D.C.’s health director says city residents are dying of treatable illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, as regular visits to the hospital and doctor’s offices decline amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, who heads the D.C. Department of Health, said during a press conference Wednesday that delays in visiting medical facilities and keeping appointments could be a leading factor in the significant rise in the number of deaths in the city between January and May.
“We’ve been looking at what we would consider to be excess deaths and we’ve seen a 40 percent increase,” Nesbitt said, WUSA-TV (Channel 9) reported. “About 54 percent of those deaths are related to COVID-19. But 46 percent of the excess deaths we’ve seen in the District are not related to COVID-19.”
As of Thursday, the District has roughly 10,700 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 568 deaths.