The World Health Organization (WHO) created a very broad definition of what is considered to be a “COVID death”, and this definition was adopted worldwide. According to their definition, a COVID death is one where a person had a confirmed or suspected case of COVID at any time, prior to death. This means that what is reported as a COVID death may have another cause, like cancer or a heart condition. Nevertheless, if the hospital suspects COVID, or if the patient tested positive, even when no COVID symptoms are present, it is recorded as a COVID death. By mid-April 2020 nearly 37% of COVID deaths in New York City were “presumptive” COVID deaths.
According to a UK study over the summer of 2020, nearly a third of all deaths recorded as COVID did not have COVID as an “underlying cause of death”. That figure appears to be consistent with other time periods as well. In addition, once COVID was recorded as a reason for death on the death certificate, it could not be rescinded, even if it was in error. Meanwhile, in the USA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that only about 6% of COVID deaths had no comorbidity. This means that 94% of COVID deaths had additional contributing causes of death listed on the death certificate.
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