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True death toll of coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. could be 'one and a half times higher,' new research shows

An analysis of federal data conducted by a research team led by the Yale School of Public Health found the United States recorded an estimated 37,100 excess deaths during the coronavirus pandemic throughout March and the first two weeks of April. That's nearly 13,500 more than are attributed to COVID-19 during that same period, The Washington Post reports.

The country passed 64,000 coronavirus deaths Friday, but Dan Weinberger, a Yale professor of epidemiology who led the analysis, said his team's estimates indicate the true toll could be "in the range of one and a half times higher." The analysis is based on death certificates compiled by states and sent to the National Center for Health Statistics, which often takes weeks to count a death, leading to a backlog of fatalities that eventually add to the toll at a later date.

While the estimates likely include deaths that were a direct result of unconfirmed COVID-19 cases, that's not necessarily the cause behind every excess fatality. Instead, people may have avoided going to hospitals when they otherwise would have for unrelated illnesses, or were unable to get proper treatment for other maladies because of overwhelmed health care systems. The one thing that Weinberg wants to make clear is that, either way, "people need to be aware that the data they're seeing on deaths is very incomplete." Read more at The Washington Post.