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Justin Fox

The Strange Case of New York’s Covid-19 Death Count

Under fire for failing until recently to fully report nursing-home deaths, the Cuomo administration continues to undercount overall Covid fatalities.

A murky death count.

A murky death count.

Photographer: Bryan Thomas/Getty Images North America

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s most recent press release on the “state’s progress during the Covid-19 pandemic” reports that 37,556 people have died from the disease in New York. The state health department’s Covid dashboard gave the same count last time I looked.

Nobody else with any knowledge of the situation thinks that this is New York’s actual Covid death toll. Right after checking the state site I consulted the New York Times, which said the state’s Covid fatalities numbered 45,957.  At the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, which is where Bloomberg News gets the deaths data for its Covid tracker, the tally was 46,420. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which often reports deaths with a lag of several weeks and thus usually puts out lower numbers than the states do, had it at 45,514.