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(1/x) Some folks have asked why someone infected with coronavirus in Washington state and who died in Washington state is being counted as Alaska's first death from the disease. It's because of how epidemiological statistics work. #akleg #akgov
(2/x) From what I understand, folks who track vital statistics at various states use driver's licenses (and occasionally family claims or voting records) to determine residency.
(3/x) There's something called an "inter-jurisdictional exchange of vital events," which in Alaska takes place weekly. States send other states death certificates for their residents. In this case, it was a Washington death certificate coming to Alaska.
(4/x) Vital statistics folks care about this, because matching a birth certificate to a death certificate means someone's identity can't get stolen, and there's no duplication. Epidemiology folks care about this, because they're interested in rates of incidence.
(5/x) Think of it like a fraction. They're putting the number of Alaskans who died of X disease as the numerator in a fraction where the denominator is the entire state population.
(6/x) This is all about best practices and avoiding double-counting or under-counting. We get someone diagnosed in Washington state, who died in Washington state, as an Alaska death. The converse is true: if someone from Wisconsin dies in Alaska, it is a Wisconsin death.
(7/x) Judging by the past few years' death records (…) Alaska would need ~80 deaths from coronavirus for it to be among the top 10 killers in the state. There would need to be ~1,000 deaths for it to be the No. 1 killer, ahead of cancer.
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