Preliminary Estimate of Excess Mortality During the COVID-19 Outbreak — New York City, March 11–May 2, 2020
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) COVID-19 Response Team (View author affiliations)
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has since spread worldwide. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic (1). That same day, the first confirmed COVID-19–associated fatality occurred in New York City (NYC). To identify confirmed COVID-19–associated deaths, defined as those occurring in persons with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, on March 13, 2020, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) initiated a daily match between all deaths reported to the DOHMH electronic vital registry system (eVital) (2) and laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Deaths for which COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, or an equivalent term is listed on the death certificate as an immediate, underlying, or contributing cause of death, but that do not have laboratory-confirmation of COVID-19 are classified as probable COVID-19–associated deaths. As of May 2, a total of 13,831 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19–associated deaths, and 5,048 probable COVID-19–associated deaths were recorded in NYC (3). Counting only confirmed or probable COVID-19–associated deaths, however, likely underestimates the number of deaths attributable to the pandemic. The counting of confirmed and probable COVID-19–associated deaths might not include deaths among persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection who did not access diagnostic testing, tested falsely negative, or became infected after testing negative, …read more: