Illinois Director of Public Health addresses potential inflation, underrepresentation of COVID-19 death toll

May 12, 2020


Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) director Dr. Ngozi Ezike addressed rumors that Illinois’ coronavirus COVID-19 death toll is artificially inflated.

“I know some people have had concerns about the number of COVID-19 deaths that have been reported,” said Ezike. “Some are concerned that the numbers are inflated, others think that the numbers reflect an underreporting.”

According to Ezike, Illinois only reports deaths accompanied by a confirmed laboratory report. However, the Harvard College and University of California at San Diego alumna also expressed concern that insufficient standards and unavailable testing during the early stages of reporting may have resulted in underreporting deaths related to COVID-19.

“As we learn more about the disease, there may have been less typical presentation of COVID-19 that were not appropriately attributed to COVID because there wasn’t a test done because the suspicion was not there,” said Ezike.

However, the Illinois Department of Public Health is actively attempting to retroactively remove deaths it believes were wrongly attributed to COVID-19. According to Ezike, individuals who perished due to other circumstances, such as gun shot wounds or automobile accidents, may have erroneously been counted among the COVID-19 death toll.

“Some additional deaths that happened with someone who happened to be COVID-positive, but the COVID section had nothing to do with the deaths,” said Ezike. “We are, at IDPH, trying to remove those obvious cases where the COVID diagnosis was not the reason for the cause of death.”

Nevertheless, health experts caution dismissing official accounts due to overlapping ailments. Ezike states that the emergence of COVID-19 potentially contributes to the acceleration and exacerbation of pre-existing conditions, such as cancer or kidney failure.

“In the case where someone was elderly or battling cancer, it is obviously less clear that the COVID-19 disease associated with the coronavirus didn’t actually play a part in hastening the death, so those deaths do stand,” said Ezike.

After reporting an additional 144 deaths on Tuesday, Illinois’ total COVID-19 death count climbed to 3,601. COVID-19 resulted in death in 4.3% of all cases confirmed across Illinois.

Read more about Illinois’ COVID-19 response:

“It’s not a hoax”; Illinois officials warn of second wave as state reports record death toll



2 Responses to “Illinois Director of Public Health addresses potential inflation, underrepresentation of COVID-19 death toll”

  1. Peter Caliendo on May 12th, 2020 10:29 pm

    Let us know deaths ages and underlying conditions please. This matters. We know 1200 of 3400 deaths are nursing homes, approximately. We know obese people have highest risk, cdc said, 50 percent people obese, this would mean around 1000 deaths obese issue, 1200 left, how about all other underlying issues, 60 plus in good conditions, let’s look at these numbers. No one reports this. Thanks

  2. Timothy Jett on May 14th, 2020 12:09 pm

    First off the virus is no where as bad as the media is making it to be. As a hospital worker I have seen people pass of a lot of different things and they are putting all deaths as the virus. It’s time for the president to step in and take over IL.. Or let Chicago be by themselves… Everyone I know is trying to leave IL because of the taxes and all the fees they put on us.. They need to impeach him asap. before he destroys everything….

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