The COVID-19 death toll in Santa Clara, California dropped by nearly a quarter after it 'refined its approach' to reporting the data, according to KPIX5.
After a review of each COVID-19 fatality and eliminating deaths not directly caused by the virus - including those who tested positive at the time of death, but did not necessarily die from the disease, official COVID-19 deaths dropped from 2,201 to 1,696, or 22%.
"It is important to go back and do this accounting to see if COVID was actually the cause of death," said UCSF Prof. of Medicine and Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Monica Gandhi. "I think that transparent communication is an upside, I mean, in the sense that it’s true that if we did this across the nation, it would bring our death rate lower. A downside of that, could be that people will say, ‘Well, it wasn’t as serious as you said.'"
The refined approach in Santa Clara County comes as county officials try to figure out the true impact of the virus on the community. Last month, Alameda County health leaders refined their approach to reporting COVID-19 deaths as well and also registered a drop in that county’s death toll by about a quarter.
Gandhi believes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon ask all counties to do the same as Alameda and Santa Clara Counties and that the nation could also see a drop in its COVID-19 death toll. -KPIX
"In the midst of everything COVID people were sort of putting down that cause of death as COVID," said Gandhi, who somehow believes that the lower numbers might encourage people to get vaccinated.
"Because a lot of people have kind of said, ‘I’ve heard people are dying anyway of COVID what’s the point?’ and it is very important to say, ‘No, did they die of COVID or were they in the hospital for something else and they died of that?" she continued. "That helps people say, ‘Oh, the risk of breakthrough infection is so low I want to go ahead and get vaccinated.’ So I think it’s very good for vaccine hesitancy."
She lost us there.
Meanwhile, neighboring Alameda county conducted a similar review of deaths in early June, and their death toll dropped by 411 to 1,223 fatalities, or 25%.