As more and more confusion swirls over “death numbers” the Daily Wire tried to explain what they think might be going on:
The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) website for the coronavirus lists the total deaths from COVID-19 – the disease caused by the virus – as 37,308 in the United States. That’s a much lower number than what has been reported in the media or by other coronavirus trackers. For example, the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker, lists the number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. at 65,645.
Even more confusing, a separate CDC website – dedicated exclusively to the novel coronavirus – lists the total COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. as 64,283. The NCHS website was updated on May 1, while the CDC’s coronavirus-specific website says it was updated on May 2.
The discrepancy seems to be an issue of how the data relating to deaths was coded at the state level, that is, what the cause of death on a death certificate says. The NCHS website lists 37,308 total deaths from death certificates listing COVID-19 as the cause, which includes COVID-19 as the presumed cause of death. The CDC gives some explanation why the NCHS data may be different from other reported numbers (emphasis original).
They go on to say that provisional death counts may not match counts from other sources, such as media reports or numbers from county health departments. Our counts often track 1–2 weeks behind other data for a number of reasons: Death certificates take time to be completed. There are many steps involved in completing and submitting a death certificate. Waiting for test results can create additional delays. States report at different rates. Currently, 63% of all U.S. deaths are reported within 10 days of the date of death, but there is significant variation among jurisdictions. It takes extra time to code COVID-19 deaths. While 80% of deaths are electronically processed and coded by NCHS within minutes, most deaths from COVID-19 must be coded manually, which takes an average of 7 days. Other reporting systems use different definitions or methods for counting deaths.