CDC Reviewing Higher COVID-19 Death Toll From Independent Group, Considering Revising Official Count: Walensky

By Carl O'Donnell

May 10, 2021

(Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reviewing an estimate of global COVID-19 deaths from the University of Washington that is more than double the official count to determine if the CDC figures should be revised, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a Friday press briefing.

The analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation pegs the global death toll at nearly 6.9 million and the U.S. count at more than 900,000. The CDC on Wednesday put its latest official estimate at 575,491 deaths in the United States due to the novel coronavirus.

Other CDC numbers have also pointed to a higher overall death count from the pandemic. The CDC has estimated there were as many as 162,400 more deaths than expected during the pandemic through Feb. 27, 2021, excluding the deaths it has attributed directly to COVID-19.

Deaths go unreported as most countries only record those that occur in hospitals or of patients with a confirmed infection, the report showed.

IHME estimated total COVID-19 deaths by comparing anticipated deaths from all causes based on pre-pandemic trends with the actual number of all deaths during the pandemic.

The IHME is an independent health research organization that provides comparable measurement of the world's health problems. It has been cited in the past by the White House and its reports are watched closely by public health officials.

White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said at the Friday briefing the United States expects to release around 10 million doses of AstraZeneca PLC's COVID-19 shot in the coming weeks pending U.S. regulatory authorization, reiterating previous White House guidance.

The U.S. government has been under mounting pressure in recent weeks to provide surplus vaccines to other nations desperately in need as it makes swift progress vaccinating its own residents. Many countries where the virus is still rampant are struggling to acquire vaccine supplies to help tame the pandemic.

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