It appears that officials in charge in Washington state want to keep the panic level as high as they can during this pandemic.
To do this, they have been listing some deaths as a result of the coronavirus in their statistics, even when the cause of death is something other than COVID-19 — like gunshot wounds.
This could have real consequences: If Democrat Governor Jay Inslee can mislead on the death rate, and blame more deaths on the coronavirus, he can reinforce his decision to keep his state’s economy closed as long as he wants. In early May, Inslee extended his stay-at-home order for the state at least through May 31, according to KCPQ in Tacoma.
The Freedom Foundation reported last week that gunshot fatalities in Washington were being included in the COVID-19 death count.
A Washington State Department of Health official made the admission at a media briefing Thursday.
“We currently do have some deaths that are being reported that are clearly from other causes,” Dr. Katie Hutchinson said in the telebriefing.
Hutchinson is the health statistics manager for the Washington State DOH.
“We currently do have some deaths that are being reported that are clearly from other causes,” Hutchinson said, about 10 minutes into an audio recording of the briefing.
“We have about five deaths — less than five deaths — that we know of that are related to obvious other causes. In this case, they are from gunshot wounds.”
Hutchinson said such deaths will eventually be removed from the state’s COVID-19 count.
Five might not be a lot in a state where, according to the News Tribune of Tacoma, 1,078 deaths due to COVID-19 had been reported Tuesday. But it’s still evidence that there’s something badly wrong with how the state is counting.
But instead of acknowledging the clear problem with unreliable numbers, Inslee attacked the report from the Freedom Foundation.
“The problem is you got some people out there who are fanning these conspiracy claims from the planet Pluto,” Inslee said Monday, according to KOMO News in Seattle.
“And it’s just disgusting what they’re trying to say of all these crazy deep-state malarkey. Who are kinda suggests that this not a problem in our state. I find that hard to accept with the number of dead in our state. So, that’s a problem. And I hope it gets resolved.”
The governor is acting like he got caught with his hands in the cookie jar. He obviously doesn’t let the facts get in the way of his opinion.
Rather than taking ownership for the misrepresentations, Inslee labeled the report as “malarkey.”
But it’s not “malarkey” to say that classifying a death as a result of COVID-19 when it clearly is not is dangerous and misleading.
As Seattle talk show host Jason Rantz pointed out in a post on MyNorthwest.com, “the numbers we’re getting are far from accurate. But this matters more now than ever.”
This was just one example. Are there more?
Is Inslee inflating the numbers to justify any future decision to possibly keep his state in lockdown even longer?
Tweets like the one below are increasingly appearing on social media.
It’s obviously an exaggeration meant as a jab at state officials and media outlets that are quick to jump on misleading facts, but it drives home the point that honesty in reporting death rates from COVID-19 is essential if Americans are to be able to trust their government and their news media.
— trackerem (@trackerem) April 10, 2020
What’s wrong with telling the truth? If a person dies from a gunshot wound, the actual cause of death needs to appear on the death certificate. It’s shameful when something like this gets politicized.
Inflating numbers and misleading the public is a dangerous path to venture down, and it creates more panic and fear than what already exists.
The governor needs to show accountability and stop this dishonesty now. This is not fair to the citizens of Washington — or the rest of the country.
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