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Old 05-10-2020, 03:32 PM
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How Much Has COVID-19 Affected the Death Rate in the US?


Not sure if this belongs in GQ, but let's start here.

Do we know how much the death rate in the US has increased from the corona virus? I did some Googling, but I can't find anything. I can find lots of figures on how many people have died from it, but it is hard to figure out how much this has spiked the death rate. AFAICT the death rate in 2019 was 8.8 per thousand, and there have been about 80K deaths from COVID-19 so far. If there's 330 million of us, that would be about 2.9 million deaths in 2019. 2.9 million plus 70K isn't that much different.

Plus I can't figure out the math to calculate how much the average life expectancy is affected, since most of the COVID deaths are of elderly people with relatively shorter life expectancy, especially since most of them have underlying conditions that would affect their life expectancy. (Cite, if that's necessary.

Does anyone have better figures or a better grasp? Yes, it's a huge tragedy, but how huge?

TIA for any insights.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:40 PM
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Does anyone have better figures or a better grasp? Yes, it's a huge tragedy, but how huge?
The change in death rate is a terrible measure of the size of a tragedy. Was Sandy Hook not a huge tragedy?

Anyway. The Times tried to get the kind of data I think you're looking for, and although the data is now old, what they write about the difficulty in getting precise and up to date numbers of this kind is right on point for why you're having difficulty as well.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...oll-total.html
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:49 PM
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The other statistic you are looking for is Years of potential life lost.

Life expectancy is a measure for the living, and unless it turns out covid-19 is going to come back every year and kill a bunch of old people, this pandemic is not going to do much to change it.
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:56 PM
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Thanks!

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:28 PM
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I certainly don't have all of the figures you're looking for but one thing I think you're missing is the rate. Just taking your numbers at face value 2.9 million people die per year or about 260k per month. We've lost this 80k in about a month so that means we're seeing a 25% increase in dead people per month due to a single cause. That's a huge impact.

At 2,000 dead per day we're on pace for another 420k this year or pretty close to 500k total ( also about what the white house is projecting) so about 15% of all US deaths this year will be COVID.
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Old 05-10-2020, 09:48 PM
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Here in NJ there was one very depressing statistic. For at least the previous 5 years New Jersey recorded approximately 6,000 deaths from any cause in the month of April. Last year it was 5,992

This April there were 14,220.

https://nj1015.com/more-than-twice-a...han-last-year/
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:38 AM
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I certainly don't have all of the figures you're looking for but one thing I think you're missing is the rate. Just taking your numbers at face value 2.9 million people die per year or about 260k per month. We've lost this 80k in about a month so that means we're seeing a 25% increase in dead people per month due to a single cause. That's a huge impact.

At 2,000 dead per day we're on pace for another 420k this year or pretty close to 500k total ( also about what the white house is projecting) so about 15% of all US deaths this year will be COVID.
Not quite a nitpick - the 80K is the total of deaths since corona virus hit the US, so it is for 4-5 months. Of course you are correct that more deaths happened later than earlier but it might not be quite accurate to apply the whole 80K in one month's death rate.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 05-11-2020, 07:40 AM
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Not quite a nitpick - the 80K is the total of deaths since corona virus hit the US, so it is for 4-5 months. Of course you are correct that more deaths happened later than earlier but it might not be quite accurate to apply the whole 80K in one month's death rate.

Regards,
Shodan
You are correct. I wasn't in a position to look up april number separately so i just went with it. Its probably closer to 2 months than one. But considering there were like 2 deaths in February and 2,000 in March. 4-5 months is not correct either, I believe April had 60k deaths on it own.
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Old 05-11-2020, 07:47 AM
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The highways were sparse with traffic, and people have been taking extra steps to be careful health wise. Those factors alone should actually REDUCE the death rate to some extent, so this question is a tricky one and not so easy to answer.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:17 AM
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The highways were sparse with traffic, and people have been taking extra steps to be careful health wise. Those factors alone should actually REDUCE the death rate to some extent, so this question is a tricky one and not so easy to answer.
On a sililar note, in South Africa so far the corona-related banning of alcohol has saved more people than the virus has killed.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:21 AM
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Don't know if the OP is interested in other countries, but at least the Netherlands and the U.K. publish weekly estimates.

The figures should be similar in affected pockets in the U.S., although overall (across the whole population) I don't know if it would yet rise above the level of normal noise in that data.

Last edited by Frankenstein Monster; 05-11-2020 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:22 AM
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:54 AM
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I was arguing with someone on FB a few weeks ago who was trying to paint this as "not that big a deal" after NY's studies showed an overall fatality rate of .5%. At that point something like 30k Americans had died and projections were looking like 60k for this first wave, and with the fatality rate of .5% instead of the 3% that we initially feared he figured it was safe to call this whole thing overblown.

I simply took the population of America, multiplied it by .5% and another 70% for herd immunity to show him that even his own rosy outlook was 1.5 million dead Americans, or more than 50% of an average year's deaths.


It continues to amaze me how otherwise intelligent people can take whatever today's current number is and try to put it into some kind of perspective, completely disregarding the trend lines and the obvious future they hold for us. Why the hell would you say something like "2.9 million plus 70K isn't that much different" when it's bleedingly obvious that 70k or 80k is not going to be where the number stops?
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:04 AM
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Here's a couple graphs that show the death rate of coronavirus against the death rate from other causes by month. They both show that coronavirus is the leading cause of death for the month ending in April when the article was written. This was written when the death rate was 36K.

If you average out the deaths over the course of the year, you could probably get it to look like the death rate was less impactful. You could probably get it to look less impactful in a number of other ways too. But the fact that it happened so fast is part of the point.

This graph shows that coronavirus had overtaken heart disease, the leading cause of death in the US, in a very short amount of time.

This one shows it in a more animated fashion. (from russian heel)

Both in this post along with a Chris Hayes video when the death rate was 36K. In the video, several Fox News commentators kept stressing that 60K people died from the flu in the year. In that chart Tucker Carlson put out, coronavirus is likely to overtake all causes of death by disease in 2018 for that year, except for cancer. Hopefully, it doesn't overtake cancer at 606K.
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Old 05-11-2020, 12:22 PM
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What I think the OP is really driving at is how meany deaths the virus has added over a theoretical state where there isn't a SARS-CoV-2. Determining additional deaths gets you past the frequent talking point people have that hospitals are falsely saying everyone's dying of COVID-19, and it gets you past the very real point that it's not always clear what a person died of; if Bill was pretty sick already, did he die of COVID-19 or the heart disease he already had? An epidemiological approach here is to figure out the total increased mortality.

To figure that out, of course, we'd need to know how many people would normally have died in the USA over the course of COVID-19. As it happens, you can guess at that by how many people died in the same period in 2019; it was approximately 950,000 from January 1, 2019 to April 30, 2019. So how many people have died in the USA in January-April 2020?

Well I'll be damned if I can find that number, so if anyone can, I think you in advance, but bear in mind some analysis would have to be put into that to account for other possibly conflating factors.
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Old 05-11-2020, 01:26 PM
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What I think the OP is really driving at is how meany deaths the virus has added over a theoretical state where there isn't a SARS-CoV-2. Determining additional deaths gets you past the frequent talking point people have that hospitals are falsely saying everyone's dying of COVID-19, and it gets you past the very real point that it's not always clear what a person died of; if Bill was pretty sick already, did he die of COVID-19 or the heart disease he already had? An epidemiological approach here is to figure out the total increased mortality.
I'm not 100% sure I'm following you. But if you wanted to see how many Covid-19 deaths are over and above average deaths that wouldn't have happened if Covid-19 didn't occur, wouldn't you have to take into account the deaths that didn't happen because of the lockdown? There was a decrease in traffic accidents, work related accidents, trauma, heart attacks, etc. due to the lockdown. Gov. Cuomo talked about this in New York. It's the reason that the number of beds that was originally predicted was high. It's because they were expecting the normal rate of hospital beds, but found that the number of non-Covid patients was much reduced due to the shutdown. Even the people not dying of pollution was said to be significant.
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:36 PM
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Well I'll be damned if I can find that number, so if anyone can, I think you in advance, but bear in mind some analysis would have to be put into that to account for other possibly conflating factors.
I don't have that precise number, but the New York Times article posted earlier does try to look at that for specific localities. It's basically comparing the historically expected death rates for certain months against what we're actually seeing.

As you point out that number is difficult to assign directly to COVID-19. Direct COVID-19 deaths could be higher because less people are getting injured in car accidents or the like; I was going to point out the South Africa article that someone beat me to which suggests the decrease in car accidents, drunk violence, drinking and driving, etc. caused by the lockdown might even have exceeded the number of COVID-19 deaths. But the deaths could be lower too if there are a lot of cases of people avoiding treating life threatening unrelated disease if they're too scared to go to the hospital right now.

My armchair view is that these statistics suggest an overall pattern of underreporting. I'm not claiming intentionally, at least in most United States states, although these raw numbers certainly do make it more difficult to deliberately underreport (this New York Times article about Moscow comes to mind).
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Old 05-11-2020, 04:02 PM
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Not the whole U.S., but this from the Associated Press says that New York City recorded 24,000 more deaths from March 11-May 2 than would normally be expected.

Not all those deaths can be attributed directly to Covid-19. Some may have been people who were afraid to seek medical help for fear of being exposed. Others died at home where no exact cause of death could be determined.
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:06 PM
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Not all those deaths can be attributed directly to Covid-19. Some may have been people who were afraid to seek medical help for fear of being exposed. Others died at home where no exact cause of death could be determined.
I'll say again: Not all corpses are tested for COVID so we likely CANNOT know exactly how many deaths are caused by 1) COVID itself, 2) secondary infections, 3) non-COVID factors, or collateral damage - negligence by someone. What we CAN measure are "excess deaths"; in the COVID era we CAN blame them all on the virus. The casualty count without COVID would be X less. Yes, X marks the spot. If American death count goes from about 2.8 million in 2019 to about 4 million in 2020 then X is over a million.
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Heffalump and Roo View Post
I'm not 100% sure I'm following you. But if you wanted to see how many Covid-19 deaths are over and above average deaths that wouldn't have happened if Covid-19 didn't occur, wouldn't you have to take into account the deaths that didn't happen because of the lockdown? There was a decrease in traffic accidents, work related accidents, trauma, heart attacks, etc. due to the lockdown.
Yes, you would, though heart attacks in particular might not be an area of reduction in places where the health care system was seriously overtaxed.
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