On Thursday, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) acknowledged that an automated error had mistakenly attributed hundreds of deaths to the China-originated novel coronavirus that were not directly linked to the virus, adding that the department has revised the death count accordingly.
“DSHS corrects COVID-19 fatality counts for the week of July 27,” the department announced in a tweet Thursday. “An automation error caused 225 fatalities to be included even though COVID-19 was not listed as a direct cause of death on the death certificate.”
The post linked to the Texas coronavirus dashboard, which displays the following correction:
July 30: Cumulative fatalities have been corrected for July 27, 28 and 29. As DSHS shifted to using death certificate data to count fatalities this week, an automation error caused approximately 225 fatalities to be included that did not have COVID-19 listed as a direct cause of death. A manual quality check revealed the issue late Wednesday.
DSHS corrects COVID-19 fatality counts for the week of July 27.
An automation error caused 225 fatalities to be included even though COVID-19 was not listed as a direct cause of death on the death certificate. #COVID19TX dashboard: https://t.co/ofycOLqWQZ pic.twitter.com/4mKBzjIrfO
— Texas DSHS (@TexasDSHS) July 30, 2020
On Friday, coronavirus task force members, including leading White House voice Dr. Anthony Fauci and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield, testified before the House Select Subcommittee concerning the virus and the nation’s strategy.
Dr. Fauci said he’s hopeful a “safe and effective” vaccine will be available for Americans by the late fall or early winter, USA Today reported.
In prepared remarks, Redfield advised Americans to get a flu shot this year.
“If there is COVID-19 and flu activity at the same time, this could place a tremendous burden on the health care system related to bed occupancy, laboratory testing needs, personal protective equipment and health care worker safety,” he said.
Earlier this month, Redfield promoted the general reopening of schools during a Buck Institute Webinar streamed on July 14. The CDC director highlighted the low coronavirus risk for children without preexisting conditions and the unfortunate spike in suicides and drug overdoses, which Redfield said are “far greater” in number than COVID-linked deaths in the young.
“It’s not risk of school openings versus public health. It’s public health versus public health,” asserted Redfield.
“When we look at, right now, the mortality of this particular COVID virus, in the first almost 218,000 people we looked at February to July, there was 52 individuals under the age of 18,” the director explained. “And if I recollect, about 35 were actually school age. Some of them were younger than school age. We’re looking critically at those individuals. And, you know, clearly, there’s an increase in comorbidities related to significant medical conditions…”
“But I think that’s important because what that means, actually, is the risk per 100,000, so far, you know, into the outbreak, six months into it, is, in fact, that we’re looking at about .1 per 100,000,” he said. “So another way to say that, it’s one in a million.”
“Now, I’m not trying to belittle that,” emphasized Redfield, “I’m just trying to make sure we look at it proportional. Because if you do the same thing for influenza deaths for school-age children over the last five years, they’re anywhere from five to 10 times greater.”