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@misterbitcoin posted a link to the CDC website to point out that the Wuhan Virus is waning. The most interesting number to me is “percent of expected deaths.” What does that mean? Let’s go to the CDC definition:
Percent of expected deaths is the number of deaths for all causes for this week in 2020 compared to the average number across the same week in 2017–2019. Previous analyses of 2015–2016 provisional data completeness have found that completeness is lower in the first few weeks following the date of death (<25%), and then increases over time such that data are generally at least 75% complete within 8 weeks of when the death occurred (8).
So the data are incomplete, but the percent of expected deaths shows how many deaths from all causes occurred in 2020 compared to other years. If the number is 100, there is basically no change. Over 100% means that there were “excessive” deaths. Under 100% means that fewer people died than expected.
Most of the states are around 100. This means that for those states, the Wuhan Virus has not resulted in an increase of the death rate. For instance, the “virus-ravaged” states of Georgia, Florida, and Texas are at 98, 99, and 99 percent respectively. This is also a running total, so the recent spike in those states may be bringing the death rate up now, but that means the overall rate was lower before.
This means the Wuhan Virus has killed a lot of people, but they would have likely died anyway. The overall death rate for the entire country is 104%, meaning that about 4% more people have died than would have otherwise.
There are also several outliers, and the biggest is: Guess where? The New York state overall death rate is 26% higher than average. But this excludes New York City, whose death rate is 103% higher than normal. That’s right, during the period of the pandemic, more than twice as many people died in the Big Apple compared to the same period in 2017-19. I didn’t do a deep data dive, but I’ll bet that, if you exclude New York, the pandemic resulted in fewer overall deaths in the US.
This actuarial way of looking at it may seem insensitive, but life insurance companies make a lot of money by figuring this stuff out. It looks like they’ll make a bundle this year.Published in