'Probable' coronavirus deaths now included in CDC totals

'Probable' coronavirus deaths now included in CDC totals
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this week that it would begin including "probable" cases of the coronavirus in its count of cases in the U.S.

Citing a statement by the Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists urging it to do so, the CDC said in a statement on its website that the agency's totals as of Tuesday would reflect "both confirmed and probable cases and deaths."

Probable cases are defined by the agency as anecdotally matching the symptoms of COVID-19 but lacking an actual test confirming the disease in a patient, a phenomenon many Americans have experienced due to shortages of tests in the U.S.

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"A probable case or death is defined by i) meeting clinical criteria AND epidemiologic evidence with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19; or ii) meeting presumptive laboratory evidence AND either clinical criteria OR epidemiologic evidence; or iii) meeting vital records criteria with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID19," the CDC stated.

"State and local public health departments are now testing and publicly reporting their cases. In the event of a discrepancy between CDC cases and cases reported by state and local public health officials, data reported by states should be considered the most up to date," the agency continued.

The CDC has now confirmed nearly 600,000 cases of coronavirus in the U.S., while more than 30,000 deaths in the U.S. have been reported, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The official count puts the U.S. higher than any other country in terms of total numbers of infected.

Globally, the number of coronavirus cases passed 2 million this week as health officials continue to battle its spread.