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U.S. COVID-19 Counts May Be Higher Than We Think They Are — Report

A new report details that the number of people who have contracted coronavirus, including the number of people who have died from the disease, may be much higher than the numbers being collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest they are.

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Reporting from BuzzFeed News suggests that doctors and nurses from across the country believe that the number of COVID-19 cases aren’t being reported accurately for a number of reasons, chief among them a lag in reporting the data directly to the CDC, as well as a lack in testing patients either before or after they have perished.

Presently, the method of collecting data is first collected by hospitals, then transmitted to county and state officials. From there, those officials send the numbers to the CDC. Doctors told BuzzFeed News that their actual totals aren’t being added up right.

“Those medical records aren’t being audited by anyone at the state and local level currently and some people aren’t even testing those people who are dead…I know for a fact that we’ve had three deaths in one county where only one is listed on the website,” one California doctor told the news organization.

Certain guidelines in a number of areas, meant to limit the amount of testing done in order to ensure testing kits do not run out, are also hampering the official count, some health professionals say. In Los Angeles and New York, for example, doctors are being told not to test individuals if doing so will not result in a different treatment outcome for them.

In other words, if a doctor or nurse suspects a patient may have coronavirus, then places them in a treatment plan for the disease, they may never get tested for it at all.

As of Wednesday evening, the official count of individuals who perished in the United States from COVID-19 surpassed 1,000, and as of Thursday morning, it was at 1,046 — expected to rise as numbers came in throughout the day. Nearly 70,000 individuals have been counted as having contracted the disease so far in the U.S.