In the U.S.A, California county cut its COVID-19 death toll by around 25% after determining that some deaths were not a “direct result” of the virus. Alameda County revised the total number of deaths caused by the coronavirus to 1,223, down from 1,634. County officials decided to revise the numbers to align with the California Department of Public Health’s guidance on how to classify deaths.
The county previously included deaths of anyone infected with the virus, regardless of whether COVID-19 was a direct or contributing cause of death. One of the media sources reported that Neetu Balram, a spokesperson for Alameda County Public Health, said that some of the deaths were clearly not caused by COVID. Balram said obviously their definition was broader than the state’s and added that the department had always planned to conduct an update when cases and deaths stabilized.
An Alameda County health officer told the media that they knew that any change like this would have raised some eyebrows. Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins, said the adjustments were expected but the amount of Covid death seemed high.
Meanwhile, A Napa County spokesperson, also in the U.S said Thursday that the county has reported its first death from COVID-19 in a fully vaccinated patient. The woman, a Napa resident, died Wednesday. She was over 65 years of age and had underlying medical conditions and died from complications of COVID-19 after a prolonged hospitalization.
The woman tested positive for the newly named B117 (UK) variant, which is apparently more transmissible and causes more severe illness. According to experts, seniors and immuno-suppressed people may not mount as strong an immune response to the vaccine. According to the Napa County Public Health Officer, especially as more variant strains emerge.