The official counts of coronavirus dead are hard to fathom. Even so, they almost certainly underestimate COVID-19’s true death toll.
Public health experts have begun to notice that the number of Americans dying each day began to spike far before the first official coronavirus deaths were recorded. And the spike is much higher than official coronavirus death counts can account for. But behind the numbers, there are lots of reasons to believe we’re undercounting the dead.
One is testing. In the early days of the epidemic in America, people were dying while doctors didn’t know to look for coronavirus. And that means they were likely never tested.
In other cases, coronavirus can kill without being the obvious cause of death. Heart attacks and strokes may have coronavirus as their root cause but never get recorded that way. Some states require a confirmed test to count coronavirus as the cause of death. Others don’t.
The bottom line, according to public health experts, is that the grim figures we’re seeing every day are better than the truth.
Cover: Dr. Fauci leaves a press briefing. (VICE News Tonight/VICE TV)