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Ten times as many New Yorkers are dying in their homes than normal and they aren’t being tested for COVID-19

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As of this writing, 12,242 people have died in the United States as a result of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over 5,000 of those losses were in New York, which has become the global epicenter of the pandemic.

But we don’t actually know what the true toll from this disease is. The actual number of deaths is higher–possibly much higher.

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In New York City, somewhere around 20-25 people die at home on a typical day. But according to City Council Member Mark Levine, who chairs the health committee, between 200 and 215 are dying at home every day at present. As Levine wrote on Twitter, only those “who are known to have a positive coronavirus test have the disease listed as the official cause on their death certificate.”

Gothamist reports that the city Medical Examiner’s office “is not testing dead bodies for COVID-19. Instead, they’re referring suspected cases to the city’s health department as ‘probable.’” And those “probable” COVID-19 deaths aren’t included in the tallies.

This is not a problem that’s unique to New York. BuzzFeed News reported that “medical professionals around the US [say] that the official numbers of people who have died of COVID-19 are not consistent with the number of deaths they’re seeing on the front lines.”

In some cases, it’s a lag in reporting, caused by delays and possible breakdowns in logging positive tests and making them public. In other, more troubling, cases, medical experts told BuzzFeed News they think it’s because people are not being tested before or after they die.

I should note that this is not some conspiracy to conceal the true number of fatalities caused by the pandemic. Insufficient testing capacity has been a consistent issue from the beginning of the outbreak, and confirming that the dead had the disease would be a poor use of such scarce resources.

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And in the US, local public health agencies compile data on fatalities and report them to the CDC, and many of those agencies are understaffed and overwhelmed.

The CDC is also forthcoming about the problem. ABC News reports that the agency “is well aware that the figures – which keep going up – do not tell the full story.”

“The current data on presumptive and lab-confirmed cases and deaths are underestimates,” CDC spokesman Scott Pauley said Monday. “Right now, we believe that the number of deaths we have reported paints an informative picture of the scope of epidemic.”

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While doctors and nurses treating patients on the frontlines and both local and federal public health experts say COVID-19 fatalities are being undercounted, an emerging narrative on the fringe-right is that the opposite is true. Some, motivated by partisanship to discount the experts, claim that deaths due to other causes are being recorded as COVID-19 deaths in a sprawling conspiracy to hurt Trump’s chances in November. Given that we do not know the true number, one can expect that narrative to enter the conservative mainstream at some point, possibly promoted by Donald Trump himself.

If that comes to pass, it will continue and deepen a trend that’s been evident since the beginning of the crisis, with people on the left and right divided not only in their opinions of the regime’s handling of the crisis, but also embracing very different sets of facts, or”facts,” about its severity.

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CNBC’s Rick Santelli ripped as ‘psychopath’ for on-air ‘meltdown’ over COVID-19 restrictions

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CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin and Rick Santelli clashed over coronavirus restrictions, setting off another round of discussion on social media.

The conservative Santelli loudly insisted that bars and restaurants, which are shut down in many areas, were no more dangerous than large retailers, which have mostly been allowed to stay open, and Sorkin cut him off.

“Rick, just as a public-health and public-service announcement for the audience, the difference between a big-box retailer and a restaurant or, frankly, even a church, are so different it’s unbelievable,” Sorkin said, as Santelli kept interrupting. “Going into a big-box retailer, you’re wearing a mask.”

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Federal judge says Trump pardon of Michael Flynn may have been ‘too broad’: report

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A trial judge has raised the possibility that the federal judge overseeing the case of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn could find that President Trump's pardon of Flynn may be "too broad," according to The National Law Journal.

The comments “came unexpectedly” during a Freedom of Information Act hearing about releasing documents from special counsel Robert Mueller's office, according to BuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold.

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2020 Election

Here’s why Republicans who are calling for a Trump dictatorship should not be taken lightly — and aren’t going away

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The United States dodged an authoritarian bullet when former Vice President Joe Biden, a centrist Democrat, became president-elect, winning 306 electoral votes and defeating defeated President Donald Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote. But when Republican Lin Wood, a pro-Trump attorney who has been fighting the election results in Georgia, implores Trump to impose martial law and elections officials are receiving death threats for acknowledging Biden as president-elect, it is painfully obvious that there is a strong appetite for fascism in parts of the United States. And journalist Sasha Abramsky, in an article published by The Nation on December 4, warns that Republicans who are openly calling for fascism should not be taken lightly.

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