Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration drastically undercounted COVID-19 nursing home deaths in the state, according to a state auditor general report reviewed by Fox News.
The damning report, which is expected to be released on Monday, reveals suspicious similarities to how former Democrat governor Andrew Cuomo hid nursing home deaths in New York.
Republican State Rep. Steven Johnson, the chairman of the Michigan House Oversight Committee, spoke with Fox News Digital in a telephone interview on Thursday. Whitmer [like Cuomo] is “well known” for her executive order “to place COVID-positive patients into nursing homes,” Johnson said.
For the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no officially approved outpatient treatments for combating the disease. From March 2020, when the virus first emerged in the United States, until that November, when the Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of monoclonal antibodies, health authorities advised that the infected do little but quarantine themselves, drink plenty of fluids and rest unless hospitalization was necessary.
During those chaotic final months of Donald Trump’s presidency, the medical establishment expressed extreme caution regarding outpatient treatments for the virus, and these warnings were amplified by major media hostile to the president, for example when he touted the anti-malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine.
Although an estimated 12% to 38% of prescriptions are written for FDA-approved drugs used “off-label” (including Botox and Viagra), Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, declared early on that providers should dispense only medicines proven to be safe and effective for COVID patients through “randomized, placebo-controlled trials.” These can take months or years to conduct, and often at great cost.
Preliminary results from Auditor Doug Ringler’s analysis of Michigan’s long-term care facility COVID-19 death data found about 800 additional confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths than the state initially counted overall statewide between Jan. 1, 2020, and July 3, 2021.
Ringler responded to a request from the Oversight Committee to investigate the accuracy of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ (MDHHS) COVID-19 death data in long-term care facilities. The request followed questions about the accuracy of MDHHS COVID-19 death data.
Ringler told Johnson he used death certificate information from the Electronic Death Record System and COVID-19 case and death data from the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS). The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services counts total COVID-19 deaths on their pandemic website using data from MDSS.
Multiple public officials in Colorado are warning that the state’s official COVID-19 death count is skewed due to the practice of conflating patients who have died directly due to the disease with those who have merely tested positive for it prior to death.
Data experts and health officials have long struggled to separate out those two key data points in government tallies of COVID deaths, leading to accusations that the death rate for the disease is being inflated modestly or even significantly.
Multiple public officials in Colorado, meanwhile, told “Full Measure” host Sharyl Attkisson that they had personally observed death tallies that erred on the side of COVID, leading to death counts that were effectively misleading to the public.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul disclosed on her first day in office nearly 12,000 COVID-19 deaths that were previously unreported in the state’s data tracker during former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration.
The New York State Department of Health’s COVID-19 data tracker reported Wednesday nearly 55,395 virus deaths in the state reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the start of the pandemic, just under 12,000 more than the roughly 43,400 COVID-19 deaths disclosed in the state-managed tracker on Cuomo’s last day in office.
The discrepancy results from the Cuomo administration’s decision to report only laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in which patients died at hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities. The Cuomo administration’s tally deliberately excluded New Yorkers who died from COVID-19 at their homes, hospices, state prisons or state-run homes for those with disabilities.
Republican members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Friday urged that committee’s chair to commence an investigation into the decisions of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) and several other governors to discharge COVID-19-infected patients into their states’ nursing homes in 2020.
In addition to Whitmer, Tom Wolf (D-PA), Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and Phil Murphy (D-NJ) are specifically criticized in the letter written to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL).
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) elevated Michigan’s level of COVID-19 spread to “substantial” on Wednesday, daily death totals statewide due to COVID remain in single digits.
According to the widely cited tracking website worldometers.info, the seven-day moving average of COVID deaths per day in Michigan has stayed under double digits since July 1st.
If you judged the US’s current COVID-19 situation only by the headlines, you’d come away thinking that we’re spiraling back into pandemic disaster. Localities like Los Angeles County and St. Louis have reimposed mask mandates on their citizens, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just revised its “guidance” to say that, actually, fully vaccinated individuals should still wear masks in certain situations. Meanwhile, mainstream media coverage of the rise of the “Delta variant” is soaked in alarmism.
Yet at the same time that all this alarm is mounting, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths is at a nadir. Harvard Medical School Professor Martin Kulldorff pointed this out on Twitter, writing that “In [the] USA, COVID mortality is now the lowest since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.”
State Auditor Doug Ringler says he will review how many Michiganders died from COVID-19 in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Ringler wrote the June letter to House Oversight Chair Steve Johnson, R-Wayland, over the concerns of inaccurately counted COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
“We will be working with various departments’ databases to address your concerns, which will impact the timing of our work,” Ringler wrote.
Almost 3.7 million people have died worldwide from the Covid pandemic that began in the Wuhan province of China in late 2019, and now, the American people are learning that the U.S. government has had intelligence for months that indicates the virus might have been released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in a laboratory accident.
On Jan. 15, right at the end of former President Donald Trump’s term in office, the State Department released a fact sheet that stated, “The United States government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses. This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli’s public claim that there was ‘zero infection’ among the WIV’s staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses.”
And it accused the Wuhan lab of possibly conducting “gain of function” research on bat-to-human transmission of coronaviruses: “Starting in at least 2016, WIV researchers studied RaTG13, the bat coronavirus identified by the WIV in January 2020 as its closest sample to SARS-CoV-2 (96.2% similar). Since the outbreak, the WIV has not been transparent nor consistent about its work with RaTG13 or other similar viruses, including possible ‘gain of function’ experiments to enhance transmissibility or lethality.”
The U.S. economy reported an increase of 559,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate declined to 5.8%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.
Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 559,000 in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, and the number of unemployed persons dropped to 9.3 million. Economists projected 671,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“We think it will take several months for frictions in the labor market to work themselves out,” Barclays chief U.S. economist Michael Gapen told the WSJ. “That just means we shouldn’t be expecting one to two million jobs every month. Instead, it will be a more gradual process.”
ulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie LeDuff says Michigan has undercounted COVID-19 nursing home deaths.
The accusation follows a settlement between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and LeDuff with legal services provided by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. LeDuff and the MCPP sued the government when it failed to provide public records as required by law.
“This data is an essential part of accurately understanding the effects of this pandemic and the public policy implemented in response,” Steve Delie, an attorney and the Mackinac Center’s FOIA expert, said in a May 21 statement. “It also leaves open the possibility that the state is undercounting the number of deaths of those in nursing homes.”
Hours after New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a scathing report over how the state reported deaths at nursing homes due to COVID-19, state Heath Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker went on the offensive.
Zucker claimed the attorney general’s report affirmed the total number of deaths overall and that the state has repeatedly said its policy is to count deaths by where they occurred.
Michiganders still don’t know how many lives COVID-19 claimed in all categories of long-term care facilities, although the state has been collecting the data since May 29.
Other states such as Minnesota have already reported the information, breaking down the deaths in nursing homes, memory care, and hospice facilities.
In a Washington Post op-ed titled “More Republican Casualties From Trump’s Coronavirus Denial,” columnist Jennifer Rubin claims that “red states”—specifically Texas, Arizona, and Arkansas—are “paying the price” for their “arrogant and reckless disregard of expert advice.”
In concert with Rubin, multitudes of reporters and commentators have declared that Republican governors have worsened the effects of Covid-19 by “denying science” and reopening “too early.” Meanwhile, they have praised Democratic governors, like Andrew Cuomo of NY and Phil Murphy of NJ, for their handling of the pandemic.