Coronavirus Update: Excess Deaths Analysis

 

We are suffering a major spike in Covid deaths, with reported daily deaths exceeding the prior spike in late April. There is good reason for the recent tightening of lockdown and mask requirements, as annoying as they may be, though the situation will vary by individual location.

I’ve read comments by a number of Ricochetti expressing skepticism of the Covid death reports. These concerns are understandable and legitimate, as the coding and reporting of cause of death are never perfect. There is an argument that people are being reported as dying from Covid when, perhaps, they only died with Covid. I don’t know of a way to fully evaluate this concern, but I think that comparing reported Covid deaths to overall “excess deaths” will provide a reasonable reality-check on the figures.

I have calculated “excess deaths” based on weekly CDC data of total deaths, defining “excess deaths” in 2020 as the number of reported deaths, for each week in 2020, that exceeds the average reported deaths for 2017-2020 in the corresponding week.  Note that “excess deaths” are significantly underreported in recent weeks, as all of the deaths for these weeks have not yet been reported.

Here is the chart:

Reported Covid deaths is the red line, and my calculation of excess deaths is the blue line.  As you can see, the spike in excess deaths in March-April was even higher than the reported Covid deaths, and this was true of the Covid “second wave” in the summer.  The Covid death figures show the recent spike, which I expect to be reflected in the CDC death figures as the reports are processed.

Note that I truncated the excess deaths line at November 14, because the reporting for the recent weeks is so incomplete that the calculation shows a large negative number (which would mess up the chart).

Total reported Covid deaths for the dates in the graph are 281,185, for March 1 to December 5.  Excess deaths, by my calculation, are 343,675 for the same period — and remember, this number will get higher as full death counts are reported for the last couple of months.

Here is the graph of total reported weekly deaths for 2020, compared to the average for 2017-2019, together with a line for the difference (which are the “excess deaths”).  The excess death line, also shown in blue, is the same as in the first graph, though the larger scale on the y-axis makes the peaks appear less accentuated.

The yellow line is weekly deaths in 2020 from all causes, and the green line is the 2017-2019 average of weekly deaths from all causes (for the corresponding week).

I think that this data demonstrates that the Covid death reporting is reasonably accurate.  It is possible that some non-Covid deaths are being erroneously classified as Covid deaths, and it is also possible that some Covid deaths are missed in the Covid reporting.  I should note that some of the excess deaths in 2020 may be the indirect result of Covid — for example, due to people without Covid who die from another cause because they have not sought treatment, or “deaths of despair.”

I hope that this information proves useful.  We’re in for a rough time, with average weekly Covid deaths exceeding 15,000 at present, and climbing.

ChiCom delenda est.

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  1. Headedwest Inactive
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    What about the financial incentive to code a death as due to Covid?

    • #1
  2. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Technical note: My data source for US Covid deaths is Johns Hopkins (here – filename time_series_covid19_deaths_US.csv).  My data source for weekly US deaths is the CDC (here – Download Data section, CSV Format subsection, select “National and State Estimates of Excess Deaths”).

    • #2
  3. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Thank you, Gerry.

    I think the truth death count may actually be higher. I think that probably some of the January 2020 through March 2020 deaths that were attributed to “Flu (pneumonia)” were possibly covid-19 deaths–especially since we’ve seen in South America that where the covid-19 virus is active, the flu tends to not be–but we’ll never know. As I understand it, the virus dies with the host, and we can’t determine what type of virus it was. Also, I’d love to know the number of people across the country who died at home of seemingly natural causes, never having called for help. I think a lot of older people were too afraid to go the hospital last winter and early spring. The stories coming out of the New York City and Boston hospitals–people dying alone and terrified in ICUs surrounded by masked strangers and the ventilators–would have scared a lot of people from going to those hospitals for help.

    These numbers are impossible to determine with absolute accuracy. Nevertheless, I trust the hospitals in my own state to be reporting as accurately as they can. The virus has killed a lot of older people in Massachusetts.

    Looking at the statistics from the past winter and spring is a little like looking at the police reports from a highway pileup accident involving a hundred cars.

    • #3
  4. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Thank you, Gerry.

    I think the truth death count may actually be higher. I think that there probably some of the January 2020 through March 2020 deaths that were attributed to “Flu (pneumonia)” were possibly covid-19 deaths–especially since we’ve seen in South America that where the covid-19 virus is active, the flu tends to not be–but we’ll never know. As I understand it, the virus dies with the host, and we can’t determine what type of virus it was. Also, I’d love to know the number of people across the country who died at home of seemingly natural causes, never having called for help. I think a lot of older people were too afraid to go the hospital last winter and early spring. The stories coming out of the New York City and Boston hospitals–people dying alone and terrified in ICUs surrounded by masked strangers and the ventilators–would have scared a lot of people from going to those hospitals for help.

    These numbers are impossible to determine with absolute accuracy. Nevertheless, I trust the hospitals in my own state to be reporting as accurately as they can. The virus has killed a lot of older people in Massachusetts.

    Looking at the statistics from the past winter and spring is a little like looking at the police reports from a highway pileup accident involving a hundred cars.

     

    Marci, I didn’t take the charts back to January or February, but there were not a significant number of excess deaths before March.  For most weeks in that period, 2020 was actually a bit lower than the 2017-2019 average.

    • #4
  5. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: We are suffering a major spike in Covid deaths, with reported daily deaths exceeding the prior spike in late April. There is good reason for the recent tightening of lockdown and mask requirements, as annoying as they may be, though the situation will vary by individual location.

    This is a dangerous blatant non sequitur argument.

    • #5
  6. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Jerry, my hat’s off to you for a continued, high quality reading on the data. Back when it looked relatively good for us (medically and politically), you presented a clear and honest picture of the facts; and when, frankly, it looks bad, you still present a clear and honest picture. 

    • #6
  7. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    Thanks for doing this analysis

    Two additional relevant points:

    There has been a lot of discussion about what Covid hospitalization numbers mean.  Are they hospitalized because of covid, or for other reasons and also have covid?  I’ve search around for data and recently found two data points which I report on here.  The state of Iowa recently reported that 73% of its covid hospitalization patients had covid as their primary diagnosis and 27% had it as a secondary diagnosis.  And the Boston Globe recently reported that at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (the largest in the state), 30% of covid hospitalizations were of patients originally hospitalized for other reasons and most of those 30% were asymptomatic.  I don’t know if these two data points (which are roughly consistent) hold for the rest of the country.

    Global data also provides some context for U.S. death counts (for below I am only using countries of more than 1 million population).

    There are about 28 countries with a total mortality rate of 600 or more per million (and going up to 1,500 per million), including the U.S.  The U.S. rate is 900.  I use a wide range because how each country determines covid deaths is different and difficult to determine.

    And over the past few days there are about three dozen countries with daily death rates in excess of 1,000 a day (up to 6,000) scaled up to the U.S. population.

    This analysis contradicts the drumbeat from the media and Left that there is something uniquely bad about the U.S. covid response.  It is also consistent with the U.S. not overcounting covid deaths.

    • #7
  8. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Jerry, my hat’s off to you for a continued, high quality reading on the data. Back when it looked relatively good for us (medically and politically), you presented a clear and honest picture of the facts; and when, frankly, it looks bad, you still present a clear and honest picture.

    I appreciate getting true facts.  I appreciate defense of our political and moral principles and of good policies based on true facts plus those principles.

    I don’t appreciate people adopting the leftist practice of declaring some facts and then claiming without argument that they imply some policies that violate our principles.  Non sequitur arguments for despotic government.

    Whoever has facts, let him present them.  Whoever has a logical moral or political argument…

    • If facts A are true, then we should do B.
    • Facts A are true.
    • Therefore, we should do B.

    A non sequitur argument has only the second two assertions. It is missing the first. For example,

    • Fact A is true: We are suffering a major spike in Covid deaths, with reported daily deaths exceeding the prior spike in late April.
    • Therefore the state should use its monopoly on legal violence to “tighten the lockdown”, whatever the state decides is “the lockdown”, or stop people from worshiping, or going out in this kind of boat instead of that kind, or force them to do whatever appears to their neighbors to be “wearing a mask”

    It was the responsibility of educators to teach us how to think.  How to use reason to reach conclusions about the concrete problems of society as they arise.

    They’ve failed us.

    • #8
  9. DonG (Biden is compromised) Coolidge
    DonG (Biden is compromised)
    @DonG

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: We are suffering a major spike in Covid deaths, with reported daily deaths exceeding the prior spike in late April. There is good reason for the recent tightening of lockdown and mask requirements, as annoying as they may be, though the situation will vary by individual location.

    This is a dangerous blatant non sequitur argument.

    For example, if the excess deaths are caused by Big Pharma blocking effective treatments, the correct response to more deaths is MORE TREATMENTS. 

    • #9
  10. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker
    @CarolJoy

    There are other reports coming out stating this is not the case. No increase in deaths.

    As far as increases in cases, PT 1:

    • #10
  11. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Jerry, my hat’s off to you for a continued, high quality reading on the data. Back when it looked relatively good for us (medically and politically), you presented a clear and honest picture of the facts; and when, frankly, it looks bad, you still present a clear and honest picture.

    I appreciate getting true facts. I appreciate defense of our political and moral principles and of good policies based on true facts plus those principles.

    I don’t appreciate people adopting the leftist practice of declaring some facts and then claiming without argument that they imply some policies that violate our principles. Non sequitur arguments for despotic government.

    Whoever has facts, let him present them. Whoever has a logical moral or political argument…

    • If facts A are true, then we should do B.
    • Facts A are true.
    • Therefore, we should do B.

    A non sequitur argument has only the second two assertions. It is missing the first.

    It is the responsibility of educators to teach us how to think. How to use reason to reach conclusions about the concrete problems of society as they arise.

    They’ve failed us.

    When leftists were screaming that Covid was the Black Plague, ready to kill tens of millions, Giordano took a risky stand; he calmly did the numbers and suggested that we were nowhere near that kind of nightmare situation. When others claimed that masks and shutdowns were a perfect defense, he presented evidence to the contrary.He challenged us to prove that this wasn’t the equivalent of a really bad flu. It was safe to back Jerry in that hypothesis, because he never denied that a really bad flu was a really bad thing, sometimes fatal. In short, he built up a lot of credibility. Plus there isn’t a trace of NeverTrump in him. He’s got no reason to make the current facts make any worse than they are. 

    So I extend his analysis some trust. I’m cautious about it, because he and I are all but certain to tangle over some issue or another, and it’s not wise to give a potential future debate opponent too much of a swelled head. But when he’s right, he’s right. 

    • #11
  12. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker
    @CarolJoy

    As far as increases in COVID cases, the teachers story continues, Pt 2:

     

    • #12
  13. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker
    @CarolJoy

    As far as COIVD cases and their increases, teacher’s story continues, Pt 3:

    • #13
  14. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Have covid deaths had a significant effect on life expectancy?  If it has in your opinion, how much has it declined?

    • #14
  15. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    I have finally had someone I know die of COVID. She was my baby sitter when I was a small child. She was 13 then She was 88 years old when she died. Her mother lived to be 98. Her name was Eleanor Schano.

    She was a local celebrity in Pittsburgh becoming the first female in the TV industry. I shall do a post about her soon.

     

     

    • #15
  16. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: We are suffering a major spike in Covid deaths, with reported daily deaths exceeding the prior spike in late April. There is good reason for the recent tightening of lockdown and mask requirements, as annoying as they may be, though the situation will vary by individual location.

    This is a dangerous blatant non sequitur argument.

    No, Mark, it’s not.  One of the functions of government is to enact measures to protect the public health and safety.  This is true everywhere outside of that fantastical, invisible Colorado valley in Ayn Rand’s imagination.

    Liberty is not the only value.  If it were, we couldn’t even set speed limits.  Life is more complicated than that.

    I don’t support every lockdown measure.  It’s a question of balance.  My point is that there is good reason for authorities to impose additional restrictions now, as the daily death rate is increasing.

    • #16
  17. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN
    • #17
  18. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Have covid deaths had a significant effect on life expectancy? If it has in your opinion, how much has it declined?

    Mark, I don’t think that I have the data to analyze this.  I’m not sure of the precise details of how the calculation is done — I know how I would do it, but I don’t know if the official method would be the same.  It would depend on the data available.

    The CDC reports deaths by age category.  I assume that they have the data by the age of each person who dies — for example, how many 20-year-olds died, how many 65-year-olds, and so forth.  I think that the general method of calculation is to determine the overall risk of death for each year, then use those percentages to calculate an expected value.

    I still have my spreadsheet open, so I can give some additional data.  Thus far, through Nov. 28, the CDC data shows 2,926,095 deaths in 2020, while the average for 2017-2019 in the same period was 2,604,659.  That’s a 12% increase, and it doesn’t include all of the deaths in 2020 through November 28.

    I estimate that we’ll have an increase in deaths of about 15-16% in 2020, when all of the data is in.

    • #18
  19. Headedwest Inactive
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Have covid deaths had a significant effect on life expectancy? If it has in your opinion, how much has it declined?

    Mark, I don’t think that I have the data to analyze this. I’m not sure of the precise details of how the calculation is done — I know how I would do it, but I don’t know if the official method would be the same. It would depend on the data available.

    I have seen some statistics (sorry, didn’t save the sources) that the average age of people dying of Covid is higher than the average life expectancy. Which, if true, directly speaks to the effect on life expectancy.

    • #19
  20. She Member
    She
    @She

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I have finally had someone I know die of COVID. She was my baby sitter when I was a small child. She was 13 then She was 88 years old when she died. Her mother lived to be 98. Her name was Eleanor Schano.

    She was a local celebrity in Pittsburgh becoming the first female in the TV industry. I shall do a post about her soon

    I remember her well!

     

    • #20
  21. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: There is good reason for the recent tightening of lockdown and mask requirements, as annoying as they may be, though the situation will vary by individual location.

    I don’t see any good reason for lockdowns and mask requirements. The masks are theater and the lockdowns have ruined countless lives. We’ve thrown out common sense and now look to power mad politicians to tell us what we can and can’t do. And most of them don’t believe their own BS – watch what they do, not what they say.

    • #21
  22. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    The CDC reports deaths by age category. I assume that they have the data by the age of each person who dies — for example, how many 20-year-olds died, how many 65-year-olds, and so forth.

    Why is this not reported everyday?  I believe that this type of info would be very clarifying.  My thought is that the breakdown would be very revealing.

    • #22
  23. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    The CDC reports deaths by age category. I assume that they have the data by the age of each person who dies — for example, how many 20-year-olds died, how many 65-year-olds, and so forth.

    Why is this not reported everyday? I believe that this type of info would be very clarifying. My thought is that the breakdown would be very revealing.

    I have been following this CDC chart which shows that a full 80% of deaths are over the age of 65. I doubt that this age group are the ones out congregating in restaurants, stores, etc. So why are the lockdowns and business closings necessary?

    https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Provisional-COVID-19-Death-Counts-by-Sex-Age-and-S/9bhg-hcku

    BTW I don’t know why some of the counts have overlapping age groups – perhaps because the ages of some of the deaths are estimated?

    • #23
  24. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    The CDC reports deaths by age category. I assume that they have the data by the age of each person who dies — for example, how many 20-year-olds died, how many 65-year-olds, and so forth.

    Why is this not reported everyday? I believe that this type of info would be very clarifying. My thought is that the breakdown would be very revealing.

    Every state provides age breakdowns, though the specific age categories sometimes differ.  In AZ, as of today, 72% of deaths are 65 or older.  I think the figure is between 70-80% in every state I’ve looked at.

    • #24
  25. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    The CDC reports deaths by age category. I assume that they have the data by the age of each person who dies — for example, how many 20-year-olds died, how many 65-year-olds, and so forth.

    Why is this not reported everyday? I believe that this type of info would be very clarifying. My thought is that the breakdown would be very revealing.

    Every state provides age breakdowns, though the specific age categories sometimes differ. In AZ, as of today, 72% of deaths are 65 or older. I think the figure is between 70-80% in every state I’ve looked at.

    There is no question in my mind about the answer to Buckpasser’s question. The leftist establishment is systematically deceiving the public by creating hysteria to justify its assault on liberty and the rule of law. The public must be made to believe covid is much more of a risk than it is, or the public would not agree to such draconian measures.

    • #25
  26. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    The husband of one of my daughters lost his grandfather yesterday to covid and viral pneumonia. His wife had a mild case of covid but recovered even though she is taking chemo. I have heard that blood type is a factor, O blood does better than B blood. I know the elderly are affected because they are. I longer making many T cells. Also, a young school teacher here died last week prompting calls to close schools. That is crazy. There is no reason to assume she caught it in school.  

    • #26
  27. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    Right. Covid death “spike,” but excess deaths are down and all other causes of death have virtually disappeared. But that doesn’t seem to be raising many red flags…

    The biggest covid casualty is critical thinking.

    • #27
  28. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    It would be helpful to have stats on excess deaths from suicide, drug and alcohol overdoses, and murder. 

    • #28
  29. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker
    @CarolJoy

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Jerry, my hat’s off to you SNIP

    I appreciate getting true facts. I appreciate defense of our political and moral principles and of good policies based on true facts plus those principles.

    I don’t appreciate people adopting the leftist practice of declaring some facts and then claiming without argument that they imply some policies that violate our principles. Non sequitur arguments for despotic government.

    Whoever has facts, let him present them. Whoever has a logical moral or political argument…

    • If facts A are true, then we should do B.
    • Facts A are true.
    • Therefore, we should do B.

    A non sequitur argument has only the second two assertions. It is missing the first.

    It is the responsibility of educators to teach us how to think. SNIP

    They’ve failed us.

    When leftists were screaming that Covid was the Black Plague, ready to kill tens of millions, Giordano took a risky stand; SNIP When others claimed that masks and shutdowns were a perfect defense, he presented evidence to the contrary.He challenged us to prove that this wasn’t the equivalent of a really bad flu. It was safe to back Jerry in that hypothesis, because he never denied that a really bad flu was a really bad thing, sometimes fatal. In short, he built up a lot of credibility. Plus there isn’t a trace of NeverTrump in him. He’s got no reason to make the current facts make any worse than they are.

    So I extend his analysis some trust. SNIP  But when he’s right, he’s right.

    Very nicely put.

    My big reservation is how co morbitidy deaths  are still continuing to be considered “Death by Covid.” It is also true that those authorities offering us the “up to the moment data on COVID” are often proven wrong 6 weeks later, so relying on recent data  is extremely problematic.

    After all, remember how early on, both the NE Journal of Medicine and The Lancet published that faulty research on HCQ and its protocols?

    Of course, those two venerable journalistic enterprises had to retract the articles. However a retraction always is mentioned on Page 21 of the NYT’s while the original story runs on Page One or 2. So that way the public was early on convinced that the vaxx was the only way to go.

    What that suggests is that since Congress has already created legislation making it very easy to use re-purpose a drug, then HCQ + zinc + Z pac should now be authorized.The reason it hasn’t been is this:

    I would have lost my job as a home health aide for withholding Rx meds for a  patient in my care who then died. I’d love to see the Gates/Fauci Global Med Mafia be jailed for every death above the 1% mark due to the withholding of this remedy. And for all the vaxx deaths/injuries to come.

    • #29
  30. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: We are suffering a major spike in Covid deaths, with reported daily deaths exceeding the prior spike in late April. There is good reason for the recent tightening of lockdown and mask requirements, as annoying as they may be, though the situation will vary by individual location.

    This is a dangerous blatant non sequitur argument.

    No, Mark, it’s not. One of the functions of government is to enact measures to protect the public health and safety. This is true everywhere outside of that fantastical, invisible Colorado valley in Ayn Rand’s imagination.

    Liberty is not the only value. If it were, we couldn’t even set speed limits. Life is more complicated than that.

    I don’t support every lockdown measure. It’s a question of balance. My point is that there is good reason for authorities to impose additional restrictions now, as the daily death rate is increasing.

    There are all sorts of things that would be good to do, especially protecting the vulnerable, but what is the evidence for more restrictions since we cannot stop the virus but only slow it down?  As the Great Barrington Declaration authors wrote, lockdowns have never been seen as good public health policy. Let people make their own decisions about risk, but don’t destroy some people’s lives for the supposed sake of others, and especially the young for the old (and I am pushing 80) not that we really care about the old, since we have forced so many to die alone. 

    • #30
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