CNN Medical Analyst Says It’s Important To Be ‘Intellectually Honest’ About COVID Deaths

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen said Tuesday that it’s important to be “intellectually honest” about COVID deaths, days after she wrote a column stating they were being overcounted.

Wen wrote a column in The Washington Post on Friday arguing that COVID deaths and hospitalizations were being overcounted. Wen cited sources claiming “patients diagnosed with COVID are actually in the hospital for some other illness.” Several infectious disease experts she consulted told her that the “number of deaths attributed to COVID is far greater than the actual number of people dying from COVID.”

Wen said on CNN that there is now need for transparency about the cause of death.

“I think it’s important for us to be intellectually honest in this case including recognizing that circumstances have changed. At the beginning of the pandemic we had a situation where there were many people dying from COVID pneumonia, including young people dying because of severe shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, hospitalized because of it,” Wen said, stating that vaccines eventually helped reduce the amount of severe cases. (RELATED: COVID Vaccine Manufacturer BioNTech Pressured Twitter To Censor Anti-Pharma Activists, Emails Show)

“I think it’s important to separate out who is being hospitalized because of [COVID]. Because there are a lot of people who are still very concerned about their risk from COVID and we need to give them the most accurate data possible so that they can better gauge their risks. There are people still not resuming indoor dining or going to the gym or socializing,” Wen continued. “We have to give them the most accurate reporting as possible.”

Wen then said any deaths associated with COVID need to be separated into three categories in which COVID is a “direct contributor” or the primary cause of death; COVID is a secondary contributing cause or lastly, if COVID is an “incidental finding.”

Wen said accurate counting would also help determine which individuals should receive boosters and when.

The counting of COVID-related deaths has been murky throughout the pandemic. During the height of the pandemic, health departments across Ohio included people suspected but not confirmed of having COVID in their official counts. Patients experiencing COVID-like symptoms were treated as a COVID-positive case even if they tested negative.

Then White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Deborah Birx said that the government was counting patients who died with the virus in its death toll even if the patient did not die as a result.

“We’ve taken a very liberal approach to mortality,” Birx said. She later said officials COVID death statistics could be inflated up to 25%, saying she could not trust the CDC and its method to collect data.

These statements are in line with Wen’s, shifting tone on COVID-related issues. Once an ardent supporter of strict pandemic-related measures, she wrote in an op-ed that she would not be sending her kids to school in masks. Wen said once she realized COVID “[was] here to stay,” she was not willing to limit her children’s lives “for their entire childhood.”

Wen also said the unvaccinated should not be allowed to leave their homes and supported vaccine passports and calling for schools to be closed.