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Mark Brown is on rumor patrol

Thursday, Apr 30, 2020

* Mark Brown

[Clay County Circuit Judge Michael McHaney] even advanced a particularly ignorant notion of how he thinks COVID-19 death statistics are being juiced in Illinois.

“With respect to these statistics you’re throwing out here and all of that, isn’t it true that if I die in a car wreck, and I happen to test positive for COVID-19, my cause of death for purposes of what this governor is doing is COVID-19?” McHaney asked.

Let me answer that one, seeing as how the state’s lawyer said he didn’t know. The answer is: “No!”

I’ve been studying the Cook County Medical Examiner’s daily report of COVID-19 related deaths for weeks, and — as other reporters have noted — I can tell you there’s not a single car wreck victim among the 1,603 persons who had died through Thursday. And remember that Cook County accounts for more than 72% of the state’s COVID-19 death toll.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

52 Comments
  1. - Roman - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:21 am:

    Facts are so boring.


  2. - Downstate - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:22 am:

    My understanding is that patients on hospice that contract Covid-19 will be termed to have have died from the virus, despite the pre-existing disease for which they entered hospice.


  3. - JIbba - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:26 am:

    And is completely irrelevant to the Bailey case. The judge brought a lot of his own personal baggage into court that day.


  4. - Nagidam - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:26 am:

    ===My understanding is that patients on hospice that contract Covid-19 will be termed to have have died from the virus, despite the pre-existing disease for which they entered hospice.===

    If I was in hospice and had a short while to live and was shot dead, should I be listed as a gun shot victim of a cancer victim?

    I guess the last few months or so of someone’s life doesn’t mean much.


  5. - Amalia - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:27 am:

    based on what I have been told, I’m surprised they did not SOJ him.


  6. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:29 am:

    “patients on hospice that contract Covid-19 AND THEN DIE FROM COVID-19 will be termed to have have died from the virus, despite the pre-existing disease for which they entered hospice.”

    Fixed that for you.

    – MrJM


  7. - Anonish - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    Even when you are in hospice for one thing if Covid-19 is what resulted in living an extra day then C-19 was your cause of death. Having cancer doesn’t stop an infection from killing you.
    Most non-trauma causes of death are a factor and determination of what was the thing that MOST contributed to your death.


  8. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    (now I just need someone to fix my HTML)


  9. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    - despite the pre-existing disease for which they entered hospice. -

    If you have HIV and die from a cold because your body can’t fight it off, you died from HIV.

    If you’re in hospice with lung cancer and COVID 19 causes a severe respiratory infection that ends your life prematurely, you died from COVID 19.

    How is it this challenging for you morons to understand?


  10. - Shark Sandwich - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:32 am:

    Why would we test someone who died in a car crash for COVID, given the scarcity of tests, up until about now?
    Even then, car accidents only kill about 80 ppl a month on average, which isn’t enough to move the needle very far.


  11. - Gooner - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    It is bad when you see that sort of stuff on social media but at the same time, sort of expected.

    However, when judges start doing it? You really fear how the judge handles cases where the media is not watching.

    Amalia, the problem is he’s the only judge assigned to Clay County, and beyond that, the 4th Circuit has only about 15 judges, and given the demographics of the area, it is tough to think that one of them would be more inclined to side with the governor.


  12. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    How many people are driving?


  13. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:37 am:

    ===My understanding is that patients on hospice that contract Covid-19 will be termed to have have died from the virus, despite the pre-existing disease for which they entered hospice. ===

    What’s neat is your understanding seems to be wholly ignorant on how cause of death is identified on death certificates every time someone dies.

    The underlying diagnosis that leads to the cause of death usually isn’t identified on the death certificate. If you get into a car accident, get transported to the hospital, and die a couple of days later “car accident” isn’t put on the death certificate.

    A COVID-19 death is a COVID-19 death. You’re coming up here to this blog — a forum for adults — producing a counter factual argument without any basis.

    How about you tell us — HOW MANY — of Illinois’ COVID-19 deaths have been from patients that had elected palliative care BEFORE they contracted the COVID-19 infection?

    If a family has to make the decision that their loved one is never going to recover and remove the ventilator and other life support — guess what — that’s electing hospice/palliative care even if the time frame between removing the patient from life support and their death is measured in minutes and hours instead of days.

    So here you are pretending to be an adult trying to advance some anti-scientific non-factual argument because you want to be able to go hang out in a Mexican restaurant sipping margaritas and helping spread a deadly pandemic or whatever your dumb and selfish motive is.

    Preventing tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and preventing a horrific disaster from impacting our healthcare facilities is a good thing.

    We have done a good thing.

    Being unable to see that good thing because we prevented stacks of bodies and mass graves is one of the most ignorant things I can imagine an adult basing their world view around.

    Quit making other people living downstate look bad and change your user name to Dumbstater so I don’t have to be associated with the likes of you.


  14. - Norseman - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:39 am:

    Further evidence of the lack of any serious legal review of the matter. This judge needs a judicial spanking by the appellate/Supreme Court whoever rules first.


  15. - Frumpy white guy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:40 am:

    If we had unlimited hospital beds in hospital workers we could handle the crazy spike in COVID-19 patients that we will have if the radical, extremist, conspiracy theorists had their way. I think when we pick everything apart and question the medical experts we make it easier for the wackos to ignore what’s working and go back to waiving the confederate flags


  16. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:42 am:

    So if I was driving to the store to hoard some TP and wearing my mask which fogged up my glasses and hit a tree and died, COVID death?

    or,

    A week after my brother high fived me for the Bears drafting a tight end with their first pick he tells me he was probably asymptomatic COVID at that time and I ran from the house screaming into the street and got hit by a UPS truck and died, COVID death?

    Just asking for a (downstate) friend.


  17. - Common Sense - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:47 am:

    Hospice patient with hours to live contracts Covid and then listed as Covid fatality vs the amount of people who died from Covid but were not listed in official tally due to lack of test or knowledge that Covid was even present in Illinois at time of death. Which number do you think is bigger?


  18. - Contrarian - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:48 am:

    If you are debunking something, at least debunk the actual point that was made. Dr Ezike admitted that any death that occurs with someone who is Covid positive is classified as a Covid death - even if Covid wasn’t the cause of the death. The video tape exists of her explaining that. Besides, does anybody really believe that anyone in Clay county gives two whits about what mark brown thinks, or even knows who he is?


  19. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    === I ran from the house screaming into the street and got hit by a UPS truck and died, COVID death?===

    It seems unlikely that the medical examiner would test your corpse for COVID-19 on account of your apparent cause of death.

    I think it’s great that we live in a country where we have legislatures that pass laws that require decades of education in order to become a physician so we can deal with folks that have no expertise suddenly questioning processes in place that have existed for years and have been established by experts in their field.

    So, no you wouldn’t get reported as a COVID-19 death and guess what UPS Truck wouldn’t be on your death certificate either.

    Folks that never bothered to learn a thing about how cause of death is determined or reported in any circumstance should probably not weigh in for how COVID-19 deaths are reported.

    This isn’t Facebook. There’s a difference between information seeking, speculation, and just plain ignorant non-sense based off of fundamental misunderstanding of our rules, regulations and institutions.

    It would be nice if y’all could at least be transparent with your motives so I don’t have to sit here thinking that some CapFax commenters won’t be happy until tens of thousands of us are dead from this pandemic because that is the result of the policy changes for which some folks seem to be advocating.


  20. - walker - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    Contrarian: Please read the judge’s actual statement again. It is false.


  21. - Tynie - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:03 pm:

    Contrarian, I found the video you mentioned. It was posted to Youtube 5 days ago.

    https://youtu.be/Kw_s2wqXMCc


  22. - Perrid - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:03 pm:

    Contrarian, just because something is possible doesn’t mean it’s happening very often. And as Mark said, there hasn’t been one car accident death in Cook county listed as a Covid death. So it’s not a reason to disbelieve the numbers, and certainly not evidence that the pandemic isn’t a problem, which is how the judge used it. Think, please.


  23. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:11 pm:

    Contrarian: “If you are debunking something, at least debunk the actual point that was made.”

    Clay County Circuit Judge Michael McHaney: “With respect to these statistics you’re throwing out here and all of that, isn’t it true that if I die in a car wreck, and I happen to test positive for COVID-19, my cause of death for purposes of what this governor is doing is COVID-19?”

    Mark Brown: “The answer is: “No!” *** [T]here’s not a single car wreck victim among the 1,603 persons who had died through Thursday.”

    Brown’s direct and factual response couldn’t have been more on point.

    – MrJM


  24. - Jocko - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    ==wearing my mask which fogged up my glasses==

    Unless you’re ‘uber-ing’ strangers, why are you wearing your mask in the car?


  25. - 32nd warder - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:25 pm:

    for the record, in a press conference last week (i believe), Dr. Ezike specifically said that a person who dies of an unrelated cause, but has been diagnosed as having COVID-19, the death is classified as a COVID-19 death. She said this with the governor standing right next to her. Rich, if you’d like, I could post video of her statements from that press conference.


  26. - 32nd warder - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:26 pm:

    whoops, i didn’t see that the video had already been posted. i apologize.


  27. - Contrarian - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:27 pm:

    He would have done better to debunk the broader point that the Judge was making…still nobody listening in Clay County. Who is Mark Brown again?


  28. - Tynie - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:29 pm:

    32nd Warder, it’s fine. I’m surprised it posted as fast as it did, considering the fact I’m on my phone right now TBH.


  29. - Captain Obvious - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:32 pm:

    If they die of an unrelated cause, how can it be a covid death? Does it depend on the meaning of unrelated? Also has each person listed as a covid death tested positive for covid? That is not the case in New York. What about Illinois?


  30. - Sonny - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    These folks pushing lunatic conspiracy theories and talking a big game - especially the ones with guns at protests - would evacuate their bowels before they made in through the lobby if they had to work a shift in one of these frontline hospitals.

    Come visit one of our nursing homes in Cook County, your Honor, and do a tour.


  31. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    There’s a lot that we do know about COVID, and there’s a lot that we don’t know.

    We know that it is spreading quickly. We don’t know how quickly, and we don’t know precisely where. We know that we aren’t testing enough, but we don’t know how best to target the testing we can do, other than to make testing available to some of the people who want to be tested. We don’t have enough to test everyone who dies.

    We know that some people who contract COVID will die horrible deaths, and that before they die they will require intensive medical interventions that will mean resources are not available for others. We don’t know how many people who contract COVID will die, or how. It could be a respiratory issue, it could be a blood clot issue, or it could be something else that doesn’t present obvious physical traits.

    We know that COVID kills some people and not others. We don’t know exactly how it kills people, or all the ways it may kill people.

    We know that the total number of people dying now is far higher than it should be. More than usual; more than one would expect seasonally, even with a really bad flu going around.

    All of this effort to say the numbers of people dying from or with COVID are inflated is simply misplaced. Yes, there’s a lot we don’t know but if you follow the science, we know this is very serious.

    All of these people who want to believe it’s not serious can justify that stance later, when the ICUs back up and the morgues overflow.

    For now, they’re just being irresponsible.


  32. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:39 pm:

    And here I thought my hypotheticals were outlandish enough to be clearly understood as snark…so much for assuming.


  33. - Downstate - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:40 pm:

    MisterJayEm,

    From the Herald article, “During Gov. JB Pritzker’s health briefing on Sunday, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the Illinois Department of Public Health director, said anyone who had COVID-19 at the time of death, even if the person died of other causes, is counted among the COVID deaths.”


  34. - Ok Boomer - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    I was under the impression that a death certificate often reflects multiple causes of death. I think this is fairly common with illnesses like HIV, diabetes, etc. Has anyone seen that this is not the case with CV-19? Maybe it is a worthwhile question at one of the Gov’s pressers?


  35. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    Pneumonia. COPD. Pulmonary Fibrosis. Ashtma. Chronic boronchitis. Emphysema. Cystic Fibrosis. Pleurel Effusion.

    All of these are underlying lung diseases. COVID-19 accelerates death in these patients. Classify and count them however you want, a death is a death after all, and none of this matters to the dead.

    But pretending COVID-19 isn’t killing people is going to add to the total number of deaths.


  36. - Deep South - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:52 pm:

    I watched the video….listen to the last sentence. She says that, in these cases, they don’t list the Covid as the cause of death…but they do report that the person who died had the Covid when they passed….She clearly says it would not be listed as the cause of death. Am I missing something?


  37. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:52 pm:

    - Downstate - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:40 pm:

    Here you go:

    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/misc/hb_me.pdf

    And:

    “Cause of Death – Describes the underlying cause of death utilizing diagnosis groupings. These groupings are based on the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD). For 1998 and earlier years, cause of death classification is based on the ICD 9th Revision (ICD-9). For 1999 and subsequent years the 10th Revision (ICD-10) is used. ”

    http://www.idph.state.il.us/emsrpt/death.asp

    Now if you want to take the time to really debate this, you should ask yourself what’s the difference between “Patients with a positive COVID-19 test that have died” vs. “A patient that died from COVID-19″ and whether or not we really have enough information or resources to accurately report the former.

    You’re making a counter factual argument. How about you go through the data and identify some specific examples of people that have died after testing positive for COVID-19 and let us know how many of those deaths seem to be unrelated to COVID-19?

    The protocols for testing for COVID-19 have been so difficult that in order to get tested one basically had to be hospitalized, or have been in immediate contact with someone that already tested positive.

    It’s not likely that there’s an enormous error factor being caused by folks just randomly getting tested that die, and you’re also ignoring the ridiculously inflated numbers of deaths from the month of March and April compared to past Marches and Aprils.

    I really hope you’re not sitting there thinking you’re making some kind of valid point. Go take some MPH course work. University of Illinois at Springfield has a nice online MPH you can enroll in.


  38. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:52 pm:

    Downstate:

    Only the ignorant would believe that a car accident is counted as a coronavirus death. Don’t be daft.


  39. - Contrarian - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:53 pm:

    Captain Obvious - watch the Dr. Ezike video - she answers your question.


  40. - Downstate - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:55 pm:

    My source is the Herald News. See the quote listed above.


  41. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    ===My source is the Herald News. See the quote listed above. ===

    What’s your source for the car accident victim that has been reported among the COVID-19 deaths?


  42. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:13 pm:

    ==What’s your source for the car accident victim that has been reported among the COVID-19 deaths?==

    You’re going to get the same dopey answer. People like Downstate will latch on to anything to make this crisis seem less of a crisis.


  43. - supplied_demand - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:16 pm:

    There is no source on car accident victims being mis-classified because it’s not a real argument. It’s an ideological argument disguised as a real/factual argument. These people don’t care how deaths are classified, they care about finding any object they can use as a hammer against their foes.

    The same train of thought is driving the Second City Cop blog to completely contradict itself. What you said yesterday doesn’t matter, what matters is attacking your “enemies” today.


  44. - WorkingFromHome - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    == based on what I have been told, I’m surprised they did not SOJ him. ==

    Based on past experience, the AG’s office is loathe to SOJ for various reasons. Ultimately though it is unlikely to matter because there is no way this was going to end in the circuit court.


  45. - PublicServant - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:28 pm:

    === However, when judges start doing it? You really fear how the judge handles cases where the media is not watching. ===

    Well, it was either run for judge, or state rep, but that was already taken by Darren, so …


  46. - Covid Police - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    Mr JM,

    “AND THEN DIE FROM COVID”

    Speaking of fallacious arguments from Dr Straw-man. Writer Christopher Hitchens passed away in a Texas hospital some years ago following decades of smoking, scotch, and frankly one hell of a life. He contracted stage 4 throat cancer and was given 6 months to a year to live. It weekened his immune system, and he got sick. Using your logic he died from pneumonia, and not the 2 packs a day for 40 years. Get real


  47. - SAP - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:05 pm:

    I’ll step out and assume that Medical Examiners and Coroners would like to open up their communities at least as much as the Governor does. With that in mind, what incentive is there for a Coroner or M.E. to classify COVID as the cause of death if there is some other cause? Presumably they want to bring infection rates down so that business can reopen per the President’s guidelines.


  48. - Just Another Anon - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:17 pm:

    Just a question but it seems like several of my posts asking about Dr. Ezike’s comments on April 20, 2020 were removed. Has Rich turned on the curated comment policy again?


  49. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:26 pm:

    ==Using your logic he died from pneumonia==

    He did, at least partly. It’s called comorbidity. Ever heard of it?


  50. - Covid Police - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    Demoralized,

    “At least partly”

    Genius


  51. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 7:48 pm:

    If someone is in a hospice with a terminal illness and the hospice is engulfed in fire and a patient dies in that fire, then that patient was killed by the fire regardless of why they originally went into the hospice.

    COVID-19 is the fire.

    – MrJM


  52. - Lynn S. - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 8:57 pm:

    @ Covid Police,

    Let’s have some real fun. Find a way to get a copy of Christopher Hitchens’ death certificate, and see what the first listed cause of death is.

    Then we’ll see what other co-morbidities are listed on it.

    My guess is that we’ll find pneumonia first, followed by cancer.

    I think we can all agree that Christopher Hitchens and my father had lung cancer after smoking for 40 years.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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