In a “dangerous video” released Thursday, two state lawmakers called for a full audit of the death certificates for Minnesota’s 4,723 COVID-19 deaths.
“When people live in fear, they make irrational decisions and they look at the world through a different lens. Their life is based on fear instead of living their life to their full potential,” said state Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, who obtained some of the “raw files” of COVID-19 death certificates from the Minnesota Department of Health.
“That information is public data. Anybody can request that data,” she added, a point both she and Sen. Scott Jensen, R-Chaska, stressed repeatedly throughout their video.
“What Representative Franson has uncovered is not quibbling. We are not trying to be political. We are just trying to follow facts. These facts you got didn’t come from some secret treasure trove. This came from the Department of Health,” said Jensen, a practicing physician who was investigated by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice on two occasions this year after anonymous complaints were filed against him.
“I sort of got myself in hot water way back in April when I made the comment that I was, as a physician, being encouraged to do death certificates differently with COVID-19 than with other disease entities. For 17 years, the CDC document that guides us as physicians to do death certificates has stood but this year we were told, through the Department of Health and the CDC, that the rules were changing if COVID-19 was involved,” he continued.
According to the video, Jensen and Franson looked at 2,800 “death certificate data points” and found that 800 of them did not have COVID-19 listed as the underlying cause of death, but were still counted as COVID-19 deaths. That means, Jensen said, that those 800 people may have died with COVID-19, but not of COVID-19.
“That would mean that we’ve had the number inflated by 40%,” said Jensen, who explained that the “key diagnosis on a death certificate is the UCOD,” which stands for underlying cause of death.
In one case, a person who was ejected from a vehicle and died was “counted as a COVID death” because the virus was in his system, Franson claimed.
“I have other examples where COVID isn’t the underlying cause of death. We have a fall. Another example we have a fresh water drowning. We have dementia. We have a stroke and multi-organ failure,” she said.
The two lawmakers concluded their video, which has been viewed more than 200,000 times on Facebook, by expressing support for an audit of the data.
“Part of what we’re talking about here is exactly what Florida did when they called for an audit and I really think that we need to, just as you have said, Mary, we need to have an audit in Minnesota,” said Jensen.
“Somehow we need to have some master’s or Ph.D. candidates be hired by the Department of Health and come in and literally audit the death certificates so that we know what we’re dealing with. Because if we have a 40% inflation rate of what’s really our death tabulation for COVID-19 in terms of underlying cause of death, is that number going to hold as we get out to the present 4,500 deaths? Things like that.”