Discover more from Wood House 76
Wait, Did This Really Happen in New York City Hospitals?
The key claim about the spring 2020 mass casualty event in NYC's healthcare system is hard to believe.
The key claim that state and federal data are making about what happened in New York City hospitals in spring 2020, in real-time, is hard to believe.
New York City hospitals have a normal systemwide capacity of 20,000 beds.
State data show peak occupancy of 20,009 patients on April 12, 2020, just shy of a month following the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” decree.
Federal data show 19,275 deaths occurred in NYC hospital inpatient between mid-March and the end of May, regardless of cause.
So the near-equivalent of every New York City hospital inpatient bed died in 11 weeks?
I’ll let readers check me, but I believe this would be the biggest mass-casualty period that hospitals in a U.S. city have ever experienced.
It doesn’t matter if beds were added or moved around, bed status was changed, or areas were repurposed. The picture being painted is every bed normally-available in the city being filled during a time when
emergency department visits were way down,
fewer patients were being transported in ambulances,
third-party witnesses were barred from the premises.1
And then, the data assert, very close to that number of patients died in the same timeframe.
Did that happen? (By “that,” I mean this ⬇️.)
I don’t mean, “Did people die?” or even “How did people die?”
I mean is this ⬆️ an accurate, real-time representation of the number of people who died as inpatients in these weeks? Is it possible that some data were “pushed” or reclassified?
Adding deaths that occurred in emergency departments/outpatient, we see the claim is that the New York City health system experienced a peak weekly increase of ~700% in 21 days.
That’s close to 10,000 dead patients in the three “pandemic” weeks that normally see ~2,000.2
Regardless of what the corresponding death certificates list as the underlying causes, the claim these data make defy credulity.3 No one should simply accept the timeline for this event as gospel or unassailable fact - especially since the officials overseeing these data have misled and lied to public about many things over the past few years.
It’s not Anti-Science or a wild conspiracy theory to look back at an event and say, “What happened and how do we know?” Such questions are the raison d’être of historians, investigative journalists, biographers, and detectives. The mindset need not be reserved for paid professionals trained in those fields, especially in a society that purports to value free speech and free press. Surely we can’t figure out why something happened without establishing that it happened - and to what extent.
With that in mind, I pose the following questions to people who were working in or with New York City hospitals at the time:
Are these numbers consistent with your experiences? Do they “ring true”?
As far as I can tell, citywide admissions and ED visits were higher in January 2020 than in March or April 2020. Do you remember being particularly busy in late 2019 and the first month of 2020? What was flu season like, prior the “first” COVID case in New York City being announced on March 1st? Busier than 2017-2018?
Do you remember military personnel coming into your hospital in April 2020? If so, why were they there? What did they do?6
To New York City/Metro funeral home directors, I ask:
Do these hospital death numbers ring true with what you handled/were asked to handle in those weeks (or thereafter)?
Did you handle more deaths that occurred in hospitals, in nursing homes, or personal homes?
What was business like in late 2019 and very early 2020, compared to other years?
To New York City residents who were in the city during this event, I ask:
Did you or people you know experience sudden onset of illness (mild or severe) in March or April 2020?
Do you know people who died at home after calling an ambulance? Or people who were taken from their homes to a hospital via ambulance?7
To Everyone Else, I ask:
Do you remember hearing and seeing news reports about what was happening in New York? What was your impression back then? How did it influence what you thought about the “novel coronavirus”?
Looking at the number of deaths that hospitals experienced in this time, would you expect follow-up documentaries, features, and stories about what happened? Is there a right time to expect this kind of retrospective work?
Especially given the scale of casualties, what do you make of [what I perceive to be] a general reticence toward looking back at or talking about the New York City event?
Viruses aren’t bombs - and yet the sudden appearance and disappearance of COVID-19 in the city’s all-cause mortality data asserts otherwise. Do the data warrant an explanation from authorities? Could their explanation be trusted? Why or why not?
We’re a long way from understanding what happened in New York City. It may take years, if not decades.
For now, the central claim that state and federal data are making about real-time deaths in the city’s hospitals should not be accepted as necessarily true. Until death certificates substantiating the number and places of death that occurred each day have been released, the daily and weekly tolls for 2020 should be regarded with skepticism.
Including by people who were there.
Weeks 13 - 15
Place of Occurrence data from CDC WONDER shows 21,923 deaths in hospital inpatient, ED & outpatient deaths. COVID-19 is attributed as underlying cause for 15,112 of those deaths, which means that effectively all of the increase over the normal number of deaths occurring in hospitals in those weeks is blamed on COVID.
It’s a lot of variables to see at one time, but for the person who thinks systematically, this graph captures best the absurdity what official data claim was happening in real time.
My understanding from employees of some NYC hospitals is that it isn’t unusual to have “morgue trailers” (Body Collection Points; BCPs) from the OCME at each hospital, because the hospital morgue capacity isn’t high. I reported data on BCP deployment during the spring 2020 event in this thread.
April 5, 2020 press release from Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s office: “Today, the federal government sent 291 military medical personnel to be dispatched to NYC Health+ Hospitals. This is the first response the City has seen to the original request for 1,000 nurses, 300 respiratory therapists, and 150 doctors.”
If you recall hearing sirens non-stop, you’re not crazy. Ambulance dispatches were very high for 2-3 weeks, which makes sense with the high volume of 911 calls. But the data show a lower-than-normal proportion of dispatches transporting patients.