BATISTE: Louisiana’s Questionable Reporting Of COVID Deaths Among Children

The state of Louisiana claims 21 children have died “from COVID-19” and state officials are concealing information from the public regarding these alleged pediatric pandemic deaths. On February 22, 2022, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) announced three pediatric deaths they tied to the pandemic. With each LDH news release covering the loss of a child to COVID, a running total is provided.

“That we have lost 21 children in our state to COVID-19, many of them not yet eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, is unbearable,” Louisiana Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter said in a February news release.

The state information is very ambiguous. Joseph Kanter and the Louisiana Department of Health communications staff are ignoring questions into the pediatric deaths. So with ambiguous information and a government body declining to provide additional COVID data, this article dives into the limited, available details.

Tracking the tally over 24 months gets confusing. This article follows two paths: the tally as stated by LDH and independently compiling each individual child death attributed to COVID in LDH’s releases. These figures would seemingly reconcile, but they do not. As noted above, the state most recently said 21 pediatric aged people have died from COVID-19. Let’s trace the reporting from its origin.

Louisiana’s first notification of losing a child to COVID-19 occurred on August 10, 2020, when LDH announced, “a fourth death related to Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19.” LDH had a statement about MIS-C claiming the life of a young person on May 27, 2020, however that release never tied the death to COVID-19. At this point, LDH now claimed four fatalities.

The state’s running total of child COVID deaths jumped from four to eleven without an explanation or news release as to the presumed additional seven child COVID deaths. LDH announced the four in August 2020 then on August 25, 2021, more than a year later, the governor’s office—not LDH–issued a statement that reads, “A child this young has not died from COVID in Louisiana in more than six months. In total, 11 children younger than 18 have died from COVID in Louisiana.”

While the governor used the total of 11, LDH had not yet updated its official child COVID death figure. When LDH updated with a release on September 1, 2021, it used the total of 13.

During the wave of the Delta Variant in late summer 2021, the state’s documented number of child COVID deaths became murkier. For instance, the same day Governor Edwards issued a statement on the first child death in six months being an infant under the age of one, Louisiana media outlets reported another tragic COVID death–that of a 14-year-old student at Baker High School.

Both the infant and high school freshman died around August 25, 2021. Then, on September 1, 2021, LDH “confirms two pediatric deaths from COVID-19.” These two new pediatric deaths were “between the ages of 0 and 4, and one death was of a child between the ages of 12 and 17.” The infant was less than one and the young person from Baker was 14—both fit into the age ranges provided by LDH. Asked for clarification from LDH, perhaps an error while the state was occupied with Hurricane Ida, and no response was received.

The LDH statement from September 1, 2021, also said, “In total, 13 children younger than 18 have died from COVID in Louisiana.” Governor Edwards’ statement on the infant’s death the week prior said, “In total, 11 children younger than 18 have died from COVID in Louisiana.” Did the number of minors truly rise from 11 to 13? Was the September 1st number new, or was LDH simply accounting for the two August 25th deaths? Keep in mind, the dates used are the dates of announcements, not the dates of deaths as those are unreleased.

If sticking to LDH as the single info source, the LDH’s total number of pediatric deaths jumps from 4 to 13. LDH provided no details on the nine pediatric deaths that occurred between August 9, 2020, and September 1, 2021.

Next, the LDH tally increased from 13 to 15 during September 2021 while only citing one additional pediatric death. Meaning Louisiana’s 14th child COVID death went entirely unreported between September 1-17. Three following news releases cover individual child COVID deaths, each boosting the tally incrementally by one. From October 4, 2021, to February 21, 2022, no pediatric deaths were reported. As Carnival season rolled on, LDH reported three new child COVID deaths.

Following the number of deaths individually reported in news releases by LDH without using the department’s reported total, the Louisiana pediatric deaths number 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, and 3. That totals 10 pediatric deaths, not the 21 the state reported.

This chart below tracks the date of the news release, each “new” death per LDH releases, an independent tally based on the new deaths, age, sex, variant, and the source of the data.

RELEASE DATE  REPORTED DEATHS per LDH  LDH TOTAL TALLY  INDEPENDENT TALLY  AGE  Variant  SOURCE 
8/9/2020 1 4 1 2-19   LDH 
             
8/25/2021 1 11   0-1 Delta JBE 
8/25/2021 1 12?     14 Delta media
9/1/2021 2 13 2 0-4, 12-17 Delta LDH 
    14?          
9/17/2021 1 15 3 5-11 Delta LDH 
9/22/2021 1 16 4 12-17 Delta LDH 
10/1/2021 1 17 5 0-4 Delta LDH 
10/4/2021 1 18 6 12-17 Delta LDH 
2/22/2022 3 21 9 5-, 5-, 5-17 Omicron LDH 

Not sure what type of explanation can be provided about a discrepancy on numbers such as this, but two of the state’s most high-profile public figures have made statements that also call into question the official information supplied regarding the death of children.

During the early days of the Delta Variant, on July 30, 2021, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell held a press conference to announce her reinstatement of the mask mandate and a new vaccine mandate. How did the mayor convey the urgent need to increase what she viewed as necessary safety measures?

“Our children are dying. From 2 weeks old to 2 years old to 4 years old, you cannot make it up. Our children are dying,” Cantrell said. The youth COVID fatalities stated by the mayor have never appeared again. Cantrell never stated them again. But, in fairness, LDH has a void for just under one year in which nine pediatric deaths from COVID were never accounted for. And Cantrell’s statement falls in that time period.

However, the New Orleans mayor and Louisiana governor made conflicting statements about child COVID deaths less than a month apart. Using the mayor’s own words, she identified the deaths of a 2-week-old, a 2-year-old, and a 4-year-old. Yet Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards stated on August 25, 2021, “A child this young has not died from COVID in Louisiana in more than six months.”

It certainly seems, based on state data and timing, that LaToya Cantrell fabricated the claim that the COVID-19 Delta Variant killed a 2-week-old, a 2-year-old, and a 4-year-old as leverage to force more government control over the people and businesses of New Orleans.

Does it get any lower than lying about kids dying for an authoritarian power grab? You cannot make this up, as LaToya Cantrell said in her press conference. However, making up that “our children are dying” appears to be exactly what the mayor of New Orleans did on July 30, 2021.

What is the real story on COVID claiming the lives of Louisiana youth? If you piece together the state’s official story it goes like this:

  • One death 8/10/20 – LDH
  • Two pediatric deaths 9/1/21 – LDH
  • One pediatric death 9/17/21 – LDH
  • One pediatric death 9/22/21 – LDH
  • One pediatric death 10/1/21 – LDH
  • One pediatric death 10/4/21 – LDH
  • Three pediatric deaths 2/22/22 – LDH

A comprehensive review of the LDH’s reporting shows its information on this topic as unclear, incomplete, and questionable. The individual LDH releases only total 10 child COVID deaths while the department claims 21. If Governor Edwards is considered a reliable source, he stated on August 25, 2021, that the death of an infant was the first child COVID death in six months. Six months prior is February 25th. Piecing the official info from Louisiana together creates a large gap between August 11, 2020, and February 2021 as the time period in which nine child deaths went entirely unreported by LDH. The governor’s six-month window also disqualifies LaToya Cantrell’s claim on July 30, 2021, three children, 2 weeks old to four years old died from COVID’s Delta Variant.

The February 2022 news release said 21 Louisiana children have died from the pandemic and every media outlet parrots that information. Search for information on Louisiana child COVID deaths. The stories are all sourced by LDH. It appears that not a single media outlet has connected with one of these deaths.

In a LDH release on May 27, 2020, LDH warned about MIS-C in children being a high risk with COVID. That release stated that one young person died from MIS-C. It included the deterring comment, “To respect the privacy of the young person and their family, the Department of Health will not share additional information about the death at this time.” And apparently, since then, the Louisiana media has shown no interest in telling the story of the Louisiana youth whose lives were cut shorter by COVID.

If government officials truly wanted to make an impression on the public as to the risk of COVID19, pushing news coverage of these horrific stories of child loss would seem like a no-brainer. It’s bizarrely strange that with social media, cell phones, and the internet, the stories of these 10 to 21 families have not been reported. The journalists who attend regular press events must be disinterested in COVID-19 killing kids.

With social media and crowd funding, tragic deaths and losses of children usually result in GoFundMe accounts to help cover expense money for burial, medical bills, rent, etc. Yet the child COVID deaths seem oddly quiet. Each of these deaths are stories of pain, loss, and agony. The victims likely have family or friends who survived and know their stories, and if any read this, please reach out via Twitter or Facebook to help people understand more of the circumstances involving these horrific deaths.

Some may be appalled to discuss the topic of childhood death. Some may be turned off to review, critique, and challenge government figures of youth morbidity. But covering up or manipulating data around children’s health is evil and if that turns out to be the case, it must be exposed. The state information on child COVID deaths is sloppy and filled with errors. Did ten children die with COVID or did 21 die from COVID? Why won’t the state answer questions? Why do the numbers not add up? Hopefully public officials can clear some of this up, otherwise it calls into question all COVID data provided by the state of Louisiana.

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