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Cuomo Admin. Undercounted Thousands of Covid Deaths

THE NEW YORK TIMES – For more than a year since the coronavirus outbreak, New York State officials have stuck with an approach that has allowed the state to report a lower and incomplete death toll.

The number of deaths reported on the state’s online dashboard, and during Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s numerous coronavirus briefings, only includes people who died at hospitals, nursing homes and adult-care facilities, but not at home or prisons, for example.

The toll also includes only deaths that were confirmed with a coronavirus test by a lab.

New York’s methodology differs from that of many other states, as well as the federal government’s National Center for Health Statistics, which uses more precise criteria to assemble state-by-state death tolls, relying on death certificates submitted by state health departments.

“Revelations that Cuomo officials undercounted the deaths of thousands of nursing home residents, as Mr. Cuomo wrote and promoted a book about his leadership during the crisis last year, have led to calls for his resignation and the threat of impeachment.”

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Now, the effect of New York’s more constrained count has begun to show.

The state’s official coronavirus death toll as of Wednesday was about 43,000, compared with the death toll of more than 54,000 compiled by the N.C.H.S., a subdepartment of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York is not alone: At least half of states, including big states like California and Texas, have publicly reported a lower number of deaths than the N.C.H.S. for different reasons.

But other states with lower death tolls were below the N.C.H.S. number by about 3,000 or fewer; nowhere is the gap between the reported deaths larger than the 11,000-death discrepancy in New York, according to a New York Times analysis.

The disparity in the death tolls underscores the lasting and painful difficulties of accounting for the full scope of coronavirus fatalities, even as much of the government’s response has turned toward expanding the vaccine rollout and the nation’s economic reopening and recovery.

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But the wide variance in New York also comes as Mr. Cuomo is facing a series of state and federal investigations … Click here to read more (subscription may be required). 

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