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21 Mar, 2022 13:48

CDC says it overcounted Covid-19 deaths

After admitting to a “coding logic error,” agency strikes out 24% of deaths among children
CDC says it overcounted Covid-19 deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admitted last week that nearly a quarter of Covid-19 deaths among children were counted due to a “coding logic error.” This same algorithmical error caused deaths from the virus to be overcounted in all age groups.

“On March 15, 2022, data on deaths were adjusted after resolving a coding logic error. This resulted in decreased death counts across all demographic categories,” read a footnote on the CDC’s Covid Data Tracker website. In a statement to Reuters, the CDC said that fixing this error removed 72,277 deaths previously reported across 26 states, including 416 pediatric deaths.

More than 968,000 people in the US have died of Covid-19, per CDC data, with age group data available for 784,303 of these deaths. Only 1,356 of these people were under the age of 18, meaning children accounted for just 0.17% of all Covid-19 deaths in the US for which there is data.  

Despite the fact that children are at a relatively lower risk of hospitalization and death from Covid-19, the masking of schoolkids has been a contentious issue in the US. The CDC late last month eased its mask guidance, stating that in areas of ‘low’ and ‘medium’ community transmission of the virus, children would no longer have to wear face masks in schools. The move was praised by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten – who until then was a staunch proponent of keeping kids masked – as offering a “safe off-ramp from universal masking.”

However, the National Education Association still called on schools to “act cautiously” and not immediately abandon any measures they see fit. Officials in some states have refused to unmask children, with New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan stating last week that masking kids would be his “indefinite” policy. 

In other jurisdictions, kids have been attending school mask-free for more than a year. Florida never asked schools to require face masks for children, and Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law in November banning mandatory masking in public schools, despite opposition from pro-mask school boards.