Kankakee Coroner’s report raises questions if COVID-19 deaths are labeled correctly


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Kankakee County Coroner Bob Gessner has signed two death certificates for COVID-19, himself.

“A death is considered a COVID-19 related when the primary Physician or the Coroner views it as a cause of death or contributing condition to the death.” Gessner said at a Press Conference Friday.  As of Sunday, physicians had signed 29 death certificates related to the pandemic.

The announcement came during a meeting as the County announced reopening plans. Thursday and Friday were the deadliest days of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. with nearly 5,000 dead from the disease in just 48 hours.

“Of the 29 deaths, 100% have had other documented medical history.  For instance they could’ve died from the COVID but they also had pneumonia.” Gessner said.

Gessner’s Friday report questions how many COVID-19 related deaths could have been labeled as ‘pneumonia’ by physicians not only in Kankakee County, but across the United States. 

For those unaware, the novel coronavirus causes pneumonia in many severe cases. A recent report by USA today, cites deaths in the US could be even greater due to that very reasoning.

As of noon Sunday, there were now 31 deaths from COVID-19 in Kankakee County with over half of all deaths in the County occurring inside long-term care facilities.


  1. Doesn’t Covid-19 cause pneumonia? And if those people hadn’t contracted the virus, they would more than likely still be alive? So, anyone whose immediate cause of death resulted from COVID-19, but who wasn’t young and/or in perfect health shouldn’t be counted as a COVID-19 death? That’s what I’m hearing. I think that’s a flawed concept that devalues the lives being lost and downplays the seriousness of this devastating situation.

  2. I may be wrong, but I think he was saying that some death certificates may list just pneumonia as reason of death when in actuality the pneumonia was caused COVID 19.


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