"The hospital gets more money with COVID death than they do another death. I'm sure there's been a lot of that," said Nicklaus, an 18-time major championship winner. "I don't think the deaths are a correct number. I hate to say that."
As of writing, the COVID-19 death toll in the United States is pegged at 518,000.
A recent article published by Waking Times seemed to agree with Nicklaus.
"The number of COVID cases has been faked in various ways," the article said. "By far, the most extensive strategy is re-labeling. Flu is called COVID."
The 81-year-old Nicklaus and his wife, Barbara, both tested positive for COVID-19 in March last year. He experienced a sore throat and cough while Barbara was asymptomatic. He said the symptoms were gone in two days after he took hydroxychloroquine, which is normally used to prevent or treat malaria caused by mosquito bites. There was no way to know it now, but the result of their tests at the time might actually be false positive.
"Obtaining a false positive is as easy as pie," the article said. "All you have to do is run the test at more than 35 cycles. Most labs run the test at 40 cycles. A cycle is a quantum leap in magnification of the swab sample taken from the patient. When you run the test at more than 35 cycles, false positives come pouring out like water from a fire hose."
The article is essentially suggesting that a simple case of flu could end up as a case of COVID-19 on record.
"With ordinary flu symptoms plus a false positive PCR test…voila, you have a COVID case," the article said.
PCR test refers to polymerase chain reaction test, which is considered the "gold standard" in detecting SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19. The article went further to distinguish a flu case from other illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used to tell the press that 36,000 people in the United States die every year of the flu, but the article cited a report by researcher Peter Doshi to disprove that claim.
"[According to CDC statistics], 'influenza and pneumonia' took 62,034 lives in 2001 – 61,777 of which were attributable to pneumonia and 257 to flu, and in only 18 cases was the flu virus positively identified," Doshi stated in his report, which was published online by the British Medical Journal in December 2005.
The article noted that the CDC creates one overall category that combines both flu and pneumonia deaths. "The CDC disingenuously assumed the pneumonia deaths are complications stemming from the flu," the article said. That assumption was way off. As stated in Doshi's report, only 18 cases among the 62,034 deaths recorded under influenza and pneumonia revealed the presence of an influenza virus. It should be multiplied by 2,000 to reach the figure floated by the CDC.
That being the case, the article said: "We can now say: Many, many cases of FAKE FLU are being re-labeled FAKE COVID."
The article claimed that "the medical cartel markets huge numbers of so-called unique diseases – each disease with a purported specific cause: virus A, virus B, virus C."
For each disease, there must be some highly profitable drugs to cure it; and for each virus, there must be some highly profitable vaccines to fight it.
"When the time is right, the medical cartel can even claim a new germ is decimating the world, and they must 'destroy the village in order to save it,'" the article said.
To some extent, the medical community could actually make some money by re-labeling other illnesses with COVID-19. (Related: CDC chief admits hospitals have "perverse incentive" to inflate coronavirus deaths.)
Former Sen. Scott Jensen, a physician in Minnesota, claimed hospitals get paid more if Medicare patients are listed as having COVID-19 and get three times more money if they need a ventilator. His claim was published on April 9 last year by the Spectator, a conservative publication.
On April 19 last year, Jensen doubled down on his assertion via video on his Facebook page.
Jensen said: "Hospital administrators might well want to see COVID-19 attached to a discharge summary or a death certificate. Why? Because if it's a straightforward, garden-variety pneumonia that a person is admitted to the hospital for – if they're Medicare – typically, the diagnosis-related group lump sum payment would be $5,000. But if it's COVID-19 pneumonia, then it's $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000."
According to Jensen, his home state of Minnesota, as well as California, only list laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses. But some states, specifically New York, list all presumed cases, which is allowed under guidelines from the CDC as of mid-April last year and which will result in a larger payout.