President Trump has once again made headlines with a controversial statement at a rally. After initially suggesting at an October 25th rally that physicians get paid more by reporting a patient's death as covid-19 related, the president doubled down just five days later, stating that, "doctors are very smart people, so what they do is they say everybody dies of covid... it's like $2000 more, so you get more money." Susan Bailey, the president of the American Medical Association called these remarks, "malicious, outrageous, and completely misguided." The American College of Emergency Physicians released a statement saying, "to imply that emergency physicians would inflate the number of deaths from this pandemic to gain financially is offensive, especially as many are actually under unprecedented financial strain as they continue to bear the brunt of Covid-19."
The fundamental discrepancy comes down to this: in many cases it is the exacerbation of an underlying comorbidity that actually leads to a patient's death (e.g. congestive heart failure, emphysema, etc), but when the presence of covid-19 leads to a patient's inability to compensate for a condition that they would have otherwise been able to recover from, then covid-19 is indeed the primary factor contributing to death. Various