested for COVID many are incidentally positive.”
Similarly, infectious disease physician Shira Doron told Wren, “In recent months, only about 30 percent of total hospitalizations with COVID were primarily attributed to the virus.”
Spring 2021 🇺🇸 had good evidence >40% of child covid admissions were incidental
2021 Denmark announced they’d distinguish with vs from covid hosp
Covid+ deaths in DK in 2022 60-70% incidental
Amazing how long it has taken the US to accept this is a problemhttps://t.co/eg8k3W4JW5
— Tracy Høeg, MD, PhD (@TracyBethHoeg) January 14, 2023
Musk actually identified the problem back in 2020 during an interview on “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
“If somebody dies, was COVID a primary cause of the death or not? I mean, if somebody has COVID, gets eaten by a shark, we find their arm, their arm has COVID, it’s going to get recorded as a COVID death,” Musk joked.
Rogan laughed but got the point, wondering if heart attacks, strokes, cancer and other causes of death were being attributed to COVID.
“If you get hit by a bus, go to the hospital and die, and they find that you have COVID, you will be recorded as a COVID death,” Musk said.
— An0maly (@LegendaryEnergy) January 10, 2022
In a much-publicized case in Florida in 2020, a man who died due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash was listed by the state as a COVID death, WOFL-TV reported at the time. Two days after the story was published, the man was removed from Florida’s COVID fatality list, the outlet noted.
Musk argued that hospitals were incentivized by federal dollars to over-report COVID deaths.
“The stimulus bill that was intended to help with the hospitals that were being overrun with COVID patients created an incentive to record something as COVID. That is difficult to say no to, especially if your hospital’s going bankrupt for lack of other patients,” Musk said.
“The hospitals are in a bind right now,” he continued. “There’s a bunch of hospitals, they’re furloughing doctors. … If your hospital’s half full, it’s hard to make ends meet. So now you’ve got, like, ‘If I just check this box, I get $8,000. Put them on a ventilator for five minutes, I get $39,000. Or I got to fire some doctors.’ This is a tough moral quandary.”
In April 2020, Factcheek.org reported that the CARES Act, passed in March of that year, created a 20 percent add-on to be paid for Medicare patients with COVID-19 and established a $100 billion fund “used to reimburse healthcare providers, at Medicare rates, for COVID-related treatment of the uninsured.”
In November 2020, Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, refuted claims that medical facilities were purposely over-reporting COVID deaths.
“Hospitals and health systems adhere to strict coding guidelines, and use of the COVID-19 code for Medicare claims is reserved for confirmed cases,” he wrote. “Coding inappropriately can result in criminal penalties and exclusion from the Medicare program altogether.”
A version of this article originally appeared on Patriot Project.
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