State and CDC Differ on Death Totals

KFOR - September 8, 2022 9:27 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The State of Oklahoma posts a different COVID-19 death total on the health department website compared to the CDC.

The State Department of Health said that the two numbers are collected differently. All death certificates with COVID listed as a cause of death make it onto the CDC’s list. But for OSDH, they investigate further. The department may not list a death as being caused by COVID, depending on other medical factors involved.

Erica Rankin-Riley, Public Information Officer for OSDH, said their process is “more labor intensive and manual compared to other types of administrative reporting.”

The CDC reports there are 16,745 COVID deaths in Oklahoma. OSDH reports there are 14,744 total deaths.

“How can you be off by over 2,000 deaths? I’ve never heard a good explanation for this,” said Dr. George Monks, someone who has been following the Coronavirus outbreak from the beginning. Dr. Monks does not agree with the state’s methodology.

“So somebody may have died. The main cause of death would be respiratory failure. And then the next listed cause of death would be pneumonia. And then down below that, it would be COVID. So COVID caused pneumonia which caused the respiratory failure which caused the death. You can’t tell me that COVID didn’t cause that patient’s death,” argued Monks.

Dr. Monks said that the state of Oklahoma has one of the worst discrepancy rates in the country. The difference between Oklahoma’s reported 14,744 deaths and the CDC’s 16,745 reported death, is a gap of 14 percent.

In our region, Texas is the only other state with a significant gap in what their state reports compared to what the CDC reports. 11 percent of Texas’ total deaths are missing at the state level compared to what is reported at the CDC.


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