Have COVID-19 deaths been overestimated?

covid-19 nasal swab laboratory test
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KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor 
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There has been a great deal of talk that the deaths attributed to COVID-19 have been overestimated. But the truth is, they are probably underestimated. 

We know that overall, deaths are more than 200,000 greater in the U.S. than last year.

We also know that COVID-19 can definitely make people with preexisting conditions very sick very fast. 

Those who think the numbers are too high say these people would have died anyway, but the truth is they wouldn't have gotten this sick in the first place without COVID-19.

Instead of making us overcount the number of COVID-19 deaths, the difficulties in figuring out the reasons people die are probably making us undercount them.

And remember, when there is not a definitive COVID-19 diagnosis, a doctor is not likely to put the virus as a cause of death unless they have a very good reason.