COVID-19 and the selection problem in national cause-of-death statistics.

Lindahl BIB

Hist Philos Life Sci 43 (2) 72 [2021-05-25; online 2021-05-25]

The World Health Organization has issued international instructions for certification and classification (coding) of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as cause of death. Central to these instructions is the selection of the underlying cause of death for a public health preventive purpose. This article focuses on two rules for this selection: (1) that a death due to COVID-19 should be counted independently of pre-existing conditions that are suspected of triggering a severe course of COVID-19 and (2) that COVID-19 should not be considered as due to anything else. The article argues that observance of the first rule may not always lead to an optimal selection from a preventive point of view and that in the future the ascertainment of an animal source of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) would make it possible to reconceptualize 'COVID-19' and create a zoonotic classification code by means of which a factor of a greater preventive value could be selected than what is currently possible.

Type: Other

PubMed 34036448

DOI 10.1007/s40656-021-00420-8

Crossref 10.1007/s40656-021-00420-8

pii: 10.1007/s40656-021-00420-8


Publications 7.1.2