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Error on CDC website puts North Carolina coronavirus deaths at more than 14,000

The interactive map inaccurately listed 14,427 coronavirus deaths in North Carolina.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — More coronavirus deaths than actual cases in North Carolina were listed in what appeared to be a tabulation error on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The error has now been fixed but viewers looking for information about coronavirus statistics early Wednesday morning brought it to the attention of WFMY News 2. 

As of 11:30 Wednesday morning, the interactive map on the CDC's website still showed the total number of coronavirus cases in North Carolina as 6,764 but then lists the number of deaths at 14,427.

A time stamp on the map showed the website had most recently been updated Tuesday afternoon at 5:49 pm. 

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, as of 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, the state has had a total of 7,220 coronavirus cases, 242 deaths, and 434 hospitalizations. The data was collected from 93 counties reporting.

The CDC relies on data collected from the state which is tabulated on its website to reflect national numbers.

The error in the data listed was not unique to North Carolina - the CDC also listed 0 deaths for Washington D.C. and under 4,000 deaths for New York, all glaringly inaccurate numbers based on what the local health departments are reporting on their websites.

Around 12:30 pm, despite a timestamp of 5:49 pm, April 20, the website appeared to have been updated to reflect numbers that were closer to this week's data but were still well off the mark.

Credit: WFMY News 2
Error in coronavirus numbers on the CDC website

That data also inaccurately showed total cases in the state at 6,493 and total deaths at 172.

However, another update at 12:52 pm Wednesday reflected the state's numbers for Tuesday. 

Credit: WFMY News 2
CDC updates state numbers based on data confirmed at 4 pm ET the day before

The CDC's website states the most recent numbers posted for states those confirmed as of 4 pm the previous day.

Credit: WFMY News 2
CDC updates state numbers based on data confirmed at 4 pm ET the day before

To put things in perspective, the CDC is responsible for putting together data gathered on coronavirus from a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Credit: WFMY News 2
CDC updates state numbers based on data confirmed at 4 pm ET the day before

It is unclear if the error that listed North Carolina deaths as 14,427 was caused by a technical glitch or human error in entering the data.

WFMY News 2 reached out to the CDC for an explanation of the tabulation error but have yet to hear back.


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Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.

RELATED: Facts Not Fear | What you need to know about the COVID-19 outbreak


It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media.

For more information visit the CDC OR NCDHHS


The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 2-1-1 or 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.

You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 to find out more information.

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