Monday, March 20, 2023

California Passes 100,000 COVID-19 Deaths — Or Not

The California Department of Public Health announced earlier this month the number of deaths in the Golden State caused by COVID-19 has topped 100,000 since the pandemic began in February 2020.

Since tracking of the first cases of the COVID virus and deaths started three years ago, COVID-19 counts have seen many increases and decreases, with surges in 2020, 2021 and 2022, including a large jump in cases during the winter of 2021-2022 winter and again during the summer of last year. Those spikes in virus cases led the number of COVID-19 deaths in California to rise dramatically, health officials said.

Even as the total numbers cases and deaths have fallen significantly and enough for California to lift its COVID-19 state of emergency at the end of the month, the state has said that an average of about 20 deaths per day has continued in recent months, which eventually led to the 100,000 mark.

“The heartache of having so many people die weighs heavily on all of us here at public health,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Friday. “I think it weighs equally heavily on everybody who lives in our county, in our state and our country and the world. Nobody, I think, anticipated this toll. None of us wanted this to lead to so many people losing their lives, and it creates great sadness. It’s hard for our community to recover.

In a statement, the Department of Public Health added “This milestone is a tragic reminder of the very real toll the pandemic has taken on Californians. Our focus remains on the steps we can continue taking to limit further loss of life due to COVID-19.”

Yet, the 100,000 mark has now been disputed by many throughout the medical community who claim the overall COVID infection and mortality rates have been overinflated by the tendency of medical practitioners to blame COVID for what have actually been the effects of other factors, such as patients suffering multiple illnesses, medical misdiagnoses and even instances of other terminal conditions.

“There’s been a lot of cases out there where someone who had COVID died and had it listed as their cause of death, even though larger things were at play there,” a nurse in Los Angeles who wished to remain anonymous explained to the California Globe. “Has COVID caused a lot of deaths? Of course it has, but you need to look at the bigger picture. Of those 100,000 deaths, a lot of people had COVID, got something else that unfortunately led to their death, but still had COVID listed as the reason due to the health screenings required at hospitals. So there is a definite over-count.

“Now, there really isn’t any malice to this. I was there during the bad days in 2020 and 2021 when we had patients in hallways and we were worked so much that we fell asleep in our cars in the parking lot because we were too tired to even drive home. A few people have said to me that we added more in to keep people coming to hospitals for more funding, but that made no sense,” the nurse continued in the Globe piece.

“We wanted people to get better and keep as many people as healthy as possible,” the nurse said. “Why overwork us, you know? Even the administrators who wanted to give us extra time off because of the workloads we had been pulling, but couldn’t because of the public need.

“In reality,” added the nurse, “many had put down the patient had COVID, and that was put down as the reason for death despite other things wrong with them. Now, there still have been a lot of deaths from COVID. A lot. But in California, it probably isn’t 100,000.”

As confirmed by The Hill, many hospitals have had trouble differentiating between patients who died at hospitals with COVID-19 and those who died because of COVID-19.

Health officials expect California’s COVID-19 infection and death rates to fall throughout this year.