As we approach our third year living with Covid-19, an important question is finally being asked: “Of the almost 840,000 U.S. deaths linked to Covid-19 (as of this writing), how many are actually deaths FROM the virus and how many are of people who died of other causes but WITH the virus? (e.g. cancer, heart attack, vehicular accidents, homicides, suicides, or drug overdoses).
This distinction should have been addressed from the start of the pandemic when the CDC began recording daily Covid-19 related deaths. Just think of the likely different perspective we could have gained by now on the true number of deaths from and not with Covid-19 and how we may have handled things very differently.
Now, it appears that CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky, has hinted in an interview with Bret Baier of Fox News Sunday that the data on that information will be forthcoming. How long of a wait is defined as “forthcoming,” is yet to be determined.
Transparent reporting vital to counting coronavirus deaths
Every single day, the Covid-19 death toll can be found on TV news shows, newspapers, and medical websites. This “in-your-face” reminder of the daily case numbers and Covid-19 deaths is a way of assessing how public health policies are faring in controlling the pandemic – lately, not well. It’s also a way of gauging the success of vaccine mandates or other interventions – fair, but could be much better.
But, as a nation wearily continuing to fight the good fight against Covid-19, transparency is vital. We deserve clarity. Clarity of the true number of deaths directly “from Covid” teased out from deaths “with Covid” instead of indistinguishably lumped together. Throwing this data all together in the same gigantic count is not ideal and certainly not transparent.
Why is this important?
First, while far too many people suffered and died losing their battle to this insidious virus, knowing accurate numbers of death from Covid-19 or with Covid-19, provides a better understanding of its true impact. For example, is the percentage that died from the virus 10% or is it 50% or maybe 90%?
Without accurate and consistent record-keeping, we may never know. We have to ask ourselves, has the pandemic numbers been as bad as reported or have they been falsely inflated…and if so, why? What is it designed to make President Trump the whipping boy of Covid-19 to sway voters in the 2020 presidential election? At that time, reporters’ unrelenting attacks on Trump blaming him for mishandling the pandemic are today, blatantly hypocritical in comparison to the media’s softball handling of President Biden’s dismal performance on getting Covid-19 under control.
However, maybe you’re in the camp that believes even just one death from Covid-19 is too many. Then your viewpoint is likely driven by fear and unreasonable anxiety. Of course, we should save as many lives as possible during a pandemic. But to let a viral pandemic rule our way of life to the point causing significant harm to our children’s mental health and educational future, our jobs, our ability to spend time with family, and ultimately, our freedom? How much are we willing to sacrifice? What is the real story? If we never really know, we’ll be living with these long-term ramifications for an indeterminable amount of time.
Ask anyone and most agree the U.S. is Covid-19 weary. It’s gone on far longer than any of us expected.
But now, this time transparency and honesty should rule. This time, let’s get it right moving forward. This time, our policymakers and the American public need to be asking this question and demanding answers. This time, let’s not be caught off guard. Instead, be firm in requesting full transparency so if and when the next pandemic arrives, we know what we’re fighting and how to win the battle.