Ohio Begins Including In 4,000 Ignored Covid Deaths

Ohio health officials said they overlooked about 4,000 deaths in the past few months and would start reporting them to the public this week. The announcement came as nationwide deaths gradually subsided after peaking in mid-January.

The first 650 senior deaths in Ohio were reported Thursday, representing about 17 percent of all coronavirus deaths announced nationwide that day. The backlog in Ohio should raise the national death rate in the coming days.

“You will see a jump today, tomorrow, maybe the next day,” Governor Mike DeWine said at a press conference Thursday. “We’re not sure how many days it will be, but you’re going to see a skewed number.”

During a routine employee training event, Ohio health officials found that thousands of deaths, some dating back to October, were not properly matched between one reporting system and another, according to the state Department of Health. “This was a failure of reconciliation that didn’t happen,” DeWine said, “so we’ll sort this out.”

The unreported deaths make up a significant portion of the state’s total. As of Thursday, around 12,500 deaths had been announced nationwide in the course of the pandemic.

Ohio isn’t the first state to report a large backlog of cases or deaths. Earlier this month, Indiana added more than 1,500 deaths to its total after reviewing its death certificates. In June, New York City reported hundreds of deaths from unspecified data. And in September, Texas reported thousands of lagging cases causing a one-day surge.

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