Who knows what numbers are real, valid, underreported or overreported anymore? Different places have different criteria for their counts of not just cases of infected COVID-19 patients, but those who have supposedly died of the virus. Because of these differences, it's not out of the realm of possibility that we may never know the true scope of this novel coronavirus.
We do have one thing that was made very clear by an Illinois official - even if a patient dies of a "clear alternate cause," testing positive for COVID makes it count as a COVID death.
During the question and answer session of Sunday's Illinois COVID update press conference, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker threw a question concerning the recent death of a teenager in a Northwest suburb of Chicago over to Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. The doctor was unclear of the case the reporter asked about, but Ezike did go on to clarify what constitutes what their system counts as a "COVID death."
Here's a transcript of what Ezike said:
I just want to be clear in terms of the definition of people dying of COVID. So, the case definition is very simplistic. It means that at the time of death it was a COVID-positive diagnosis. So that means if you were in hospice and had already been given, you know, a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death. It means that if, technically, even if you died of a clear alternate cause but you had COVID at the same time it's still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone that's listed as a COVID death doesn't mean that that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death. I hope that's helpful.
Wow! Well, that is helpful in understanding how authorities in Illinois are counting COVID deaths. It's not really helpful in getting truly accurate numbers of fatalities caused by COVID-19. If a person is already on their death bed, than COVID wouldn't be the cause of death. It might, unfortunately, speed up the process of dying.
Thanks for making that clear and unclear, Illinois!
For video of the reporter's question, followed by Ezike definition of what qualifies as a COVID death, watch below: