US official tallies likely undercount deaths due to COVID-19 Study

WASHINGTON: Official tallies of deaths due to COVID-19 in the United States underestimated the full increase in deaths associated with the pandemic in many states, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Wednesday, found that the number of deaths due to any cause increased by approximately 122,000 from March 1 to May 30, which was 28 per cent higher than the reported number of COVID-19 deaths, Xinhua news agency reported.

To estimate the burden of all deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States from March to May, researchers evaluated the numbers of US deaths from any cause and deaths from pneumonia, influenza, and COVID-19.

Evaluating unexplained increases in deaths due to all causes or attributed to nonspecific outcomes, such as pneumonia and influenza, can provide a more complete picture of the burden of COVID-19, according to the study.

The number of excess all-cause deaths was 28 per cent higher than the official tallies of COVID-19-reported deaths during that period, the study found.

Excess deaths provided an estimate of the full COVID-19 burden and indicated that official tallies likely undercounted deaths due to the virus. The mortality burden and the completeness of the tallies varied markedly between states, according to the study.