Provisional Death Counts for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Daily updates of totals by week and state

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By National Vital Statistics System

Updated: May 1, 2020

The provisional counts for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) deaths are based on a current flow of mortality data in the National Vital Statistics System. National provisional counts include deaths occurring within the 50 states and the District of Columbia that have been received and coded as of the date specified. It is important to note that it can take several weeks for death records to be submitted to National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), processed, coded, and tabulated. Therefore, the data shown on this page may be incomplete, and will likely not include all deaths that occurred during a given time period, especially for the more recent time periods. Death counts for earlier weeks are continually revised and may increase or decrease as new and updated death certificate data are received from the states by NCHS. COVID-19 death counts shown here may differ from other published sources, as data currently are lagged by an average of 1–2 weeks.

The provisional data presented on this page include the weekly provisional count of deaths in the United States due to COVID-19, deaths from all causes and percent of expected deaths (i.e., number of deaths received over number of deaths expected based on data from previous years), pneumonia deaths (excluding pneumonia deaths involving influenza), pneumonia deaths involving COVID-19, influenza deaths, and deaths involving pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19; (a) by week ending date and (b) by specific jurisdictions.

Table 1 has counts of death involving COVID-19 and select causes of death by the week ending date in which the death occurred. For COVID-19 deaths by week ending date at the state level, click here.
Data as of May 1, 2020

NOTE: Number of deaths reported in this table are the total number of deaths received and coded as of the date of analysis and do not represent all deaths that occurred in that period. The United States population, based on 2018 postcensal estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is 327,167,434.

*Data during this period are incomplete because of the lag in time between when the death occurred and when the death certificate is completed, submitted to NCHS and processed for reporting purposes. This delay can range from 1 week to 8 weeks or more, depending on the jurisdiction, age, and cause of death.

1Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19, coded to ICD–10 code U07.1

2Percent of expected deaths is the number of deaths for all causes for this week in 2020 compared to the average number across the same week in 2017–2019. Previous analyses of 2015–2016 provisional data completeness have found that completeness is lower in the first few weeks following the date of death (<25%), and then increases over time such that data are generally at least 75% complete within 8 weeks of when the death occurred (8).

3Pneumonia death counts exclude pneumonia deaths involving influenza.

4Influenza death counts include deaths with pneumonia or COVID-19 also listed as a cause of death.

5Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19, pneumonia, or influenza, coded to ICD–10 codes U07.1 or J09–J18.9.

Data as of May 1, 2020

NOTE: Number of deaths reported in this table are the total number of deaths received and coded as of the date of analysis and do not represent all deaths that occurred in that period.

*Data during this period are incomplete because of the lag in time between when the death occurred and when the death certificate is completed, submitted to NCHS and processed for reporting purposes. This delay can range from 1 week to 8 weeks or more, depending on the jurisdiction, age, and cause of death.

1Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19, coded to ICD–10 code U07.1.

2Percent of expected deaths is the number of deaths for all causes for this week in 2020 compared to the average number across the same week in 2017–2019.

3Pneumonia death counts exclude pneumonia deaths involving influenza.

4Influenza death counts include deaths with pneumonia or COVID-19 also listed as a cause of death.

5United States death count includes the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and New York City.

6Excludes New York City.

Understanding the Numbers: Provisional Death Counts and COVID-19

Provisional death counts deliver our most comprehensive picture of lives lost to COVID-19. These estimates are based on death certificates, which are the most reliable source of data and contain information not available anywhere else, including comorbid conditions, race and ethnicity, and place of death.

How it works

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) uses incoming data from death certificates to produce provisional COVID-19 death counts. These include deaths occurring within the 50 states and the District of Columbia. COVID-19 deaths are identified using a new ICD–10 code. When COVID-19 is reported as a cause of death – or when it is listed as a “probable” or “presumed” cause — the death is coded as U07.1. This can include cases with or without laboratory confirmation.

Why these numbers are different

Provisional death counts may not match counts from other sources, such as media reports or numbers from county health departments. Our counts often track 1–2 weeks behind other data for a number of reasons: Death certificates take time to be completed. There are many steps involved in completing and submitting a death certificate. Waiting for test results can create additional delays. States report at different rates. Currently, 63% of all U.S. deaths are reported within 10 days of the date of death, but there is significant variation among jurisdictions. It takes extra time to code COVID-19 deaths. While 80% of deaths are electronically processed and coded by NCHS within minutes, most deaths from COVID-19 must be coded manually, which takes an average of 7 days. Other reporting systems use different definitions or methods for counting deaths.

Things to know about the data

Provisional counts are not final and are subject to change. Counts from previous weeks are continually revised as additional records are received and processed. Provisional data are not yet complete. Counts will not include all deaths that occurred during a given time period, especially for more recent periods. However, we can estimate how complete our numbers are by looking at the average number of deaths reported in previous years. Death counts should not be compared across jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions report deaths on a daily basis, while others report deaths weekly or monthly. In addition, vital record reporting may also be affected or delayed by COVID-19 related response activities.

For more detailed technical information, visit the Provisional Death Counts for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Technical Notes page.

Page last reviewed: May 1, 2020

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