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An amazing wave of New Yorkers dying in their homes suggests the city is counting coronavirus deaths

If you die from the corona virus at home, there is a good chance that you will not be included in the official death toll due to a discrepancy in the reporting process in New York City.

The problem means that the official number of deaths in the city, according to health authorities, is likely to be far below the actual number of victims claimed by the virus.

This also means that victims without access to tests are not counted and even epidemiologists do not have a thorough understanding of the pandemic.

According to the city’s Department of Health, 2,738 New York City residents died from “confirmed” cases of COVID-19 on Monday afternoon. That’s an average of 245 a day since last Monday.

But now another 200 city dwellers are dying at home every day, compared to 20 to 25 pre-pandemic deaths, said Aja Worthy-Davis, a spokeswoman for the doctor̵

7;s office. And an immeasurable number of them are unconfirmed.

Listen to reporter Gwynne Hogan discussing her story on WNYC:

This is because the ME office does not test corpses on COVID-19. Instead, they refer suspected cases to the city’s health department as “likely”.

“When someone dies at home and we go home and there [are] For signs of influenza, our medical examiner can conclude that the cause of death was clearly an influenza-like disease, possibly COVID, or an influenza-like disease that is believed to be COVID, ”said Worthy-Davis. “We report all of our deaths across the city to the Health Department, which makes this data available to the public.”

But the health agency doesn’t include this number in the official count unless it is confirmed, a spokesman said.

“Every person with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis is counted in the number of deaths,” spokesman Michael Lanza said in an email. He said the city’s coronavirus death count doesn’t break down who died at home or who died of the virus in a hospital.

“While undiagnosed home-related deaths are linked to a public health pandemic, not all suspected COVID-19 deaths are investigated by OCME, and we do not offer tests for most of these natural ones Deaths at home, “said Lanza.

When someone dies at home, a relative, acquaintance, or neighbor usually calls the police or 911. First responders call the medical examiner who will check to see if the game is bad and then write down the cause of death.

Worthy-Davis was unable to determine immediately how many “likely” COVID-19 deaths had been referred to the health department. The health agency was also unable to report the number of “likely” COVID deaths certified by OCME.

If a person had been tested before death, that record would be shared, Worthy-Davis said. However, test protocols generally excluded victims who were not hospitalized.

Fire department statistics operated by EMS confirm an astonishing increase in on-site deaths before first aiders can take a person to hospital for treatment.

The FDNY reported responding to 2,192 home deaths, or approximately 130 deaths per day, between March 20 and April 5, an increase of almost 400 percent over the same period last year. (In 2019, according to FDNY, there were only 453 cardiac arrest calls in which one patient died.)

This number has increased steadily since March 30th. 241 New Yorkers died at home on Sunday – more than the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths that occurred across the city that day. On Monday evening, the city reported 266 new deaths, indicating the possibility of a 40% outnumber of corona virus-related deaths.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio made no request to comment on the difference between probable and confirmed deaths from COVID-19. But the discrepancy worried health officials and local elected officials.

“There is no doubt that we are counting,” said City Councilor Mark Levine, chairman of the city’s health committee. “If the person had a confirmed test result before death, they were identified on the death certificate as the cause of death. If someone has not had a confirmed test, but appears to have had symptoms, OCME will mark them as “possible”. [COVID death]. It is unclear to me whether these are taken into account in our overall statistics. “

Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Reduction, described the discrepancy as “a subset of the entire test fiasco.” He said the city should test corpses and report the results.

“This difference between that [Medical Examiner] and the health department, which has to be resolved urgently, is not okay, ”said Redlener. “You have to be on the same side.”

Redlener said the city should also pursue other deaths that occur as collateral damage.

“[People] Redlener said he may die due to limited care with other non-COVID conditions, such as diabetes, heart attack, or other chronic conditions. “Those for me should be counted somehow when we look at the death toll from COVID.”

In the meantime, the morgues and refrigerated vehicles of the city and hospital where they are being added are approaching capacity, and first responders continue to answer an unprecedented number of emergency calls every day. According to union officials, there have been an average of more than 6,400 a day in the past 11 days, compared to 4,500 before the pandemic.

To reduce pressure on hospitals, the council overseeing the emergency services last week urged the paramedics and emergency workers to try to resuscitate a person whose heart stopped beating on the field. If this is not possible, the person will not be taken to hospital for further treatment.

“We had a lieutenant on his 16-hour tour who responded to 11 cardiac arrests, which is more than unusual,” said Michael Greco, vice president of Local 2507, the union that represents the fire and emergency services. On Sunday, they made 187 cardiac arrest calls to try to resuscitate local people. They used to get 20 of them a day, he said.

“None of us were trained to do this,” he said. “None of us signed up for it.”

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