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Pennsylvania Cuts Death Count by 200, Calling Accuracy Into Question

Pennsylvania Cuts Death Count by 200, Calling Accuracy Into Question
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 24 April 2020 10:30 PM

Pennsylvania has removed 200 deaths from its coronavirus total, after changing data related to the virus a number of times over this past week, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The state started including "probably deaths" in its fatality count earlier this week. After that change, deaths that resulted from coronavirus jumped by 276 and 360 on two consecutive nights, which doubled the totals for each day.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health later removed 200 of the deaths from its official count following growing criticism about the accuracy of the number.

Probable deaths are those the doctor thinks were caused by coronavirus, without ever testing the person for the virus. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Health tweeted: "Probable cases make up <2% of total cases + give us an idea if something is happening in an area that needs investigation.

We rely on CONFIRMED case counts to make data driven decisions. As we work to move regions from red to yellow, we use confirmed data to base decisions."

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine explained to the Philadelphia Inquirer why the department decided to include probable deaths, and why they later decision removed them from the count.

“We realize that this category can be confusing since it does change over time,” Levine said.

Levine added, “At times, there are things we need to review, and potentially revisit the way the data is being analyzed ... and this is one of those times.”

She also said that the hike in coronavirus deaths resulting from “probable deaths” included those that happened up to weeks earlier. 

“There’s a discrepancy in the numbers,” Charles E. Kiessling Jr., president of the Pennsylvania Coroners Association and coroner in Lycoming County, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’m not saying there’s something going on.... I’m not a conspiracy theory guy. But accuracy is important.”

“We will now be reporting probable deaths related to COVID-19 in addition to confirmed deaths,” Levine announced on Tuesday. However, a department spokesperson said the “probable deaths” were being included in the death count well before then.

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Pennsylvania has removed 200 deaths from its coronavirus total, after changing data related to the virus a number of times over this past week, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.The state started including "probably deaths" in its fatality count earlier this week....
Pennsylvania, coronavirus, covid19, deaths
340
2020-30-24
Friday, 24 April 2020 10:30 PM
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