Michigan‘s Department of Health and Human Services failed to conduct a mandatory review of COVID-19 deaths, which indicates that the state significantly undercounted deaths of nursing-home residents, a new investigation found.
An independent analysis by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and reporter Charlie LeDuff’s “No BS News Hour” also learned that MDHHS relied upon a limited set of data.
It determined that about 44% of COVID-19 deaths in hospitals were linked to nursing homes, Deadline Detroit reported.
If this percentage holds true across the entire data set, about 9,000 elderly people died after contracting COVID-19 in nursing homes, nearly double the state’s current figure.
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Ignoring its own guidelines, MDHHS said that state bureaucrats will not review all of the COVID-19 death data because it would be too “time-consuming.”
MDHHS does not appear to have publicized the figures from its limited review, which would further upset the government and media’s narrative that COVID-19 poses a significant threat to healthy persons under age 70.
LeDuff said his investigation concluded “that the Covid death toll may be 100 percent higher than the state reports,” though the “true number of pandemic deaths inside Michigan’s elder care centers may never be known.”
The investigation conducted by the Mackinac Center and LeDuff included a Freedom of Information Act request and conversations with state health officials, the Center Square reported.
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MDHHS refused to fulfill the FOIA request, so LeDuff sued with representation from the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation.
MDHHS settled the lawsuit and released limited information, including the ages and death dates of people who contracted COVID-19.
The information revealed that the state could not determine whether the deceased people had contracted COVID-19 at a nursing home or elsewhere.
“We stood up to Goliath and won,” LeDuff said in a statement.
“While I’m pleased that some of the records were released, the state’s overall response is alarming and disappointing,” he continued. “Still, this is a win for the people of Michigan, and I’m glad this lawsuit was able to shed some light.”
Cuomo now faces several serious investigations, including an impeachment probe by the state legislature.
Whitmer and at least two other Democrat governors likewise implemented controversial requirements that forced long-term care facilities to house residents who may have been infected with COVID-19 after returning from the hospital.
More than 19,000 Michiganders have died from COVID-19, according to the state’s records.
About 5,650 people who died from COVID-19 reportedly lived in long-term-care facilities, but Michigan relies on these facilities to report their own data.
For business purposes, these facilities have an incentive to underreport COVID-19 deaths.
Nearly 7,000 deaths fall under the “vital records reviews” category, meaning that health officials have not conclusively determined the cause of death.
When health bureaucrats and epidemiologists examine these records, they do not try to determine where the deceased person contracted the virus, even though MDHHS guidelines require such a determination.
This means that 7,000 deaths may or may not be associated with long-term care facilities, according to the department’s own admission.
“Long-term care facility Covid-19 data, which is reported on this web page comes from the facilities themselves, so it doesn’t include any data from Vital Records reviews,” said Bob Wheaton, a spokesman for DHHS.
Given the state’s limited review of 1,468 vital records, which found that 648 were traceable to nursing homes, it is likely that about half of the 7,000 uncategorized deaths did stem from long-term care facilities.
This brings the total nursing home death tally to about 8,900 people.
Both Whitmer and the state’s health department have come under frequent criticism for their mishandling of the pandemic crisis, including a slew of accusations concerning corruption and hypocrisy.
Health officials were lambasted for hiring a partisan, left-wing canvassing organization to conduct contract tracing under a no-bid contract.
After the embattled MDHHS director resigned, taking with him a golden parachute of severance perks, the new director was one of several officials—including Whitmer herself—who was caught vacationing in Florida, even while official state guidance discouraged out-of-state spring-break travel.
After the truth surfaced, Whitmer reluctantly acknowledged the offense, claiming it was a “human” mistake.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.