Nearly 300 fewer people have died in Colorado directly from the coronavirus than was originally reported, according to revised data from the state.
Colorado health officials now report that as of May 9, 878 people died “due to” the coronavirus, and 1,150 people died “among” COVID-19 cases, according to Fox 31 News Denver.
Health officials revised the way they report coronavirus death toll figures in response to questions and complaints about whether they were properly attributed.
“We have been reporting at the state, deaths among people who had COVID-19 at the time of death and the cause of that death may or may not have been COVID-19,” Colorado Department of Health and Environment Chief Medical Officer Eric France said on Friday.
“We started to hear stories about ‘are these correct or are these incorrect?’” he said.
One of those stories involved a Colorado coroner who pushed back against the state’s decision to classify a death in his jurisdiction as a coronavirus death, even though the coroner found that the man, who had the coronavirus, died of alcohol poisoning.
“This afternoon Colorado just cut its reported #COVID deaths by almost 25% – from 1150 to 878,” former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, who has become leading a COVID-19 contrarian, said on Twitter.
States across the country are facing scrutiny for the way they categorize coronavirus deaths, and many experts believe that the reported death tolls are overstating the fatalities.
“There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,” White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator Deborah Birx said, adding that the death toll could be inflated by as much as 25%.
San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond said this week that only six of the 194 deaths in his county were directly due to the coronavirus.
“We’ve unfortunately had six pure, solely coronavirus deaths — 6 out of 3.3 million people,” Desmond said. “I mean, what number are we trying to get to with those odds? I mean, it’s incredible. We want to be safe, and we can do it, but unfortunately, it’s more about control than getting the economy going again and keeping people safe.”