With rare exceptions, Minnesota officials have decided against postmortem testing to determine if undiagnosed people who died from severe respiratory problems were infected with COVID-19.
That has raised doubt about the accuracy of the fatality count, which officially stands at 22 in Minnesota. Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann at the Minnesota Department of Health freely acknowledges it’s probably not a true reflection of the coronavirus toll.
“When we’re reporting deaths from COVID, we know there may be illnesses that aren’t diagnosed,” Ehresmann said in an interview Thursday. Of deaths where a test hadn’t been done, she said, “We wouldn’t necessarily count it in our data points because it is not confirmed.”
Everybody who dies of respiratory distress – pneumonia, emphysema, influenza, even asthma – are now presumed to die of COVID-19 and will be reported that way on the death certificate. No test required to confirm.
It’s the ultimate participation ribbon. Everybody’s a WuFlu victim.
Of course, the change makes mortality statistics worthless for public policy analysis purposes. You can’t debate the balance of harm when one side of the equation is a false number.
But it’s a wonderful way to keep the panic going until the election.