You may recall that independent analysis of deaths at VA facilities found that veterans infected by the coronavirus were actually twice as likely to die if they were treated with Trump's much-hyped and fake miracle drug, hydroxychloroquine, but the VA has not discontinued use of the drug.
Responding to congressional Democrats and the press, a VA spokesperson says that while fewer patients are being treated with chloroquine, they're still using it as an experimental treatment but on a more limited basis.
The department was also unable to substantiate Secretary Robert Wilkie's previous claims that the drug benefited younger patients.
Responding to written questions from Sen. Jon Tester, the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, the department admitted it had no studies or evidence to back up Wilkie's claim that hydroxychloroquine had shown effectiveness in younger veterans in particular. [...]
The analysis of VA hospital data, done by independent researchers at two universities with VA approval, was not a rigorous experiment. Researchers analyzed medical records of 368 older male veterans hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus infection at VA medical centers who died or were discharged by April 11.
About 28% of veterans who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died, versus 11% of those getting routine care alone.
In related news, the VA disclosed this morning that over 1,000 have died at department hospitals, but that appears to be a severe undercount.
VA reported 1,012 deaths on its tracking site, with more than 700 logged as veterans who died during inpatient care at VA’s sprawling network of veteran hospitals. The remaining deaths were recorded elsewhere but reported to VA, agency spokeswoman Christina Noel said last week.
But Noel acknowledged VA’s count does not include veterans who have died at state-run veterans homes. That death count is at least 550, according to Vietnam Veterans of America, an advocacy group collecting nationwide data for a forthcoming report.
And even then, 28 states are not reporting veteran deaths, making the cumulative total unknown, said Linda Schwartz, a special adviser to the group and a former VA assistant secretary for policy and planning.
Of course, it's not just the VA that is undercounting deaths.
The nationwide death toll that will officially cross 90,000 today but that is also an undercount. The true count is likely already above 100,000.
More and more, I get the impression that numbers are being intentionally obfuscated and we likely won't have a complete picture until Trump is gone. But if Trump is reelected, his regime will spend the next four years doing everything they can to bury the details of this chapter in our history. For Trump's posterity.