Johnson County medical examiner debunks rumor about COVID-19 deaths

Tracking Coronavirus

OLATHE, Kan. — There’s a rumor spreading across the 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 legend.

Dr. Diane Peterson said people have asked that if someone tests positive for the coronavirus and dies during a car crash, for example, 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 in Johnson County 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. 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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