CDC: COVID-Involved Deaths Increased in Weeks Ending July 4 and July 11--But Still 77.5% Below April Peak

By Susan Jones | July 27, 2020 | 1:53pm EDT
A person undergoes a finger prick blood sample as part of a coronavirus antibody rapid serological test on July 26, 2020 in San Dimas, California. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
A person undergoes a finger prick blood sample as part of a coronavirus antibody rapid serological test on July 26, 2020 in San Dimas, California. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - After falling for ten straight weeks, COVID-involved deaths in the United States began rising again during the week that ended on July 4 and continued to rise in the week that ended on July 11, according to data published by the CDC.

However, even with the rising number of deaths in those two weeks--as counted by death certificates submitted to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics--the number of COVID-involved deaths in the week ending July 11 was still 77.5 percent below the mid-April peak.

In the week ending July 4, 3,689 people died from COVID-involved illness, a 9 percent increase from the 3,384 who died in the week ending June 27.

In the week ending July 11, the provisional COVID death count was 3,814, a 3.4 percent increase over the week ending July 4. 

But the 3,814 COVID-19-invovled deaths in the week ending on July 11 was 77.5 percent below the peak of 16,970 in the week that ended on April 18.

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The National Center for Health Statistics updated its provisional death count on July 27, and it will continue to update the provisional death numbers as more death certificates are filed in the days and weeks ahead.

"Provisional death counts deliver the most complete and accurate picture of lives lost to COVID-19," says NCHS. However, provisional counts are not final and are subject to change. Counts from previous weeks are continually revised as more records are received and processed.

CDC notes that when a person dies, the cause of death is determined by the physician, medical examiner, or coroner who reports it on the death certificate. States register all death certificates and send them to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, where they are used to produce the nation’s official death statistics.

"Provisional death counts may not match counts from other sources, such as media reports or numbers from county health departments, which "use different definitions or methods for counting deaths," says NCHS.  "Counts by NCHS often track 1-2 weeks or more behind other data."

July 11 is the most recent week to fall within the two-weeks-ago reporting period.

CDC explains the lag time this way:

-- Death certificates take time to be completed. Waiting for test results can create additional delays.

--States report at different rates. Currently, 63% of all U.S. deaths are reported within 10 days of the date of death, but there is significant variation between states.

--It takes extra time to code COVID-19 deaths. While 80% of deaths are electronically processed and coded by NCHS within minutes, most deaths from COVID-19 must be coded by a person, which takes an average of 7 days.

The first reported death from the virus was recorded in the week ending February 8. Since then, CDC attributes 134,245 deaths in this country to COVID-19, which has its own ICD-10 code. Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 are listed as ICD–10 code U07.1.

The recent uptick in COVID-involved deaths coincides with the rising number of diagnosed cases in this country.

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