By | Rachel Brooks
Staff | Telegraph Local
Above, an interview on CGTN America describes a new host of COVID-19 symptoms. As understanding of the virus grows, the impact of its expected mortality rate begins to be reassessed.
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention have dramatically increased their predictions of COVID-19 death tolls into the month of June. The CDC uses what is called National Center for Health Statistics’ National Vital Statistics System for mortality forecasting.
The CDC’s mortality forecasting handle states that they are using “new resources” to help monitor and report deaths. The CDC states explicitly that their death projections differ from other mortality forecasting data across a span of other institutes. The CDC has published an informational post entitled Understanding the Numbers: Provisional Death Counts and COVID-19. CDC states via this publication that the data collected for mortality forecasting retrieves data from death certificates which are sent to the National Center for Health Statistics on a daily basis.
The CDC’s self-reporting regarding the numbers may give some insight into why they are drastically higher now than they were before. It is not because the virus spread is necessarily growing worse. The CDC states that COVID-19 cases must be coded manually by a person and not electronically. Manual coding can take up to seven days, citing the “Understanding the Numbers” publication. Likewise, the CDC states that all of the states within the Union report their mortality cases at different intervals. Currently and estimated 63% of all U.S. deaths are reported to the NCHS within 10 days of the event. The CDC must also factor the numbers based on the time it takes for death certificates to file, and for data to be collected from key communities.
For all of the above reasons, the sudden spike of numbers may not reflect a sudden rise in cases, but rather may be increased due to a greater accuracy in the real number than the previously stated one.
The numbers that the CDC deals with are also understood not to be absolutes. The CDC has also filed information about “excess deaths” or those deaths that could be associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC monitors for a change between the percent excess. This percent excess is defined by dividing the number of excess deaths by the threshold deaths. This number is a visualization model to help doctors actualize the burden of mortality on the healthcare system. It is updated weekly. Excess deaths are defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths and those expected. By this logic, numbers of deaths may be higher or lower when the real observed deaths are compared to those that were expected.
This projection has come after the White House team held the University of Washington’s earlier model in favor. Other health metrics common relied upon include those of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
While shaded in uncertainty, the IHME COVID-19 health data from COVID19healthdata.org initially shows coronavirus deaths per day in the U.S. in decline over the month of June.
A follow up chart from the same data site shows the total number of COVID-19 deaths peaking on August 4, 2020. There will have been a total estimated 134,475 COVID-19 deaths at this date, by the current estimates of University of Washington. This is an increase from the initially stated 72,000. Citing Politico, there is a margin for error that puts the true number of expected fatal cases between 95,000 and 243,000.