Liberals in Florida, as well as outside the state, melted down last summer when the Florida Department of Health no longer reported COVID-19 deaths on a daily basis.
It’ll be interesting to see what many of those same COVID hawks will say now that President Joe Biden’s administration, in another admission that the president has given up on his pledge to “shut down the virus,” has told hospitals to no longer count virus-related deaths on a daily basis.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Jan. 6 released updated guidelines on reporting procedures for hospitals.
The rules say the update is intended, in part, to capture COVID cases involving children.
But the guidelines also spell out the “retirement of [data] fields which are no longer required to be reported.”
They include the total number of beds for adult patients, the total number of mechanical ventilators and those in-use, emergency room overflow and ventilated patients, and the “previous day’s COVID-19 deaths.”
“This field has been made inactive for the federal data collection,” the document further explains the death data. “Hospitals no longer need to report these data elements to the federal government.”
The change takes effect on Feb. 2.
The move has already drawn different takes from the left.
The liberal Business Insider tried to play down the shift. The website admitted it was true the Biden administration would no longer collect that data on a daily basis. But, BI added, “it does not necessarily affect the daily COVID-19 death counts that the vast majority of people have been consulting throughout the pandemic.”
BI cited sources who called the change “misleading” because that daily fatality data is gathered by and available from other sources. They also defended it by noting the HHS count does not give the full picture because about a third of COVID deaths occur outside of hospitals.
But BI did quote some who saw the dark cloud inside the silver lining.
“‘If you don’t test, there’s fewer cases’ has morphed into the even more horrible monstrosity of ‘if you don’t report deaths, they’re not happening,'” said one Twitter user quoted by BI.
Yet the left-wing World Socialist Web Site took a dim view of the move – and, of course, blamed former President Donald Trump, since Biden is apparently never responsible for anything that happens on his watch.
“The move by the Biden administration to weaken the reporting of COVID-19 deaths has direct precedents in the Trump administration,” the WSWS said. That referred to a decision on testing guidance implemented under Trump that reportedly was done to mask the spread of the virus.
The WSWS also noted that Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Biden’s former top adviser on COVID, wrote an opinion article recently that noted the nation should be prepared for a “new normal” of living with COVID whose goal is not “zero COVID.”
Under the new normal, Emanuel argued, the appropriate risk threshold” is measured by weekly death tallies – as DeSantis implemented for Florida back in June.
Noting that it disagreed with DeSantis, the WSWS added, “There is no public health justification for the limiting of data reporting in the midst of a raging pandemic which is currently setting records for infections and hospitalizations. Just like under Trump, the efforts by the federal and state governments to limit reporting on COVID-19 is driven by a political effort to cover up mass infection and death.”
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