COVID-19 death toll revised down in some counties by over 20 percent
Santa Clara, California, revised its COVID-19 death toll number down by 22% after refining its approach in reporting the data.
“It is important to go back and do this accounting to see if COVID was actually the cause of death,” said University of California San Francisco Prof. of Medicine and Infectious Disease expert Dr. Monica Gandhi. “It’s true that if we did this across the nation, it would bring our death rate lower. A downside of that could be that people will say, ‘Well, it wasn’t as serious as you said.’”
The new approach in counting COVID-19 deaths means that the official death toll in the county dropped by 22%, or from 2,201 to 1,696 deaths. Last month, Alameda County. California, health officials revised their approach to counting COVID-19 deaths, and the number dropped from 1,634 to 1,223 deaths.
Gandhi says she believes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon ask all counties nationwide to do the same revisions as Alameda and Santa Clara Counties and that the nation will see a drop in its COVID-19 death toll.
She also believes the revised death toll numbers will lead to more people wanting to get the vaccine. “Because a lot of people have kind of said, ‘I’ve heard people are dying anyway of COVID what’s the point?’ and it is very important to say, ‘No, did they die of COVID or were they in the hospital for something else and they died of that?” Gandhi said. “That helps people say, ‘Oh, the risk of breakthrough infection is so low I want to go ahead and get vaccinated.’ So I think it’s very good for vaccine hesitancy.”
The revised numbers of COVID-19 deaths come as the Biden administration announced new measures to encourage people to get the vaccine, including a “door to door” knocking campaign in some areas to inform those who have not yet been vaccinated about the safety of the vaccine.
The push to get more American’s vaccinated comes as the CDC is investigating possible connections between the vaccines and heart inflammation in younger adults who received two doses.