Behind Closed Doors: The Frightening Fact of the US Undercounted COVID-19 Deaths! 

COVID-19 deaths in the United States have been under-reported as a new recent research paper has just published.
COVID-19 deaths in the United States have been under-reported as a new recent research paper has just published.

United States: Analysis by scientists from the US shows a probability of the COVID-19 death count being underestimated by a factor of 5 in the official statistics for the first 30 months of the pandemic. 

Collaborating with colleagues from Boston University, the University of Pennsylvania, and other institutions, the demographer and sociologist from the University of Minnesota, Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, estimated the fatality figures starting from March 2020 to August 2022 and compared them to the number of deaths from natural causes that have exceeded the historical trends, as MPR News reported. 

The team’s peer-review findings are published in the Proceedings of the United States Academy of Sciences. 

Underestimation of COVID-19 deaths 

Wrigley-Field said most of the 1.2 million excess deaths were attributed to COVID in that period. Accounts for around 163,000 were unsampled, and most of them seemed to be pandemic-related ones as these have a positive correlation with infection surge peaks. 

she said, “This shows us how we underestimated surges as they were beginning,” and, “And so people were already dying in pretty large numbers often before there was a social and institutional recognition that COVID is surging. That matters because a lot of us adjusted our behavior based on what we thought was happening.” 

In Wrigley-Field’s view, many deaths that happened at the beginning of a surge may not be attributed to CVOlD because by that time, those tasked with determining the cause of death, were unaware that a surge was taking place and they did not test for COVID-19. 

Wrigley-Field added further, “Most of the excess deaths happen at home, so it’s not like a hospital where you’d be routinely tested for COVID,” and, “It’s people dying at home in a context where their families don’t know there’s a COVID surge, the coroner doesn’t know there’s a COVID surge. It hasn’t been recognized yet,” as MPR News reported. 

Which part of the US shows greater discrepancies? 

Wrigley-Field explained her team discovered the greatest underrating in the southern and western parts of the United States and the counties outside of the metropolitan, however, they did not try to dig deeper to find the reasons for the statistical discrepancies. 

She said, “The U.S. has this really patchwork and decentralized death reporting system where who is responsible for deciding the causes of death is really different in different places,” and, “Sometimes it’s a medical examiner who has training. Sometimes it’s potentially someone with no training and no medical background.” 

Reseasons for discrepancies 

On the contrary, the researchers likewise determined that the COVID-19 mortalities reported in the northeastern United States were higher than the estimates of excess deaths caused by nature. 

Wrigley-Field stated that it’s likely that some deaths in that region due to respiratory syndrome were wrongly attributed to COVID-19, and that the social distancing and other precautions prevented the people from dying of influenza and other respiratory diseases, as reported by MPR News. 

In addition, the state’s COVID deaths lined up with the count of excess deaths. 

Collecting accurate data is vital – Experts 

According to her, collecting accurate data is key to saving lives during pandemics. 

She said, “People talk about pandemic preparedness and disaster preparedness, but a part we don’t talk about enough is getting our cause of death reporting to be better in the United States so that we have more accurate information in real-time about what people are dying of.”