An Oregon family is searching for answers after new testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that their son, once presumed to be the youngest COVID-19 victim in the state, did not actually have the virus.
What are the details?
Matthew Irvin, 26, died suddenly in early July after falling severely ill just a few days prior. At the time, state health officials said his death was likely the result of the coronavirus due simply to the fact that he displayed several of the symptoms.
According to KGW-TV, Irvin was listed as the state's youngest coronavirus victim.
"When including him in the death count, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) used information from Irvin's death certificate, which listed COVID-19 as a cause or significant condition contributing to his death," the news outlet said. "The state reports people who died from the disease and with the disease as the same thing. It says it's in line with national recommendations from the CDC."
But the family was always suspicious of the diagnosis. None of Irvin's co-workers, family members or roommates tested positive for the virus, the family said. A coronavirus test administered at the hospital during Irvin's emergency room visit came back negative, the outlet reported.
And now, according to the family and the state medical examiner's office, new CDC testing proves conclusively that he did not have the virus. After an independent autopsy came back inconclusive, the family sent a sample of Irvin's lung tissue to the health agency, and the CDC's examination showed no evidence of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, the Oregon Health Authority announced Irvin had been removed from the state's coronavirus death toll list.
The family said their experience could be just one example of many in the state where medical professionals and health officials got it wrong.
"They did blood tests and his white blood cell count was elevated so they said it looked COVID-like, basically," Irvin's mother, Kimberly Irvin, told the local news outlet. "From early on I felt that the COVID diagnosis was incorrect."
The family wanted an autopsy conducted immediately after his death, but the state medical examiner's office reportedly refused, saying it was understaffed. Yamhill County also refused to do an autopsy, the report noted.
"They didn't look at it differently. They assumed it was COVID and should have done an autopsy to find out why this young man died," said Irvin's stepfather, Michael Laheyne.
In search for answers, the family hired a private pathologist to conduct an autopsy. It came back inconclusive, the report stated, but the pathologist said Irvin's passing was related to a quickly progressing lung issue, and blood clots. It was also at this time that Irvin's lung tissue was sent to the CDC for testing.
Other stories about inaccurate coronavirus death toll listings have circulated since the beginning of the pandemic, raising speculation that the coronavirus numbers in America may be inflated.
TheBlaze has covered some of the inaccurate reporting in Florida, which allegedly include a 20-year-old who died in a motorcycle crash, a 60-year-old who died from a gunshot wound to his head, and a 77-year-old who died of Parkinson's disease.
Then, in late August, the CDC published a report stating that just 6% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. list the only cause of death as coronavirus without any other comorbidities.