• California reported 4,500 additional deaths from all causes in 2020 compared to historical trends, the Los Angeles Times reported.
  • That could suggest that the state has a higher COVID-19 death toll than what’s currently reported. 
  • That trend has also occurred in other parts of the US and several countries. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

California has reported 4,500 additional deaths from all causes in 2020, which could mean that the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the state is higher than reported, according to the Los Angeles Times

The number of additional deaths is calculated based on the expected number of deaths based on historical averages. 

The state has reported 1,982 deaths from COVID-19 as of April 30.

Experts told the LA Times that while statistics are preliminary, they can be “an important early indicator in understanding” in understanding the real impact of the virus in the state. 

“It does signal that more likely than not, this COVID disease really did have a role in some or all of those excess deaths,” Bonnie Maldonado, a Stanford University professor and infectious disease epidemiologist, told the LA Times. “The extent that it did will be important to understand.”

The Financial Times previously reported that an analysis they conducted found that coronavirus death toll could be as much as 60% higher than reported in official counts in 14 countries. 

The statistics show 122,000 excess deaths to normal levels across each country, “considerably higher than the 77,000 official Covid-19 deaths reported for the same places and time periods.”

According to the FT analysis, on a global level that would have meant the death toll would be as high as 318,000 globally compared to the 201,000 reported deaths as of April 26. 

Additionally in the US, a handful of states most impacted by the coronavirus outbreak saw excess death tolls almost 50% higher than normal between March 8 and April 11, The New York Times reported. That means there were an additional 9,000 deaths beyond reported coronavirus deaths. 

The Associated Press has reported that the country has seen at least 66,000 additional deaths this far into the year, and while most could be attributed to the coronavirus, some of it may also be due to the fact that people are not seeking treatment for other conditions.

“Everybody’s afraid to go to the hospital. And they may be dying more frequently because they’re not taking care of their coronary,” Arnold Monto, a University of Michigan researcher who studies flu and coronaviruses told the AP. 

The country has seen a 7% increase to the usual one million deaths it see by the end of April every year.

Drug overdoses, falls, and certain types of home injuries could have increased during the pandemic, the medical examiner told the AP. 

“What we think is there is some combination of COVID deaths that are not declared COVID deaths and other deaths that are due to other causes people have not gotten treatment for, or have delayed treatment,” Eileen Crimmins, a professor of gerontology at USC told the LA Times. 

Some experts told the LA Times that some of those additional deaths could have been COVID-19 deaths could have been miscategorized especially since testing was limited at the beginning of the outbreak. 

Other explanations for the additional deaths could be deaths from other complications related to COVID-19, people dying because they’re afraid to get medical help during this time, even partially because of “population trends or a historical anomaly, or some combination of all those factors,” according to the LA Times.

“You’re not going to see the full picture, but what you’ve detected is a signal, and I think that’s important,” Maldonado told the Los Angeles Times. “Over time I think we’ll have a better sense of the true impact of COVID on California deaths.”

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