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Covid-19: US tracker overestimated deaths among children

BMJ 2022; 376 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o831 (Published 29 March 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o831
  1. Jennifer Block
  1. New York

The US’s health protection agency has reduced the number of deaths it is attributing to covid-19 by more than 70 000 after what it referred to as “coding logic errors” were highlighted on social media.

On 15 March the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) removed 72 277 deaths, including those of 416 children, from its Covid-19 Data Tracker, which has been posting real time data collected from more than two dozen state health departments since April 2020.1

The tracker is one of two sources used to report deaths from covid-19 in the US. The other is the National Center for Health Statistics’ website, which is also run by the CDC but relies on death certificates for its data.2

By mid-March the figures presented by the two sites differed substantially. For example, the Covid-19 Data Tracker put the number of deaths among infants and children aged 0-17 at 1700, while the statistics site stated 900.

The figures have been widely used by media outlets to report on deaths in …

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