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Report: Washington State Counted Gunshot Deaths Among Coronavirus Totals

Last week, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that among the deaths they have counted from coronavirus they included deaths from other causes, such as gunshot injuries.
The Freedom Foundation reported: “In remarks made during a telephonic press briefing, DOH officials even acknowledged knowingly including multiple deaths caused by gunshot wounds in the state’s COVID-19 fatality count.” The Freedom Foundation had reported that of the 828 coronavirus deaths reported by May 8: 681 “list some variation of ‘COVID-19’ in one of the causes of death” on the death certificate; 41 do not list COVID-19 as a cause of death, but indicate it was a “significant condition contributing to death,” and 106 involved persons who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 but did not have the virus listed anywhere on their death certificate as either causing or contributing to death.
The Freedom Foundation stated, “When asked about the Foundation’s report at a press conference Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee dismissed it as ‘dangerous,’ ‘disgusting’ and ‘malarkey.’ He further accused the Freedom Foundation of ‘fanning these conspiracy claims from the planet Pluto’ and not caring about the lives lost to COVID-19.”
Katie Hutchinson, a DOH health statistics manager, acknowledged:
We don’t always know the cause of death for a death when it is first reported on our dashboard. That is true. Over the course of the outbreak, we have been monitoring and recording the causes of death as we know it. We currently do have some deaths that are being reported that are clearly from other causes. We have about five deaths — less than five deaths — that we know of that are related to obvious other causes. In this case, they are from gunshot wounds …
Our current dashboards reflect anybody that has died from COVID irrespective of cause of death. Those numbers will be adjusted … We also have a number of certificates where it’s really unclear at all what the person died from… For these deaths, we really don’t — aren’t able to make a determination on whether they died from COVID or not.
Colorado had initially counted deaths of all coronavirus positive persons regardless of cause, but on May 15 Colorado health officials changed how they counted the number of people, writing:
Beginning May 15, the department began reporting the number of deaths in two ways:
The number of deaths among people with COVID-19. This represents the total number of deaths reported among people who have COVID-19, but COVID-19 may not have been the cause of death listed on the death certificate. This information is required by the CDC and is crucial for public health surveillance, as it provides more information about disease transmission and can help identify risk factors among all deaths across populations.
The number of deaths among people who died from COVID-19: This represents the total number of people whose death was attributed to COVID-19 as indicated on a death certificate. This number is determined by the CDC and is updated daily for dates through the previous Saturday.

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