Recent investigative reports are suggesting that a discrepancy in New York’s death tally might mean that even more people have died from COVID-19. The discrepancy comes after revelations that the bodies of those who have died at home prior to a COVID-19 test are not subsequently tested for the disease, thus making it unknown exactly how many coronavirus deaths that have occurred in New York.
When investigating at-home deaths, the New York Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) screens for influenza and COVID-19 causes and then reports their findings to the city’s public health officials. However, the New York Health Department has neglected the inclusion of this figure in cases where a coronavirus related death is yet unconfirmed.
“Not all suspected COVID-19 deaths are brought in for examination by OCME, nor do we provide testing in most of these natural at-home deaths,” OCME spokesperson Michael Lanza said.
According to the Fire Department of New York, who deploy EMS services, there has been an approximate 400 percent increase in at-home deaths coinciding with the COVID-19 outbreak in New York compared to March and April of 2019.
When pressed for a tally of “probable” if unconfirmed at-home COVID-19 deaths, the OCME were unable to provide such data.
On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported 721 deaths the previous day, marking the highest increase in deaths in the city over a single day. Of the over 4,700 coronavirus deaths that have occurred in New York, 86 percent of fatalities occurred in cases where the individuals had hypertension and/or diabetes.
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