May 11, 2020 - Health

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

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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Updated 17 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

19 hours ago - Health

HHS requests data on race and ethnicity with coronavirus test results

A nurse writes a note as a team of doctors and nurses performs a procedure on a coronavirus patient in the Regional Medical Center on May 21 in San Jose, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

The long journey to herd immunity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sought-after state of herd immunity — in which widespread outbreaks are prevented because enough people in a community are immune to a disease — is complicated by open questions about the effectiveness of a future vaccine and how COVID-19 spreads.

Why it matters: Unless a sufficient level of immunity is achieved in the population, the coronavirus could circulate indefinitely and potentially flare up as future outbreaks.