Undercounting Covid-19 Deaths?
These figures indicate that we are experiencing a serious global health crisis that is, empirically, a deviation from the norm.
As I noted the other day, there are reasons to think that deaths from Covid-19 are being undercounted. The reasons for this include lack of testing, but also just the fact that when people die there are often multiple possible causes (hence the discussion of “flu-related death”) and classification can be complicated (especially with a new disease).
The NYT has some numbers that suggest, yes, there are some missing numbers from the official counts: 28,000 Missing Deaths:
Tracking the True Toll of the Coronavirus Crisis.
At least 28,000 more people have died during the coronavirus pandemic over the last month than the official Covid-19 death counts report, a review of mortality data in 11 countries shows — providing a clearer, if still incomplete, picture of the toll of the crisis.
In the last month, far more people died in these countries than in previous years, The New York Times found. The totals include deaths from Covid-19 as well as those from other causes, likely including people who could not be treated as hospitals became overwhelmed.
New York City alone accounts for 4,000 of the deaths in question.
The article has graphs and data, which I recommend. Clearly something is going on and runs counter to the “we are over-counting the deaths” hypothesis that some are promoting.
It is certainly possible that some of these deaths are the result of causes other than Covid-19, but are related to the pandemic because of lack of access to other medical services or people failing to seek medical help due to fear of contracting the virus.
It is unusual for mortality data to be released so quickly, demographers say, but many countries are working to provide more comprehensive and timely information because of the urgency of the coronavirus outbreak. The data is limited and, if anything, excess deaths are underestimated because not all deaths have been reported.
At a minimum, these figures indicate that we are experiencing a serious global health crisis that is, empirically, a deviation from the norm.