NYC Health Department Report: Overwhelming Majority of Those Who Died Had Underlying Conditions

AP Photo/John Minchillo

In this March 24, 2020 photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference against a backdrop of medical supplies at the Jacob Javits Center that will house a temporary hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in New York. Amid an unprecedented public health crisis, the nation’s governors are trying to get what they need from the federal government – and fast. But often that means navigating the disorienting politics of dealing with President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)



A NYC Health Department report published on Monday showed that an overwhelming majority of those who died from COVID-19 in New York City had underlying health conditions before they tested positive.

These data include cases of NYC residents (those living in one of the five boroughs which include The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island) and foreign residents treated in NYC facilities and reflect events and activities as of April 6, 2020 at 9:30 AM.

The Health Department considers those with the following illnesses to have had underlying conditions: Diabetes, Lung Disease, Cancer, Immunodeficiency, Heart Disease, Hypertension, Asthma, Kidney Disease, and GI/Liver Disease. The report can be viewed here.

Out of a total of 2,275 deaths, 1,623 (65.6%) were confirmed to have had underlying health conditions, 46 (1.9%) were confirmed to have had no underlying conditions. The remaining 807 (32.6%) were placed in a category called “underlying conditions pending” which means they have not yet received this information from the doctor or the health facility.

Today, I saw several vague reports that 200-300 people have been dying per day in New York City in their homes. Had any of them been definitive, I would have posted about it. But, it’s possible these deaths are included in the “underlying conditions pending” category. This is merely a guess. I was unable to obtain an answer from the Health Department.

Age Group

0-17:   2  (less than one/tenth of 1%)


18-44:   140    (5.6%)

45-64:   587   (23.7%)

65-74:   613   (24.8%)

75 and over:  1133   (45.8%)

These data show that 1,553 (62.7%) of those who died were male and 920 (37.2%) were female. The sex was unknown in two other cases.

On Monday, some believed that the death rate from COVID-19 in New York State was showing signs of flattening. On Friday, 562 deaths were reported; on Saturday, 630; Sunday, 594 and on Monday, 599.

However, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier today that 731 New Yorkers had died between Monday and Tuesday, the highest single day total so far.

The governor did share some encouraging news at his mid-day briefing. The number of patients being placed in ICU is down.

He explained that deaths are a lagging indicator. The deaths recorded today occurred as a result of hospitalizations that began days or weeks earlier.

Here are some excerpts from Cuomo’s briefing:

Total number of newly hospitalized is up from yesterday, but when you look at the three day averaging of these numbers, the three day average is down, which is good news. This is the three day hospitalization rate. We tend not to look at any one day. Day to day, it’s up somewhat, but if you look at the three day average, it’s moving down, which is good news.

We talk about the apex and is the apex a plateau, and right now we’re projecting that we are reaching a plateau in the total number of hospitalizations and you can see the growth and you see it starting to flatten. Again this is a projection. It still depends on what we do and what we do will affect those numbers. This is not an act of God that we’re looking at. It’s an act of what society actually does.

Change in daily ICU admissions is way down and that’s good news. The daily intubations number is down and that’s good news.

The bad news is 5,489 New Yorkers have lost their lives to this virus. That is up from 4,758. That is the largest single day increase. And we talk about numbers, but that’s 731 people who we lost.

Why the discrepancy or the discordancy? Number of deaths up, number of hospitalization dropping. The number of deaths, number of losses, is a lagging indicator to the number of hospitalizations. Right? What happens is a person goes into the hospital, if they’re treated, most of them are then released, they’re discharged. Some stay, some get put on a ventilator. The longer you are on a ventilator, the less likely that you will ever come off that ventilator.



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