Special Report

How COVID-19 Deaths Continue to Be Underreported in Every State

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of well over 100,000 Americans. Yet there may be many more deaths from the virus that have gone uncounted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that from March 7 to July 4, 151,731 more Americans died than would normally be expected for this time period, based on recent historical mortality data. Of those deaths, 120,300 were confirmed to be related to COVID-19, leaving more than 31,000 excess deaths that are unaccounted for, which may or may not have been related to the coronavirus. This could possibly mean that, in some states, COVID-19 deaths have not been properly classified as COVID-19 deaths.

In 41 states, the number of reported COVID-19 deaths account for more than half of excess deaths since the pandemic. In nine states, the number of COVID-19 deaths comprise less than half of all excess deaths during this time, potentially severely undercounting COVID-19 fatalities.

It is likely that not all unaccounted deaths are directly due to COVID-19, though some may be indirectly related. A Census Bureau survey from June found that 41.5% of U.S. adult respondents said that they had delayed getting medical care because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the last four weeks — whether because they feared contracting the virus or because could not afford treatment after losing their job and employer-based health insurance. In some states, nearly half of all adults postponed care due to COVID-19 concerns. These are the states where the most people delayed getting medical care because of COVID-19 concerns.

Click here to see how COVID-19 deaths continue to be underreported in every state.
Click here for our detailed methodology.