May 11, 2020 - Health

CDC finds 5,000 more deaths in NYC than official coronavirus toll

Two people with the brroklyn bridge in the background

Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

About 24,000 more people died in New York City from March 11 through May 2 than would normally be expected by researchers, suggesting that the coronavirus death toll may be significantly higher than the state's official tally of nearly 19,000, according to data released Monday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The more than 5,000 "excess deaths" reflect the difficulty of accurately capturing the coronavirus death toll, which many experts believe is being undercounted globally.

  • Deaths of people with chronic health problems closely associated with coronavirus fatalities like heart disease, respiratory conditions or diabetes “might not be recognized as being directly attributable to COVID-19,” per the report.
  • “Excess deaths refer to the number of deaths above expected seasonal baseline levels, regardless of the reported cause of death," the report says.

Between the lines: Some of these deaths could be also a result of delays in people seeking critical care due to shutdowns and other byproducts of the pandemic. The Washington Post has reported that in virus hotspots around the world, there is a "silent sub-epidemic of people who need care at hospitals but dare not come in."

Go deeper: New York to open certain low-risk businesses statewide this week

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