Zero coronavirus deaths in New York? COVID-19 deaths highlight data gaps


NEW YORK CITY – As New York continues to make slow but steady progress in curbing the spread of COVID-19, it’s tempting to capture a small amount of good news, but it’s also important to remember that not all data is are not created in the same way.In a state where the coronavirus has already claimed more than 700 deaths a day, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement on Tuesday that only two deaths were reported statewide, none of which were residents of New York City , is an incredible stopover for the city.

New York has been considered the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic for months.

Hospitals were overwhelmed and freezer trucks were brought in to serve as temporary morgues as the city began to bury unclaimed remains on Hart Island. Some families say they have been misled by funeral homes about where their loved one’s body is being held.

Since March, more than 18,800 people in the city have died from COVID-19, and 4,624 more deaths are still under investigation, according to data from the city’s health department.

But while the state reported no deaths in the five districts on Monday, the city’s health department has already listed one confirmed death on the same date.

The difference is in the way the city and state collect data on the coronavirus.

The city’s health department even includes a warning on its online data portal warning readers that its death toll often differs from that of the state due to “differences in data collection.”

According to the warning, the state’s health department obtains its death data through the state’s hospital emergency response data system, in addition to daily records with hospitals and other facilities. long-term care.

The city’s health department surveillance database keeps track of its death reports. Deaths are also confirmed by the municipal office of the chief forensic pathologist and the Vital Statistics Office, which records, analyzes and reports on every death in the five boroughs.

“Due to the time required by the health department to confirm that a death was due to COVID-19, the total reported by the city for a given day is generally lower than the state number,” the portal says. city ​​DOH data.

The state’s health department and the governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment from PIX11 on the state’s COVID-19 death reports and the discrepancy in Monday’s data.

When a death is reported, sometimes within days of the person’s death, it can also lead to data change.

On July 13, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that there had been no coronavirus deaths in a 24 hour period and hailed the milestone as “a time to appreciate that each of you did so much. to get us to this point. ”

Preliminary data from the city’s health department indicated the period without deaths from COVID-19 was July 11, but a spokesperson warned the data was subject to change due to a delay in notification .

On July 14, a day after De Blasio’s announcement, the DOH reported at least four deaths from COVID-19 on July 11 and four more deaths were under investigation. On Wednesday, the city listed 13 coronavirus deaths on July 11 with two more deaths still under investigation.

And although those numbers pale in comparison to where New York City was in April and May, Cuomo said Tuesday that even two deaths were “two too many.”

The death toll rose further on Wednesday. Nine other people have died from the coronavirus, according to the state’s health department.

Statewide, more than 25,000 lives have been lost.


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