Coronavirus numbers miss some deaths, experts warn. Here’s why

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Directly and indirectly, the novel coronavirus is killing more people than are showing up in official statistics, epidemiologists warn.

Part of the problem is related to how deaths are accounted for, they say.

Some deaths, like a healthy person who dies in a traffic accident, are simple to classify, and others, like someone with serious health issues who dies with the coronavirus, are not.

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“When somebody dies, it should be straightforward in terms of assigning the cause of their death,” says University of Toronto epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite. “But it actually can be kind of complicated.”

“You can have somebody with an underlying condition who dies, and they have a COVID infection, the question is: did they die of COVID, or did they die of their underlying condition? That attribution can be a little bit less objective than you might expect it to be.”

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A similar problem complicates trying to count deaths from influenza,

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