Of those 426 people, 413 had an average of 2.4 other serious diseases, while 13 people had COVID-19 listed as the only cause of death.
“Most people that we do see are already medically fragile before they get COVID-19,” Karen Domagalski, operations manager for the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office, told The Epoch Times.
“It seems at some point that what is happening is getting diagnosed with coronavirus is basically accelerating death.”
Many of the comorbidities listed under “other causes” on the death certificate include obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, atherosclerotic coronary and peripheral vascular disease, end-stage renal failure, and cancer.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office is reporting the deaths associated with COVID-19 on its website. The office usually only reports deaths from homicide, suicide, accidents, and natural but unexpected deaths; COVID-19 is characterized as a “natural” death, as is influenza.
“Most coronavirus deaths would be a natural expected death, for the most part, but we just chose to take jurisdiction of those deaths,” Domagalski said. The office decided in early March to be involved in COVID-related deaths, suspected or confirmed, “so we could do better surveillance on the pandemic.”
She said her office had never taken jurisdiction over deaths related to a pandemic in the past, such as SARS or Zika, but that they would likely do it again in the future.
Domagalski said that for deaths classified primarily as COVID-19, the person must have received a positive test for COVID-19 and must have had symptoms. She said she didn’t have a way to know exactly how long before death each person had received the positive test.
Nationally, 204,328 people have died with COVID-19, as of Sept. 28, according to CDC data.