The county of California reduced the number of COVID-19 deaths by about 25 percent after determining that some deaths were not a “direct result” of the virus.
Alameda County revised the total number of deaths caused by the coronavirus to 1223, compared to 1634.
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County officials decided to revise the numbers to bring them into line with the California Department of Public Health guidelines on how to classify deaths. Previously, the county included deaths of anyone infected with the virus, whether COVID-19 was a direct or contributing cause of death.
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Neetu Balram, a public health spokeswoman for Alameda County, said some of the deaths were “apparently not caused by COVID,”
“Obviously, our definition was broader than the state’s,” Balram said, adding that the agency had always planned to update “when cases and deaths stabilize.”
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Alternative causes of death were not specified.
“We knew that any change like this would raise some eyebrows,” Alameda County Health Officer Nicholas Moss told Oaklandside. “Nothing in this changes our political decisions now or in the midst of a pandemic.”
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Dr Amesh Adalya, an infectious disease expert and senior scientist at Hopkins, said adjustments were expected, but the amount “seems high”.