New York City’s official coronavirus death toll has soared past 10,000, after thousands of deaths that previously went uncounted were added to the city’s statistics.
In a new count released Tuesday, 3,778 more deaths were added to the rolls — driving up the previously recorded total of 6,589 by more than half. Now, the city records 10,367 deaths related to the virus.
Previously, the city had not counted people who died at home without getting tested for the coronavirus, or who died in nursing homes or at hospitals, but did not have a confirmed positive test result. Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted last week that the true number of deaths was far higher than the official tally, and said the city would start including presumed coronavirus cases in its data.
The latest statistics include probable coronavirus deaths through Monday. And even the new statistics may understate the death toll. Probable deaths were recorded as people who did not have a positive lab test for Covid-19, but did have Covid-19 or something similar listed as the cause of death on their death certificate.
“Behind every death is a friend, a family member, a loved one. We are focused on ensuring that every New Yorker who died because of COVID-19 gets counted,” Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said in a statement. “As a city, it is part of the healing process to be able to grieve and mourn for all those that have passed because of COVID-19. While these data reflect the tragic impact that the virus has had on our city, they will also help us to determine the scale and scope of the epidemic and guide us in our decisions.”
The city’s death toll has soared so high that morgues have filled, funeral homes have been overwhelmed and burials of unclaimed remains on Hart Island have surged. As of Monday evening, the city tallied 107,263 cases of the coronavirus, with many more undetected because of lack of testing.
People whose death certificates don’t mention the virus still are not counted. From March 11 through April 13, 8,184 city residents died of causes not classified as confirmed or probable coronavirus.
Among probable coronavirus deaths, 60 percent happened in hospitals, 22 percent in the victim’s home and 18 percent in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. Brooklyn residents represented the most probable deaths, followed by Queens and the Bronx.