As Americans continue to mourn those who have died as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a growing number of people express some skepticism about the official death toll.
According to “sources with direct knowledge” of relevant conversations, President Donald Trump and some of his senior officials are apparently among those skeptics, Axios reported.
Skeptics on both sides
The unnamed sources reportedly indicated that White House insiders have “complained” about the way coronavirus statistics are being compiled and are not convinced the number is as high as the more than 71,000 Americans whose deaths have already been linked to the virus.
On the other hand, certain analysts on both sides of the political aisle worry that the actual loss of life caused by the pandemic is much higher than reports suggest.
A recent Ipsos poll reflects this uncertainty, finding an apparent partisan divide among respondents.
While a majority of Democrats surveyed said they suspect the coronavirus death toll is higher than reported, a plurality of Republicans felt such reports provided an inflated number.
Among those in the Trump administration who reportedly question the statistics, one apparent point of concern relates to the addition of nearly 4,000 deceased individuals to the New York state tally despite them having never tested positive for the virus.
Such inclusions in the overall reported death toll are consistent with guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which allow for “probable” but unconfirmed coronavirus deaths to be added to the tally, reports noted.
“Numbers have been revised up”
Another reported point of contention within the broader response to the pandemic involves a provision that reimburses medical facilities at a higher-than-usual rate for Medicare patients being treated for the coronavirus.
According to Axios, one senior Trump official reportedly “pushed back” against media coverage of virus deaths.
“Skepticism isn’t the right way to frame it,” an unnamed source said. “The numbers have been revised up to include presumptive cases — meaning deaths that are believed to be related to COVD but not known for sure.”
It remains to be seen if a conclusive and reliable total of coronavirus-related deaths will ever be released. Given the mix of incompetence and corruption many see within the federal government, though, it is no wonder many are refusing to blindly accept the reports being put forth in the media.