A Colorado man whose recent death was added to the state’s tally of coronavirus-related fatalities actually died as a result of alcohol poisoning, a local official now claims.
On the Cortez resident’s death certificate, Montezuma County Coroner George Deavers contradicted the state’s decision that the patient died from COVID-19, the Washington Examiner reported.
Cause of death
According to the state’s designation, the patient would have been the third individual in the city for whom the pandemic proved fatal. Deavers, on the other hand, identified an altogether different cause.
“COVID was not listed on the death certificate as the cause of death,” he said Tuesday, according to the Examiner. “I disagree with the state for listing it as a COVID death and will be discussing it with them this week.”
The coroner’s decision hinged on the fact that the deceased registered a blood alcohol content level of .55 — or about seven times the state’s legal driving limit. Nevertheless, Deavers said state officials did not need his signature to attribute the man’s death to the coronavirus.
“I can see no reason for this,” he added.
Fudging the numbers?
This disparity is emblematic of a larger debate over the accuracy of the nation’s official death toll. Some experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the White House coronavirus task force, believe the fatalities related to this virus are likely being undercounted, as the Examiner notes.
Deavers’ assessment, however, appears to bolster the argument of those who believe the opposite is true.
In fact, Colorado’s health department advises that the death of individuals with the virus should “automatically” be counted among those caused by it “unless there is another cause that completely rules out COVID-19, according to CBS4 in Denver.
Deavers also addressed the skepticism being voiced by some individuals across Colorado and beyond that officials are “trying to make it look like it’s worse than it really is,” possibly in pursuit of federal funding.
“They’re thinking the state is trying to inflate numbers, which it does look like it,” he said, according to CBS4. “Whether they are or not, I don’t know.”
In times of crisis, citizens want to be able to trust their elected officials to provide factual information. Instead, cases like this give people even more reason to wonder what is truly motivating local, state, and national leaders.