The current COVID-19 pandemic made me curious how deaths are counted by various governments at all levels. As there is a lot of doubt as to how the cause of death is attributed in various cases, I was wondering how to get real-time numbers of total deaths.
I live in Florida and, as far as I can tell, this data is not collected locally or in a timely manner. I emailed medical examiners and it seems that several different entities (e.g. coroners, hospitals, funeral homes) are responsible for issuing death certificates and sending them to the state. The state then takes a long time to provide these numbers back to the citizens. There do not seem to be accessible data sets at the city and county level to see the numbers.
This seems like a terrible process in a world with increasing risk of pandemics. Local leaders seem to have no insight into real-time death counts that would help them make decisions.
My question is:
- What is the process for recording and reporting deaths in the US? I want to know how deaths are recorded and reported in general, not just with respect to COVID-19.