For more than a year since the coronavirus outbreak, New York State officials have stuck with an approach that has allowed the state to report a lower and incomplete death toll.
The number of deaths reported on the state’s online dashboard, and during Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s numerous coronavirus briefings, only includes people who died at hospitals, nursing homes and adult-care facilities, but not at home or prisons, for example. The toll also includes only deaths that were confirmed with a coronavirus test by a lab.
New York’s methodology differs from that of many other states, as well as the federal government’s National Center for Health Statistics, which uses more precise criteria to assemble state-by-state death tolls, relying on death certificates submitted by state health departments.
Now, the effect of New York’s more constrained count has begun to show: The state’s official coronavirus death toll as of Wednesday was about 43,000, compared with the death toll of more than 54,000 compiled by the N.C.H.S., a subdepartment of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…
“With regards to deaths, the gold standard is the death certificate,” said Bob Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at the N.C.H.S. “The reporting in the permanent record will be from the death certificates and that will be true for New York and for the United States.e said a death would be added to the official tally “if the death certificate says the death was caused by Covid-19, or Covid-19 was a significant factor.” [Note that he is misspeaking–the instructions from Anderson’s office say that a death will be counted as a Covid death if Covid is mentioned on the death certificate. I have quoted the precise language used about 6 months ago.]