Just a day after New York City health officials added more than 4,000 new “presumed” – but untested – COVID-19 deaths to their city's official body count, spiking NYC's coronavirus death toll to over 11,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced their national COVID-19 death tally will now also reflect thousands of “probable” coronavirus-related fatalities.
These new “presumed” cases will include deaths that “meets clinical criteria such as symptoms and evidence of the disease with no lab test confirming Covid-19,” CNN reports. In other words, if a person’s symptoms and medical history suggest they may have died from the coronavirus, they’ll be lumped in as a COVID-19 fatality, despite having never tested positive for the disease.
After New York City added more than 4,000 “presumed” coronavirus deaths to their total, Mayor Bill De Blasio justified the move as “honest,” “smart and really fair.”
"The fact is, we have to be honest and always acknowledge the full impact," Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN. "We think it is smart and really fair to those families and to everyone to say, look, a lot of these deaths...the medical professionals, they couldn't confirm it was Covid because there wasn't time do a test but they thought that's what it was."
The change is expected to add thousands of deaths to the national total, which federal, state and local leaders have pointed to as justification for enacting draconian restrictions on businesses, travel, shopping and “social distancing.” SO far, the CDC puts the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. at around 24,600, while the Johns Hopkins total has surpassed 28,300 as of Thursday morning.