I appreciate your piece. However, aside from the data lag and Americans’ original perceptions of the outbreak, there is something important missing (as with so many articles on pandemic mortality figures): Any discussion of COVID-19 fatalities must consider the widespread practice (intentional or not) of categorizing a death in a way that doesn’t account for infection by SARS-CoV-2, even when it was possible or likely that COVID-19 was a factor. This has helped mask the human cost of the pandemic. There is no system in place to prevent a death from being categorized solely as “pneumonia,” or “ischemic heart disease,” or “diabetes,” instead of “COVID-19” (or some combination thereof). The end result is that, on top of everything else, we're vastly undercounting fatalities induced by SARS-CoV-2, per the CDC's excess deaths data:

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