PHOENIX – Questions are being raised about the number of reported COVID-19 deaths in Arizona.
As of April 24, the state has recorded more than 17,000 deaths caused by COVID-19, but some medical experts say the number may be much higher.
Will Humble with the Arizona Public Health Association says that the association believes the number can be 25% more than what’s been reported.
He says there are a number of reasons why the deaths may have been undercounted. In January, Humble says, they looked into mortality rates and compared those to a non-pandemic year.
“What we found is that, in addition to those deaths that were identified through COVID-19, which is at 17,000 right now, there’s another 25% of that on top of that from other causes …” he explained.
The number, according to the association, could be closer to 22,00.
There is a multitude of reasons for that, Humble says, including people who have underlying health issues, who may have developed mild symptoms of the virus but never got tested, in turn making their medical conditions worse.
Then there may be others who would normally call 911 with chest pains but decided to ride it out due to hospitals being near capacity.
Humble says many who couldn’t have surgeries when hospital paused elective surgeries could have died from not having the treatment they needed in time.
If the state would have put in place better policies, Humble says, he thinks the number of deaths in the state would have been closer to 11,000.
Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers
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