New York City struggles to get accurate fatality count as more people die at home

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Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks as the Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort arrives in Manhattan’s Pier 90 to help relieve the strain on local hospitals with its 1,000 beds and 1,200 personnel during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in New York City.

Ron Adar | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

New York City is struggling to get an accurate count of the number of Covid-19 fatalities as more people die at home and some likely coronavirus deaths are attributed to heart attacks and other causes, Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged Wednesday.

On Tuesday, New York City officials said they would begin counting “probable” Covid-19 deaths, which are people “who had no known positive laboratory test,” but are believed to have died due to Covid-19. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene estimates that there have been 3,778 probable Covid-19 deaths since March 11 that weren’t previously counted in the city’s official tally. There have been 6,589 confirmed Covid-19 deaths in New York City so far. 

“I want the whole truth out. Wherever the facts take us, I want the whole truth out,” de Blasio said Wednesday at a news briefing. “Absolutely, I believe there are more people who died because of Covid-19, in one way or another, because of something that happened to them related to Covid-19.”

NYC Health Department Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said most people who have died from Covid-19 were diagnosed in hospitals. However, the city has seen more deaths at home than would normally been expected, Barbot said.

Barbot said the city has compared “the number of deaths during that same time period in the previous year and what we find is that there are roughly 3,000 deaths above what would have been anticipated.”

This is breaking news. Check back here for updates. 

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