Mississippi coroner: Inaccurate COVID case reporting causing fear and stress

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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — A Facebook post from a north Mississippi coroner is getting traction.

DeSoto County Coroner Josh Pounders said the way COVID-19 cases must be reported is causing unnecessary fear and stress in the public.

“This post is not to take away the importance of any life or life lost during the ‘COVID-19’ pandemic,” Pounders began his post.

He said he sympathizes with families who have lost loved ones, and he believes it’s important to report facts to the public.

Pounders said his office completed reports for 144 deaths last month, calling July an average month in DeSoto County.

Of those deaths, 24 had a positive COVID test and died. He said of those people, they all had major medical problems prior to contracting COVID, many were over the age of 75 or were in hospice care or had some kind of other terminal diagnosis. Some who tested positive had no COVID symptoms at all and died from other medical issues.

“The department of health demands that these deaths be called a COVID death and reports them as only that without reporting that many of them were terminal prior to a +test,” Pounders posted.

He believes this has caused unnecessary fear. He said he has noticed cardio/pulmonary deaths to be drastically up, saying this could be due to stress from the pandemic causing high blood pressure. He also believes this could be due to people being too afraid to go to the hospital when they need to for fear of the virus. 

“There are some things he said that I would agree with and some things I would take issue with,” Baptist Hospital infectious disease expert Dr. Stephen Threlkeld said. “So I would strongly plead people not to have that sentiment because it probably is just inaccurate. You’re probably safer in a hospital, where people are taking steps and they’re gowning and doing all these things and everybody is wearing a mask in the hospital, and so they’re not as likely to give it to you.”

Threlkeld also had another message about the post.

“So I think it’s very difficult to take the data that he supplied and then make any sort of statistical case that those things are being overblown,” Dr. Threlkeld said.

When reached for comment, Pounders told WREG he was busy working and said everything he wanted to say was in his Facebook post.

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