According to a new study, the death toll from New York City’s Coronavirus infections may be higher than reported by health officials.
The findings, presented at the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston on Tuesday, suggest the real count may be approximately 250 deaths, 15 percent higher than previously reported.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on April 30 found that none of the 20 people with confirmed cases of the respiratory illness, which is not found anywhere in the United States, had died.
“Among these 20 cases, 16 confirmed deaths have been documented, but the official number is 20,” said study author Theodore Gorn, a professor at University of New Mexico, in an interview with TechCrunch. “So a bad number, but if we really did get rid of all cases for the rest of the year that number would only go down to 8.”
The article that Gorn published suggests that there is something “very strange” about the way that New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has been counting fatalities. New York has been counting the deaths differently from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to the study.
“[The WHO] takes a very different approach to what the NYC DOHMH, DCMO and CDC had done,” Gorn said. “The WHO looks at numbers reported by local and state health departments and then looks at other news sources [such as newspapers].”
Because of this method, the WHO’s count could be nearly double the actual number of dead, according to Gorn.
A spokesman for the city’s health department told TechCrunch that it has made an “aggressive” effort to track New York City’s remaining three confirmed cases.
“We have made an aggressive effort to track and follow these three cases to ensure that proper follow-up was done and these patients continue to receive the critical care they need,” said a city health department spokesman, in an email to TechCrunch. “The city’s death rate is four times that of Haiti’s and is higher than that of Central America’s.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in June 2017 that the virus that causes Coronavirus (CVM) is causing nearly 80 deaths in the Middle East.