New York is one of several large states in America that is still not counting probable deaths, even though federal public health officials have been recommending states do so since April.
A review by the Washington Post found that New York was among 24 states, including California, Florida and North Carolina, that have not complied with the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The lack of probable deaths is "one reason government officials and public health experts say the virus’s true toll is above the U.S. tally as of Sunday of about 1.9 million coronavirus cases and 109,000 deaths — benchmarks that shape policymaking and public opinion on the pandemic," the Post story says.
According to the CDC, a probable death or case is defined as a person who meets certain clinical or laboratory criteria for the virus but does not have confirmed testing for COVID-19.
At news conferences, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been repeatedly asked why the state is not following CDC guidance in counting probable deaths. When it comes to nursing home fatalities, both New York and New Jersey have included probable deaths at nursing homes, but have not included them in their states’ overall death totals.
“Probable is different than confirmed,” Cuomo said on May 22nd. “Probable is ‘probable, but I have to check, I don’t know, I have to do further testing.’ We’ve had many cases that were probable coronavirus and turned out not to be coronavirus and that’s why they call them probable.”