Johnson County Medical Examiner debunks urban legend about COVID-19 deaths

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OLATHE (WDAF) — There’s a rumor spreading across the Kansas City metro about COVID-19. So many people have heard it that the Johnson County Medical Examiner took time out of her day to debunk the urban legend.

Dr. Diane Peterson said people have asked that if someone tests positive for the coronavirus and dies while the virus is still active, the medical examiner’s office lists COVID as the cause of death. The rumor claims that’s why the number of people who’ve died from COVID-19 is so high.

“That is not true,” Peterson said during a Facebook live Wednesday morning. “A medical examiner is required to complete all non-natural death certificates. A private physician is not legally allowed to sign that death certificate and I can tell you there have been no traffic accidents in Johnson County where I have listed COVID on the death certificate.”

Different versions of the urban legend have popped up across the country. Dr. Peterson suggests that if you hear something from a friend of a friend on Facebook, you should probably investigate it a little more before believing it.

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