CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen Slammed After Admitting There’s Been ‘Overcounting’ of COVID Deaths

CNN medical analyst and Washington Post columnist Dr. Leana Wen admitted in a column, Friday, that the medical community is “overcounting” the amount of “COVID deaths and hospitalizations.”

Wen, who writes an occasional Washington Post column providing her observations on the pandemic, masking and other COVID-related subjects, cited sources claiming that most “patients diagnosed with COVID are actually in the hospital for some other illness.”

The article is titled, “We are overcounting COVID deaths and hospitalizations. That’s a problem.” 

Wen’s observations prompted readers on Twitter to complain, stating that it’s “two and a half years late.”

Wen began her column with some apparent skepticism about the CDC’s latest COVID-19 death stats: “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is experiencing around 400 COVID deaths every day. At that rate, there would be nearly 150,000 deaths a year. But are these Americans dying from COVID or with COVID?”

The doctor claimed that “Understanding this distinction is crucial to putting the continuing toll of the coronavirus into perspective. Determining how likely it is an infection will result in hospitalization or death helps people weigh their own risk.”

She spoke to two Infectious-disease experts, who told her they believed “the number of deaths attributed to COVID is far greater than the actual number of people dying from COVID.”

Mentioning the first, she wrote, “Robin Dretler, an attending physician at Emory Decatur Hospital and the former president of Georgia’s chapter of Infectious Diseases Society of America, estimates that at his hospital, 90 percent of patients diagnosed with COVID are actually in the hospital for some other illness.”

Dretler told the analyst, “Since every hospitalized patient gets tested for COVID many are incidentally positive.” Wen noted how people with gunshot wounds or other serious illnesses often test positive for the virus, and wrote, “If these patients die, COVID might get added to their death certificate along with the other diagnoses. But the coronavirus was not the primary contributor to their death and often played no role at all.”

Dretler admitted this contributed to “imprecise reporting” on COVID deaths and hospitalizations, which he added did not come from a place of “bad intent.” He denied that there was any “conspiracy” behind it to “exaggerate coronavirus numbers for some nefarious purpose.”

Wen also cited infectious-disease physician Shira Doron, who figured out that “In recent months, only about 30 percent of total hospitalizations with COVID were primarily attributed to the virus” in Massachusetts hospitals for example. 

Wen recounted Doron’s experience at Tufts Medical Center, writing, “During some days, she said, the proportion of those hospitalized because of COVID were as low as 10 percent of the total number reported” who had COVID. 

Wen added, “Doron acknowledges that there is a gray zone in the data in which COVID might not be the primary cause of death but could have contributed to it.”

Towards the end of her piece, Wen declared, “To be clear, if the COVID death count turns out to be 30 percent of what’s currently reported, that’s still unacceptably high.”

Many readers on Twitter seemed frustrated with the piece, expressing that they believed the medical community had been counting for years now and that Wen’s info comes too late.

Epidemiologist Dr. Tracy Høeg responded to Wen’s piece, stating, “Spring 2021 [USA] had good evidence >40% of child COVID admissions were incidental. 2021 Denmark announced they’d distinguish with vs from COVID hosp. COVID+ deaths in [Denmark] in 2022 [were] 60-70% incidental.”

The doctor added, “Amazing how long it has taken the U.S. to accept this is a problem.”

Center for Security Policy senior analyst J. Michael Waller slammed the Washington Post over the column, stating, “Not long ago, the Washington Post was calling us conspiracy theorists for saying such things.”

Author A.J. Kay tweeted, “Well, yeah … You’d think seeing this in legacy media would offer a feeling of vindication or resolution for those of us who have been screaming about it since 2020, but really it’s just exasperation, anger, & grief. The lies caused so much harm.”

“The Australian” journalist Adam Creighton tweeted, “People saying this a year ago were booted off social media.”

Brownstone Institute president Jeffrey Tucker tweeted, “This is not just recently true. It’s been true for three years! We truly do not know how many actually died from COVID, which means that not even the CFR is accurate.”

Timcast staff writer Adrian Norman wrote, “TWO AND A HALF YEARS LATE.”