If you think much about the epidemic remains uncertain, The New York Times warns, you might be part of “the virus ‘truther’ movement.”
by Jacob Sullum
Are COVID-19 deaths undercounted? Yes, especially if people with other illnesses die at home and are never tested for the virus that causes the disease. Are COVID-19 deaths overcounted? Probably also yes, especially when physicians try to compensate for the lack of testing by inferring that COVID-19 caused a death without laboratory confirmation, but also when they assume that the disease killed someone who tested positive, even if the actual cause might have been something else.
Judging from excess mortality in places hit hard by the epidemic, the first problem is bigger than the second problem, although those figures are ambiguous, may be incomplete, and so far are limited to relatively brief periods of time. In principle, the accuracy of COVID-19 death tallies is an empirical question, albeit one that may never be conclusively answered.