When is a Covid-19 death NOT a Covid-19 death?

Moderator Note

Keep the political commentary out of this forum.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Moderator Instructions

As has been pointed out, there is nothing in that article that indicates the infant “died of another cause,” and no mention of trauma or abuse. I’m instructing you that if you are going to quote news articles that you read them fully and describe them accurately. Otherwise, don’t bother posting about them. There’s enough misinformation out there not to contribute further to it. If you do something like this again, you may be subject to a warning for violating moderator instructions.

Colibri
Quarantine Zone Moderator

And if Hillary had been in charge and we had the same results we are seeing now, what would the celebrities, the MSM, and all the left be doing now? Lets be honest, politics gets into everything.

BTW, I dont defend Trump. Every country in the world is having trouble dealing with this.

ok, I misread the article. I found better information on another site but then couldnt find that article.

However I think my point is how will they determine if a person dies of covid 19 or some other cause?

At the moment a Covid-19 death is pretty easy. Pneumonia for a start, and a positive test for the virus. Sure, there is a tiny bit of wiggle room for someone with say a very significant underlying condition, maybe that got them first. But it isn’t hard to be reasonably definitive.

As time goes on there may be deaths from other modes of attack from the virus. There is a murmur of worry that the virus may attack the heart. I’d take that as a just maybe right now. Later deaths of people with impaired lung function due to the virus may be harder. If someone is pretty beaten up after a bad time with the virus, and they die a year later of lung disease, where do you place the blame? But right now, probably the only confusion might be if someone presents with Covid-19 and another nasty condition, and is not doing well with either.

Moderator Warning

Since I just gave instructions only two posts above to keep politics out of this forum, I’m making this is an official warning.

Colibri
Quarantine Zone Moderator

The same way they determine if someone died of the flu or some other cause - it’s not like this is an issue that just appeared with the corona virus. The fact that someone had coronary artery disease or high blood pressure doesn’t mean that having the flu wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back and the same thing goes for Covid-19. It’s not like death certificates can only include one single cause of death - see these instructions for completing a death certificate.

Actually, it seems like it might be opposite to this. That is, COVID-19 deaths might be underreported.

I find the same thing with HIV/AIDS. When is the last time you heard of HIV/AIDS being even a cofactor in the death of anyone? I suppose it’s possible, but there are times when someone is dead, it’s thought just let the dead lie and don’t worry about it, providing there is no criminal activity.

Even if the article contained the purported information, it would still be highly suspect: Family are, on average, not neutral observers, nor a reliable source of information about what really caused a death.

An example well known to me:

My sister-in-law and I have two very different versions of what caused my brother’s death. She would tell you he died of kidney cancer, which was, in fact, the proximal cause…it may even appear on his death certificate, which I have not seen.

This ignores the fact that he had minimal liver function, and impaired kidney function undoubtedly due to a lifetime of alcohol abuse and heavy smoking. Less than a year before his death, both his kidneys and liver had completely shut down, and family was summoned to see him off. With heroic medical interventions he rallied for a few months, and was trying to make lifestyle changes to allow him to be placed on a transplant list. It is likely that the cancer was provoked by the damage he’d done to his kidneys over the years, and due to almost no liver function he couldn’t tolerate the chemo that likely would have dealt with the cancer. So my version is that he died of complications associated with alcoholism…or as I usually put it, he drank himself to death. No he didn’t die of acute alcohol poisoning, but I have no doubt that it was the drink that did him in.

This is of course an anecdote, not data…just like the claims found in the OP.

AIDS deaths are still happening, even though they aren’t in the news any more.

People keep track of all sorts of causes of death - for example there were 20 deaths by lightning in the US in 2019. Here are the names of the victims https://www.weather.gov/safety/lightning-fatalities19

I’ve reviewed thousands of death certificates. All States are different, but they generally look like this:
[ul]
[li]myocardial infarction - minutes[/li][li]End Stage Dementia - months[/li][li]Diabetes - years[/li][/ul]Other significant contributing factors: dysphagia (trouble swallowing); pneumonia; Congestive heart failure, hypertension. **See pg 2 on Death Certificate/Cause of Death - Quick Fact Sheet for an example.

So what did the above person die of? Quite literally, loss of blood to their heart - that’s what caused them to go from alive to dead. However, that probably would not have happened if it weren’t for the advanced Dementia and Diabetes which helped cause the heart attack. It’s the same for cancer, it’s never THE event that caused the death, but it is obviously the underlying condition that resulted in their death and everyone would (fairly correctly) say the person died of cancer.

I don’t see how Cov-19 is any different. It will not be the immediate cause of death, which is usually heart attack, or respiratory failure, etc; however it would certainly be an underlying cause of death (weeks/months). Should the person die in an actual car accident, and also have Cov-19, then Cov-19 should not be listed as a cause of death. The cause of death would just be blunt force trauma and nothing else listed (even if they had terminal cancer and days to live - it did not cause or contribute to that person’s death).

The OP, whether real or not, would have died of a heart attack brought on by several underlying diseases, one of which was most likely Cov-19. If real, there would almost certainly be several underlying diseases that all helped result in the immediate cause of death.

Lastly, one main point of death certificates is to track causes of death for statistics to help prevent those diseases in the future (prevent heart disease, diabetes, car wrecks). Here, we obviously want to know how many people died with Cov-19. We generally want to know on the Death Certificate the underlying diseases that contributed to the death versus what literally caused the person to go from alive to dead (outside of an autopsy/criminal setting, obviously).

It’s challenging for every country but some countries seem to have handled it a lot better:

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/south-korea/

I shudder to think what would have happened if the stock market hadn’t crashed on March 12th. Would anything else have mobilized this country into taking action? What if the market had defied gravity for an extra week or two?

Unfortunately this is true. I keep running into skepticism that coronavirus is a real threat. Some people think that this is an attempt to intentionally ruin the economy for political reasons. Some people think that there wasn’t anything that we could have done better to prevent these coming deaths and the coming recession.

Korea got through this without very many deaths and their economy will suffer more from the recession in America than any organic reduction due to COVID19 mitigation that occurred in Korea.

I think I’ve seen a report that heart attack deaths are well up in NYC. Doubled or Tripled. Am I remembering correctly? Has anyone else seen that?

My understanding is that regardless of how you got to death’s door, the official cause of death is what gave you that last push through the door. So if you were already sick, but COVID-19 gave you that final push, COVID-19 is your cause of death, not whatever pre-existing maladies you had that made it easy for the virus to finish you off.
Caveat: my understanding is not from any scientific source, but just from a lifetime of reading the news, so if anyone’s got better info, I’m willing to stand corrected.

What I’ve seen instead was mentioned in another thread here. Fewer are being seen.

Of course they could be dying at home. (Including some who would not have died if they hadn’t been too afraid of COVID-19 to come in.) Hard to know that though.

EMS is getting more than twice as many cardiac calls, and the percentage where the person the person can’t be resuscitated has also doubled ( which means the raw number of people that can’t be rescucitated is at least 4 times what it was) but it’s unclear how much of it is related to virus itself ( the viral infection gave the person the final push ) and how much of it is people avoiding calling an ambulance until the victim is closer to death.

ETA And this is likely why hospitals are not seeing them - because EMS is not transporting people they can’t resuscitate

Sure, but I think the question people have is that say… an elderly person shows up to the hospital from a nursing home suffering from a bad infection, and they happen to test positive for COVID-19, but aren’t really experiencing bad symptoms for that- no ventilator, no respiratory distress, etc…

If they die a few days later, is it from the infection, or the COVID-19? I’d lean toward the infection, with the COVID-19 as an additional factor, but it sounds like these days, they’d just get out the “COVID-19” rubber stamp and move on.

My WAG is that there might be a handful of cases like that, but not enough to nudge the numbers much.

I’ll further WAG that they’re seriously outnumbered by the people who die of the coronavirus at home, don’t get hauled to the hospital, and don’t get included in the numbers of those who died of COVID-19.

Pretty soon, we should have the actual number of deaths for March 2020 to compare with the normal range of deaths for March. Sure, that’ll include people who really, truly died of something else, and never even got infected with the virus. But that’ll be the best measurement of the true effect of COVID-19 in the U.S. so far.