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The COVID-19 pandemic and cause of death

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1614-1626
Number of pages13
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number7
Accepted/In press2021
PublishedAug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The author received no additional funding for this work. I am grateful for the comments on an earlier draft of two anonymous reviewers. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Author. Sociology of Health & Illness published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Foundation for SHIL (SHIL) Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


This article explores the emergence and development of Death Certificates as a means of establishing the cause of death for individuals and populations. The difficulty in choosing which disease caused death when several are described on the Certificate explains why the number of COVID-19-related deaths has been difficult to determine. This problem also draws attention to the dominant biomedical explanation for the cause of death that both promote and circumscribe what can be recognised as a valid cause.

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