SAN JOSE SPOTLIGHT – Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 death toll dropped by 22% this month.
That’s not a mistake—last Friday, county health officials announced a narrower criteria for deaths attributable to COVID-19, which excluded about 500 fatalities previously attributed to the disease.
A similar change took place in neighboring Alameda County last month, when officials updated their COVID-19 death definitions.
Alameda County’s death toll from the virus fell from 1,634 to 1,223 once data was adjusted.
Santa Clara County used to count COVID-19 deaths by including anyone who died while infected with the disease, even if it was not the cause or a contributing cause.
For example, an individual who died in a car collision but had COVID-19 at the time would count as a “COVID-19 death.”
With the updated definition, the coronavirus has to be listed on an individual’s death certificate as at least part of the cause of death.
The preliminary Santa Clara County COVID-19 death count before the adjustment was 2,201 deaths. Once revised, that number dropped by 22% to 1,698.
Questions about the accuracy of the COVID-19 death count became the stuff of conspiracy theories early in the pandemic.
Popular theories claimed that doctors and hospitals over-counted deaths to receive additional insurance benefits and profit from the pandemic.
“The suggestion that doctors—in the midst of a public health crisis—are over-counting COVID-19 patients or lying to line their pockets is a malicious, outrageous and completely misguided charge,” said American Medical Association President Dr. Susan R. Bailey … Click here to read more.