The number of U.S. deaths linked to the new coronavirus topped 100,000 on Wednesday, and new CDC data shows that at least 62,690 health care workers have contracted the virus.
US Covid-19 cases surpass 1.7M, death toll tops 100K
As of Thursday morning, officials also had reported a total of 100,426 U.S. deaths linked to the new coronavirus—up from 98,938 deaths reported as of Wednesday morning. The country's Covid-19 death toll exceeded 100,000 in just over four months since the federal government confirmed the first case of the disease in the United States, the New York Times reports.
CDC data shows 62K health care workers have had Covid-19
On Wednesday, CDC released new data detailing the number of health care workers in the United States who have been infected with the new coronavirus, as well as the number of health care workers who have died from the virus.
CDC in the data identified 62,690 cases of Covid-19 among health care workers in the United States as of Wednesday—up from about 9,000 cases CDC had identified as of April 15. CDC also found that 294 health care workers had died because of the new coronavirus as of Wednesday, up from 27 deaths that CDC had identified as of April 15.
But according to NPR's "Shots," those figures likely do not fully capture the virus' impact on the health care workforce. The data is based on information CDC collected on Covid-19 cases and related deaths among a total of 1,358,065 people. CDC had information on whether 285,282 of those people, or about 21%, were health care workers, meaning there could have been unidentified health care workers among the sample who were not counted in CDC's health care workforce tally. In addition, CDC had information on the death status of 35,673, or about 57%, of those who had identified as health care workers and were infected with the new coronavirus, meaning additional health care workers who were infected with the virus may have died but were not represented in CDC's tally.
Zenei Cortez, president of National Nurses United, said CDC's totals are too low. Cortez said the union has been compiling its own data on the number of health care workers who have died from the new coronavirus, and has identified more than 530 such deaths.
Public health experts say total US coronavirus case tally, death toll likely are undercounts
Likewise, many public health experts and statisticians have said the United States' reported totals of Covid-19 cases and related deaths are undercounts.
Experts say it's likely that a significant number of individuals who have died at home or in nursing facilities over the past few months were infected with the new coronavirus but were never tested. Similarly, experts say there's likely a substantial number of people who are not included in the reported totals because they were infected with the virus but experienced only mild symptoms of Covid-19, and therefore did not seek health care or get tested, or because they were infected with the new coronavirus but were asymptomatic and therefore did not get tested.
Experts also have cast doubt on the country's reported case and death counts because federal and state officials are not consistently reporting Covid-19 data, Politico reports.
For example, Politico found that health departments in at least 12 states have altered or hidden data related to the new coronavirus.
Most recently, Washington D.C. drew criticism for using a metric on the coronavirus' "community spread" that excluded data on the virus' transmission in nursing homes, correctional facilities, and other locations to justify the city's reopening plans, Politico reports.
However, many states have moved to address issues with their Covid-19 data, according to Politico. For instance, some states have started to include probable Covid-19 cases and deaths in their tallies in light of persisting testing shortages, Politico reports (King/Calmes, Los Angeles Times, 5/27; New York Times, 5/28; Feibel, "Shots," NPR, 5/28; Ansari/Schwartz, Wall Street Journal, 5/27; Tahir/Cancryn, Politico, 5/27; New York Times, 5/28).