The official coronavirus death toll in the US much lower than the actual number of fatalities, a new study suggests.
Between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020, about 95,235 deaths were attributed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Researchers from Yale School of Public Health found fatalities that occurred this year were about more than 122,000 higher than in the previous few years, which is about
Of those deaths, more than 95,000 were attributed to COVID-19, the highly-infectious disease caused by the virus.
This means deaths was 28 percent higher than officially tally and that suggests health officials may have missed up to 27,000 excess deaths caused by the virus as of late May.
The team also found that in New York City, more than three times as many people passed away as normally do during the three-month window, with only 26 percent unattributed to COVID-19.
Between March 1, 2020 and May 30, 2020, 95,235 deaths were attributed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Pictured: Dead bodies are loaded onto a truck outside Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City, March 31
The number of ‘excess’ deaths from any causes was 122,300 (in gray), about 28 percent higher than the official coronavirus death count
Excess deaths are defined as over and above the number of people who would have died anyway – the typical mortality rate of a population.
‘Our analyses suggest that the official tally of deaths due to COVID-19 represent a substantial undercount of the true burden,’ lead author Dr Dan Weinberger, an epidemiologist at Yale School of Public Health told CNBC.
For the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the team analyzed all cause deaths from March 1 through May 30, 2020, using data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Next, researchers compared the numbers with deaths that occurred over the same period in previous years.
They found that 781,000 total Americans died from all causes during the three-month time period, about 19 percent higher than what is typically seen.
In New York, for example, an estimated 13,000 residents typically die between March 1 and May 30.
However, during this time period in 2020, officials recorded 38,170, about three times as many deaths as usual.
A mere quarter of these deaths, 26 perc
Between those months, 95,235 deaths were linked to coronavirus across the country.
However, based on calculations of deaths, compared to previous years, 122,300 excess deaths occurred during this period, about 28 percent higher than the official country.
This means that health officials likely missed 27,000 deaths linked to the virus, and making the death toll much higher than previously believed.
There are some limitations to the study. One is that total death data wasn’t available from a few states, including Connecticut and North Carolina.
Additionally, the authors made adjustments to their model accounting for delays in reporting deaths and those that went unconfirmed.
Weinberger told Gizmodo there could be other causes behind the rise in deaths, such as people who avoided seeking urgent medical care for fear of contracting COVID-19 in emergency room.
However, he believes the main driver was the virus itself.
‘There have certainly been increases in deaths due to heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s, and some of these could be linked to avoiding emergency healthcare,’ he told the website.
‘I think the increases related to lockdown measures are small compared to the increases caused directly by COVID-19.
‘A number of states that implemented lockdown measures but had small epidemics of COVID-19 in March-May had little excess death.’