RALEIGH – It’s safe to say that there are currently a lot more questions than answers when it comes to the true impact of coronavirus or COVID-19. As such, interested observers, government officials, and investigative journalists have been requesting information collected by health officials that could help shed more light on the impact here in North Carolina.
When it comes to furnishing death certificate information, however, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is actively blocking requests and sabotaging efforts to obtain the information by advising county healthy departments to block provision of these records.
“Within two days of journalists requesting death certificates from county health departments, officials with DHHS sent guidance to county offices advising them to not provide the requested records. DHHS did not cite any legal justification for the advice.”https://t.co/SsoPwObuDq
— Carli Brosseau (@carlibrosseau) April 22, 2020
State law makes death certificates a public record, but the Cooper administration is now telling counties to withhold those records from the press.
— Will Doran (@will_doran) April 22, 2020
The News & Observer article points to discrepancies between those tested for COVID-19, and that information being included on their death certificate, and those that died with similar symptoms that were never tested and whose death certificates do not include COVID-19 as a cause for death.
The implication is that more people are dying from the disease than official death numbers suggest. However, the information on the death certificates also raises other questions about how deaths are recorded and which morbid condition is assigned blame for the death.
Simply presuming all those that die and test positive for coronavirus, while at the same time having multiple factors of morbidity, should be counted as victims of the disease seems problematic as well.
Are such testing and attribution protocols in place for influenza? In other words, are the deaths of elderly people with multiple factors of morbidity also blamed on the flu if they tested positive for it?
To reiterate, there are currently more questions than answers surrounding the collective health impact of the coronavirus. The fact that the state health department is actively blocking the search for answers should concern all parties interested in the truth.