Newly Reported COVID-19 Deaths Preliminary Data Spike Update

Readers visiting the Regional COVID-19 Data Hub today may notice a large spike in newly reported COVID-19 deaths. This spike of 71 newly reported deaths is outside of the normal reporting range. Information below may help provide context to help hub users understand this abnormality. 

Newly Reported Data is Preliminary 

The Regional COVID-19 Data Hub differentiates between “preliminary” values and “validated” values. Data for the previous 10 days is considered “preliminary” and subject to (sometimes substantial) change. The most typical change that occurs is for reported deaths or cases to be “backdated” to a previous date when the case or death occurred, rather than the date it was originally reported. It may be noted that preliminary data reporting is subject to cycles and spikes. Reporting tends to be low on weekends and high on certain weekdays, for example.

Data represented by the bright trend lines overlaying the daily bars is averaged and inclusive of a 10-day lag. This data has had time to be reviewed and backdated as needed for better accuracy and is therefore referred to as “validated”. 

The deaths reported yesterday are preliminary. Preliminary death data should be interpreted with great caution. It can take weeks for a COVID-19-related death to be reported. This is because it takes time for the information to be documented, verified and transmitted through the appropriate agencies. As a result, newly reported deaths are frequently later re-attributed to the past date when the death actually occurred. 

What does this mean? How do I interpret this? 

It does NOT mean that 71 people in the metro lost their lives last night. 

It DOES mean that more people have died in previous days or weeks than previously captured by the data at the time. 

We do not yet know when those deaths occurred. We encourage readers to watch the validated data trends over time. MARC is working closely in partnership with local jurisdictions to ensure the utmost accuracy on the Data Hub. When the MARC team receives validation updates to the data, we re-attribute reported deaths to their date of actual occurrence. As this occurs over the next week or two, we will see a clearer picture of recent death rates over time. 

If you have questions, please contact 

Phone: 816-474-4240
600 Broadway, Suite 200
Kansas City, MO 64105
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