"The true death toll (in the US) is likely much higher" than what has been reported, a media report said, citing concerns expressed by hospital officials, doctors, public health experts and medical examiners from a wide array of localities in the country.
"The undercount is a result of inconsistent protocols, limited resources and a patchwork of decision making from one state or county to the next," Xinhua news agency quoted The New York Times report as saying on Sunday.
The combination of the absence of a "uniform system for reporting coronavirus-related deaths" and "a continued shortage of tests" has been attributed to what The New York Times report said was some states and counties having "improvised, obfuscated and, at times, backtracked in counting the dead".
"We definitely think there are deaths that we have not accounted for," the newspaper report quoted Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security (CSS), as saying.
President Donald Trump in recent days has been using the White House Coronavirus Task Force news briefing as an occasion to boast his country's second-to-none total COVID-19 tests.
Yet, US media outlets, such as The New York Times, have offered another angle to look at the issue: Given its relatively larger population, the country has tested far fewer people than other countries on a per capita basis, reports Xinhua news aegncy.
The Washington-based Johns Hopkins University has been closely tracking real-time data regarding confirmed cases and mortalities not only in the US, but also around the globe country by country.
While noting public health experts have stressed that an accurate death count is essential to understanding the evolution of a disease outbreak, The New York Times report said that the federal government "does not expect to produce a final tally of coronavirus deaths until 2021, when it publishes an annual compilation of the country's leading causes of death".
As of Monday, the US has reported a total of 368,196 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 10,986 deaths, according to the CSSE updates..