Some 5,300 more deaths could be linked to the coronavirus pandemic in New York City than the official toll suggests, according to a report released by US health authorities on Monday.
Between March 11 and May 2, around 24,200 more people died in the city than normal for the season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The CDC added: “Of those, nearly 19,000 deaths were confirmed or presumed to be due to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
“That leaves 5,300 excess deaths, which might have been directly or indirectly attributable to the pandemic.”
The agency noted that the “excess deaths” could have resulted from “indirect impacts of the pandemic” such as delays in seeking or receiving medical care because of overburdened hospitals, social-distancing measures or fears of contagion.
Deaths of people with chronic health conditions, who are more likely to die from COVID-19, might not have been recognised as being directly attributable to the disease, according to the report.
“Tracking excess mortality is important to understanding the contribution to the death rate from both COVID-19 disease and the lack of availability of care for non-COVID conditions,” the report said, adding that further investigation was needed.
New York City has been the epicentre of the pandemic in the United States and one of the worst-affected places in the world.
Its official death toll includes more than 14,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,100 “probable” cases, but officials have acknowledged the real toll is likely higher.