Flu Deaths vs. COVID-19 Deaths – CDC’s Data

Jul 19, 2020 by

“Flu Deaths vs. COVID-19 Deaths – CDC’s Data”

By Donna Garner

7.19.20

LOOKING AT THE VARIABLES IN THE REPORTING OF FLU DEATHS

The CDC only requires the reporting of flu deaths in children younger than 18 years of age.  For those 18 and older, the CDC “estimates” the flu deaths. Most states (including Texas) follow the CDC’s lead. This means there is no exact data to show how many people 18 and older have died of flu.

Then, too, the CDC throws pneumonia and influenza (P&I) together which adds to the confusion.  Here is the data from Texas:   

Texas Department of State Health Services – Texas Influenza Surveillance Report Produced on 7.17.20:  file:///C:/Users/Donna%20Garner/Downloads/20Wk28Jul17.pdf

Yet another confusing aspect that has been added to the mix is that some of the “deaths by influenza” can be reported as “deaths by COVID-19.”  Therefore, no clear distinctions are being made between people who die by flu or who die by COVID-19.

All of these variables with flu deaths make it difficult to track that data both statewide and nationally. 

LOOKING AT THE VARIABLES IN THE REPORTING OF COVID-19 DEATHS

Let’s consider the variables that are being found now in the reporting by the CDC of COVID-19 deaths.

The reporting of deaths on death certificates has been changed by the CDC just for COVID.  In the past, coroners had to base their reporting on definite laboratory tests – not so for COVID which allows for “probable cause.”

If a person dies from a motorcycle accident or trauma caused by severe injuries, etc., he/she may be reported as COVID (based upon the CDC’s “probable cause” definition) even though lab tests show the person actually died from loss of blood, severe head injuries, collapsed lung from the accident, etc.  

Then, too, because the federal government will pay medical expenses for the COVID-19 patients, this has incentivized hospitals and clinics to over-report the COVID-19 numbers.  Some in Congress are wanting audits to make sure federal dollars are being spent accurately to pay for the medical expenses of those patients who definitely have or did have COVID-19.  

Because of the “probable cause” allowed for COVID death certificates and other questionable definition changes made by the CDC (e.g., continually adding more and more symptoms to their ever-growing COVID-19 symptoms checklist), it is becoming very difficult to believe almost any of the COVID data that the CDC produces.  

CDC:  REPORTING OF FLU DEATHS (MUST HAVE LABORATORY TEST CONFIRMATION)

Clinical Description

An influenza-associated death is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness that was confirmed to be influenza by an appropriate laboratory or rapid diagnostic test. There should be no period of complete recovery between the illness and death. Influenza-associated deaths in all persons aged <18 years should be reported.

DOCUMENTATION: HOW FLU DEATHS ARE TO BE REPORTED TO CDC (LAB TESTS TO CONFIRM)

https://wwwn.cdc.gov/nndss/conditions/influenza-associated-pediatric-mortality/case-definition/2004/

A [FLU] death should not be reported if:

  1. There is no laboratory confirmation of influenza virus infection.
  2. The influenza illness is followed by full recovery to baseline health status prior to death.
  3. The death occurs in a person 18 years or older.
  4. After review and consultation there is an alternative agreed upon cause of death.

Laboratory Criteria for Diagnosis

Laboratory testing for influenza virus infection may be done on pre- or post-mortem clinical specimens, and include identification of influenza A or B virus infections by a positive result by at least one of the following:

  • Influenza virus isolation in tissue cell culture from respiratory specimens;
  • Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing of respiratory specimens;
  • Immunofluorescent antibody staining (direct or indirect) of respiratory specimens;
  • Rapid influenza diagnostic testing of respiratory specimens;
  • Immunohistochemical (IHC) staining for influenza viral antigens in respiratory tract tissue from autopsy specimens;
  • Four-fold rise in influenza hemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibody titer in paired acute and convalescent sera*.

Case Classification

Confirmed

A death meeting the clinical definition that is laboratory confirmed.

Laboratory or rapid diagnostic test confirmation is required as part of the case definition; therefore, all reported deaths will be classified as confirmed.

=======================

DOCUMENTATION: HOW COVID-19 DEATHS ARE TO BE REPORTED TO CDC (NO LAB TEST CONFIRMATION REQUIRED, PROBABLE CAUSE ACCEPTABLE

https://wwwn.cdc.gov/nndss/conditions/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/case-definition/2020/

Notice the following parts in red highlight/italicized that have some medical doctors and coroners upset – a death certificate based upon a “probable” cause of death (no COVID-19 lab test required to confirm):

Case Classification

Probable

  • Meets clinical criteria AND epidemiologic evidence with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19.
  • Meets presumptive laboratory evidence AND either clinical criteria OR epidemiologic evidence.
  • Meets vital records criteria with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19.

Vital Records Criteria

  • A death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.