NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged Wednesday that the city’s official coronavirus statistics have missed hundreds of people who died at home without ever being tested for the virus, and said the city would start including such victims in its COVID-19 tally.
“The blunt truth is coronavirus is driving these very tragic deaths,” de Blasio said on CNN’s “New Day.” He added, “We’re not talking about, you know, 10 people, 20 people. We’re talking about something like 100, 200 people per day.”
The city’s Fire Department has recorded as many as 200 deaths at home daily in recent weeks, far more than the average 25 deaths at home before the pandemic.
City health officials reported 3,544 deaths from COVID-19 as of late Tuesday, a number that includes only people who were tested and found to have been infected with the coronavirus and not those who died at home without a test.
De Blasio said the city would start including those deaths in its count. Speaking on Fox 5’s “Good Day New York,” he said, “What I’ve said to our health care experts is we should just acknowledge this is overwhelmingly being driven by the coronavirus. Not every death but clearly the vast majority are related to the coronavirus. We should count them as part of the overall very painful count.”
De Blasio also acknowledged that people of color have been disproportionately hit by the virus and said he would address the issue in detail later Wednesday. “The kind of health disparities that we’ve known for too long clearly are evidenced in this crisis,” he said on Fox 5.