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14 May 2020  (563 Views) 
Covid-19 crisis

High death rates in UK, USA
The death rates in UK and USA increased sharply in recent months.  They have nearly caught up with Italy and Spain.

The death per million population are

Spain 584
Italy 514
UK 489
USA 259

What is the reason for the  sharp increase in UK and USA?

It may appear strange, but I suspect the reasons are:

a) The UK has a national health care system that takes care of all residents. A sick resident does not have to pay for medical treatment. If someone is sick with covid-19, the patient will be hospitalised.

If he dies, he will be classified as a covid-19 death, regardless of whether this virus is the actual cause of death. I believe that this is the arrangement, but I may be wrong. 

Many elderly people die each year. Before dying, they are likely to be hospitalised. If they are found to be infected with the virus, even though it may be incidental, the death is likely to be classified as a covid-19 death.
This probably account for the high numbers of covid-19 deaths.

b) In the USA, the medical expenses of elderly people above a certain age are paid by the federal government under the Medicare program. The medical expenses of poor people are paid by the states under the Medicaid program. 

I read that Medicare pays 20% more than the standard charges for patients that are classified as covid-19. there is an incentive for hospitals to record cases and deaths under covid-19 to get higher payment. 

I do not know if the same arrangement applies in the states for the poor people. I think it should be similar. 

There is a study that conclude that there is "no evidence" that the hospitals are inflating the covid-19 cases. My common sense says that this is likely to be the case, although it is difficult to find evidence to prove this hypothesis. The hospitals are not likely to be forthcoming with the data.

As the world becomes more and more alarmed at the rapid rise of covid-19 cases and deaths, it should pause and ask the common sense question - are many of these deaths caused by the normal risk factors and are now being classified as covid-19 deaths?

Tan Kin Lian

Vote - do you suspect that the numbers are inflated?


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