Headshot of Prof. Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

Analysis: COVID-19 Deaths are Undercounted in the United States

Andrew Stokes; Dielle Lundberg; Elizabeth Wrigley-Field; Yea-Hung Chen

 Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, PhD, is a member of an interdisciplinary research group working to resolve the debate between people who maintain that COVID-19 deaths are overcounted in the US and those who contend that these deaths are undercounted. The researchers offer a detailed examination of death rates, including an explanation of excess mortality, which compares the number of deaths reported during the pandemic to the number of deaths that would have been expected based on mortality data in the years preceding the pandemic. Based on this analysis, the team concludes that COVID-19 deaths have been consistently undercounted. This matters, they argue, because “Knowing how many people died and where these deaths occurred has widespread implications for informing how current pandemic response resources are allocated and for preparing for future public health emergencies.”