On Tuesday, April 14, health officials for New York City revised the total number of deaths from SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) complications to include anyone from March 11 through April 13 who died in hospitals with symptoms that suggested the virus was the cause even without positive test results. The revised number, 3,778, has increased the total number for the city to 10,367 even though state officials still only count 6,589 deaths.
These numbers reveal a truth that many doctors and others have been concerned about for weeks: States have been under-reporting the number of COVID-19 deaths.
In some cases, as seen with the 3,778, under-reporting occurred because patients with symptoms weren’t tested. Typically, the problem was a lack of test kits and rapid results and the surge of patients. Additionally, there has been no federal guidance on how to count those who died with easily recognized COVID-19 symptoms at home, on their way to a hospital or at a hospital, but whose deaths were attributed to other conditions like influenza, heart attacks, and strokes.
Police and other first responders have witnessed an incredibly high increase in at-home deaths since March. These deaths were attributed to other conditions, but many medical officials nationwide have revealed that this coronavirus can cause outcomes, such as heart attacks and strokes, as it puts a strain on the body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that death certificates now state “assumed” or “probable” coronavirus infection when applicable.