Politics

New Jersey Adds Nearly 2,000 ‘Probable’ Coronavirus Deaths To Official Count

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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New Jersey added 1,854 deaths to its official coronavirus death count Thursday, bringing the state’s total deaths to nearly 15,000.

Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the addition after state health officials reviewed the death certificates of thousands of New Jersey residents and concluded that their probable cause of death is coronavirus. (RELATED: The Media’s Coronavirus Concern Trolling Has Completely Disappeared)

“Dr. [Ed] Lifshitz and his team at the Communicable Disease Service have been taking great care in examining thousands of death certificates to identify residents whose passing could, with great reliability, be attributed to COVID-19,” Murphy tweeted Thursday.

Murphy said that some of the residents added to the death toll never tested positive for the coronavirus, but experienced “underlying symptoms” of the virus prior to their deaths.

“We know that there are those upon whom a COVID-19 test was never performed, even though the underlying symptoms and causes of death point to the probability that they did, in fact, have COVID-19,” Murphy said. “Given our current testing protocols and decreasing number of deaths overall, we do not anticipate this number growing significantly in the future. However, some changes are to be expected, and we will be reporting on the number of probable deaths every week.”

The method used to count coronavirus deaths has been a subject of debate throughout the pandemic. President Donald Trump and Dr. Deborah Birx have reportedly urged the CDC to not include probable coronavirus deaths in its official tolls, while some medical experts have argued that the lack of initial testing means deaths in the U.S. have been undercounted.