On a Fox News segment in April 2020, Dr. Scott Jensen made claims about the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on completing death certificates, issued on April 3rd, 2020.

“The determination of the cause of death is a big deal. It has impact on estate planning, it has impact on future generations… The idea that we’re going to allow people to massage and game the numbers is a real issue because we’re going to undermine the trust”

Dr. Scott Jensen

Here is the CDC guidance in question. It states:

“In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID–19 cannot be made, but it is suspected or likely (e.g., the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty), it is acceptable to report COVID–19 on a death certificate as ‘probable’ or ‘presumed.’ In these instances, certifiers should use their best clinical judgement in determining if a COVID–19 infection was likely. However, please note that testing for COVID–19 should be conducted whenever possible.”

Vital Statistics Reporting Guidance, Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The language in the guidance to only list the death as “probable” or “presumed” in the absence of a test – and only when evidence is compelling – may be conservative enough to prevent over-reporting of coronavirus cases.

Verdict: Mostly False

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