Project invites help, seeks data as it tries to gain understanding of COVID-19 deaths

The United States is undercounting COVID-19 deaths, especially among Native, Hispanic and Black Americans. A project of MuckRock and Columbia’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation, in collaboration with USA Today, will attempt to examine the true death toll from the pandemic.

“There are sizable gaps in the data as local and state medical examiners and coroners wrap up their death reporting for the year,” according to an article posted on and

“Due to a lag in death certificate reporting, more than 110,000 deaths in 2021 haven’t been assigned a cause of death yet. Another 74,000 deaths in 2021 are attributed to an ‘ill-defined’ cause – nearly double the annual average before the pandemic. That’s likely due to overwhelmed medical examiners and coroners who have’t finished investigating those deaths.”

The project invites those who have dealt with death certificates to share information.