Nearly a quarter of the people Colorado said died from coronavirus don’t have COVID-19 on their death certificate — at least not yet |

Nearly a quarter of the people Colorado said died from coronavirus don’t have COVID-19 on their death certificate — at least not yet

John Ingold and Jesse Paul
Colorado Sun

Nearly a quarter of the people reported as coronavirus deaths in state statistics don’t have the virus listed on their death certificates — at least not yet — the state Health Department said Friday, adding more uncertainty to how many people the virus has killed in Colorado.

The number of coronavirus deaths in state figures topped 1,000 earlier this week, and the number stood at 1,150 deaths as of Friday afternoon. But officials with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment revealed during a call with reporters that that number does not represent the number of people who have died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Instead, the death figure CDPHE has been providing for weeks is more accurately described as the number of people with COVID-19 who have died — for any reason. The number of people who have died and have COVID-19 listed on their death certificate is 24% lower: 878, according to CDPHE’s latest figures.

“We recognize that there certainly has been confusion around this topic,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said during the call.

But even this latest revelation does little to clarify the battle over the virus’ death toll, which has become one of the most contentious and politically rancorous fights of the pandemic. A Republican state representative has called for a criminal investigation of CDPHE. The coroner of Montezuma County joined the media call unexpectedly Friday to directly question state officials about their reporting of death numbers. And politicians and political activists across the country have engaged in heated debate about whether the pandemic’s toll has been inflated or undercounted.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported news organization dedicated to covering the people, places and policies that matter in Colorado. Read more, sign up for free newsletters and subscribe at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User