Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson on Monday shared portions of an email on Twitter from a “senior executive at a Texas ER chain” that dramatically downplays the so-called new ‘coronavirus crisis’ the state.
The executive, who was not identified, also provided information that could help explain why other states also appear to be experiencing a new surge in COVID-19 cases.
In the email, screenshots of which were tweeted by Berenson, the executive — self-identified as a “Managing Partner and General Counsel” of a Texas-based firm that owns and operates 13 “free-standing emergency clinics” in the state — explained that hospitals economically hard-hit by months of dramatically reduced patient loads due to the coronavirus pandemic have been incentivized to inflate COVID-19 numbers.
“…[H]eard several stories of how discharge planners are being pressured to put Covid as primary diagnosis — as that pays significantly better,” the executive wrote. “Hospitals want to avoid the discussion but if they don’t they risk another shutdown.
“This may be an explanation for why there is a gap in hospital executives saying they have plenty of capacity and the increasing number of Covid hospitalizations. You open up your hospitals for normal medical care and you test every one of those patients — the result is a higher percentage of patients who have Covid,” the executive wrote.
As for the number of patients winding up in hospital intensive care units, “most” are not there for coronavirus.
Rather, the executive stated, “The hospital ICUs are filled with really sick people with non-covid issues. They didn’t come in earlier because they were scared and now they are super sick.”
The exec added: “From multiple sources at different hospitals — they have plenty of capacity and no shortage of acute care beds. No real data on breakdown of patients who have Covid but are not in the hospital because of Covid. Recognition that because all patients are tested for Covid you have some percentage of patients listed as Covid patients who are non Covid symptomatic and that the hospitalization rate is somewhat driven by hospitals taking their normal patients with other issues.”
Also, the executive noted that steep increases in testing are revealing higher “positive” numbers and that the “average age” of people tested at the facilities is “mid-30s.”
The executive wrote “strict criteria” put in place as the coronavirus pandemic began to rise and peak earlier this year prevented such patients from being tested before. But “now with more testing kits we are able to test a broader group of patients,” the executive wrote.
The anonymous official noted further that there are have been “very few hospital transfers” due to the virus and that the “vast majority” of “patients are better within 2-3 days of” their visit.