The Centers for Disease and Control updated its COVID-19 death statistics last week, revealing that the agency had included an additional 72, 277 deaths that should not have been counted as COVID-19 deaths.
The change impacted 26 states and all age groups. The CDC explained in a footnote that the overcount stemmed from a “coding logic error.”
“The CDC also noted that some jurisdictions also include probable COVID cases in their death count and that back in August, the data on COVID deaths was changed after they identified a data discrepancy,” The Daily Wire’s Mairead Elordi explained on Morning Wire. “So they’re pretty cryptic on what exactly these errors were and why they happened, but the end result is that COVID deaths were apparently significantly overcounted.”
With a total of about 969,000 deaths from COVID-19, the extra deaths compose about 7.5% of that number. 416 extra pediatric COVID-19 deaths also represent a significant revision from the initial data.
“The huge change in the pediatric death count drops the estimate of COVID deaths in children down to 1,341 nationwide. Children were about 19 percent of all COVID cases but only about a quarter of a percent of those cases were fatal,” Elordi explained, pointing to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Massachusetts lowered its death count by 3,700 while New York ended up increasing its share of COVID-19 nursing home deaths. In fact, an investigation from New York’s attorney general found that deaths in that state’s nursing homes may have been undercounted by as much as 50%.
Last week, CDC director Rochelle Walensky sent out a letter that referenced the agency’s Data Modernization Initiative, which is supposed to make the data it puts out more reliable and accurate.
The question of how to differentiate between many deaths were from COVID-19, and how many deaths were with COVID-19, still remains.
“The current standards still don’t clearly differentiate between patients who died with COVID verse died from COVID, or the degree to which COVID contributed to any given death. It’s possible we will see another downward revision as that reporting gets more granular,” Elordi explained.
This is not the first time that the CDC has faced criticism for its handling of the pandemic, and Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner in December substantiated a whistleblower’s claims about the CDC’s mishandling in both New York City and Atlanta in February and March 2020, were “reasonable.”
For example, the whistleblower alleged that public health workers were not properly trained when they assisted with the COVID-19 response at New York City’s JFK Airport in the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Wednesday’s episode of “Morning Wire,” and all episodes of “Morning Wire,” can be listened to here.