Rep. Ken Buck says COVID-19 death toll is ‘inflated’

‘Someone dies in a motorcycle accident, they test positive for COVID, and it's listed as a COVID death and clearly isn't a COVID death,’ Buck says. 'And I've seen a number of examples of that.'

Updated: August 5, 2020 - 11:12pm

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Rep. Ken Buck told Just the News on Wednesday that he thinks the current COVID-19 death count is "inflated," due to the way deaths are being reported.

According to CDC guidance from April on reporting COVID-19 deaths, "Ideally testing for COVID–19 should be conducted but it is acceptable to report COVID–19 on a death certificate without this confirmation if the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty."

During an interview related to the release of his new book, "Capitol of Freedom: Restoring American Greatness," Buck was asked whether he has heard from his constituents about death certificates of family members showing COVID-19 when they did not test positive for the virus prior to their death.

"I haven't seen that," he said. "I have seen examples of individuals that have died clearly from something else — someone dies in a motorcycle accident, they test positive for COVID, and it's listed as a COVID death and clearly isn't a COVID death. And I've seen a number of examples of that.” 

Buck believes health care providers are being incentivized to overcount deaths from the disease. "The governor of Colorado reduced ... the number of deaths that were attributed to COVID in Colorado," he said. "I know there is a benefit to some of the health care providers that the death is listed as a COVID death. Any death is terrible, but we've got to be accurate if we're going to learn how to deal with this disease." 

Buck was referring to the Medicare reimbursement rate for hospitals that treat COVID-19 patients.

The Colorado Republican said the current death count is not accurate.

"I absolutely think it's inflated," he said. "I don't think anybody in the country believes that it's underrepresented in any way or accurately represented, but it's just a question of how inflated is it?"

When asked if there should be a congressional investigation into the way the death count is being collected, Buck responded, "If there is a federal nexus, yes." 

According to the CDC, the COVID-19 death total is currently 156,311.

 

 

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