Q: Are hospitals inflating the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths so they can be paid more?
A: Recent legislation pays hospitals higher Medicare rates for COVID-19 patients and treatment, but there is no evidence of fraudulent reporting.
Viral posts wrongly suggest that the COVID-19 death toll is exaggerated because “the state” has instructed that “anyone who didnt die by a gun shot wound or car accident” be listed as a coronavirus victim. Experts say there is no such default classification — and that the U.S. death count is probably underestimated.
A viral post on Facebook claims without substantiation that the “media” is running a photo of coffins from a 2017 movie with news stories about the novel coronavirus pandemic in Italy. The picture is actually from 2013; it did appear in the 2017 movie, too, but there’s no evidence it’s being used by credible news organizations now.
Facebook posts falsely claim that it “took [President Barack] Obama ‘millions infected and over 1,000 deaths’ to declare the H1N1 flu a health emergency,” but President Donald Trump “declared a health emergency” before the first coronavirus death. In reality, both administrations declared public health emergencies before the first reported deaths.