Have we numbers of excess deaths, regardless of causes?

Have we numbers of excess deaths, regardless of causes? ISTM that as we really don’t know how many deaths are directly caused by COVID, comparing current death statistics to prior years should give a more inclusive picture of the impact.

It’s not just those killed directly, but the medical care they divert from victims of other woes, like cardiac patients dying on gurneys in hospital corridors because the ICUs are full, or dead at home because ambulance crews are sick. They’re not COVID infected (or likely aren’t tested) so they don’t add to an official virus toll. Can we count the collateral damage?

Watch for the statement, “they died after being diagnosed with COVID 19”. Big difference from, “They died from CIVID 19”.

Huge opportunity to classify phenomena, heart disease, etc. as a COVID 19 death in order to pad the scary numbers.

Let’s see if there are really a lot of “excess deaths”. Almost 7500 people die each day in the US; wouldn’t take much to slide a few into the COVID 19 death column.

(Oh boy. Am I in trouble now!)

Easy. Yes. For example - average death rate in the US applied to NYC is 200 per day. Right now it is what? 3 times that attributed to Corvid-19. Even if every death, for every possible cause, from car accidents to murder was intentionally miss-attributed to Corvid-19, you have a major excess of deaths.

You can use a figure a roughly 850 deaths per annum per 100,000 people across most western countries. 23 per million per day. After that you are in excess. Seasonal variation is still a factor, but it doesn’t make enough of a difference here.

I’d count the 300-plus Iranians who died from methanol poisoning after a rumor started that drinking it would prevent or cure it as excess deaths.


I’m not familiar with where the US data is for this kind of thing, but I just pulled some UK data down from the national statistics - this is per-week, deaths COVID, and deaths all causes

Week 10 - 10898 (2019) vs 10895 (2020), 0 COVID
Week 11 - 10567 (2019) vs 11019 (2020), 5 COVID
Week 12 - 10402 (2019) vs 10645 (2020), 103 COVID
Week 13 - 9867 (2019) vs 11141 (2020), 539 COVID

So, the week 13 data is the first time we would really expect to see a COVID effect on general deaths and look at that - the number’s a thousand more than last year, only half of which is attributed to the virus.

See also Darren Garrison’s link from the Breaking News thread about New York EMTs suddenly seeing a couple of hundred excess heart attack deaths every day, which are getting listed as just heart attacks.

The numbers may be imprecise, but not necessarily in the direction you think.

I’m not sure who you’re addressing, but I say we’ll see many more deaths than just the COVID counts. And no, I don’t expect reliable numbers for many months yet.

Just a thought for those doing excess death calculations: you also should control for the change in population from one year the next, whatever that happens to be, as well as the change in the population pyramid, however slight it may be.

Here’s a weekly death chart for the past 5 years:


You can see that the year-to-year deaths do have some variation. The low point seems pretty consistent at 50k, but the high points vary between 55k-67k. Don’t pay too much attention to the most recent data, as they point out that the it takes a while for deaths to be reported and included in the data. The most recent weeks will always be incomplete.

Not so easy.

Excess mortality calculations really cannot be done in real time and need to do a lot more than compare to average daily death rates over a short period.

In the simplest formulation you do not know how many are dying now (because of the acute stress of an infection) that would have died in next several months without having had COVID-19. It can only be determined retrospectively looking at a longer period of time, generally a year. In this specific case there are other confounders … how many lives saved by fewer car accidents and gun shot deaths? how many died because of care delayed by avoiding going in for other care either due to cancellations or fear of exposures? what number of deaths occur over the next year due to food and housing insecurity resultant of this period? or from suicide over the next months due to the impacts of social isolation and economic stressors? Do you calculate exclusively as lives or as years of life lost?

Excess mortality is not only the acute numbers and the acute numbers can mislead. Decent even minimally believable excess mortality numbers will be along time coming.

I didn’t know where to put this one and didn’t want to start a new thread for it, so this one is close enough, I guess. 56-year-old gets diagnosed with Covid, walks out of the hospital, and drops dead.

Agreed. The point I’m making is that the excess is sufficiently large that is it very hard to make a case that Covid-19 is not a significant player. Nothing more.

One would be very foolish to use acute numbers of excess deaths as a parameter for any sort decision making or as a proxy metric for anything.

I don’t imagine that anyone sane is thinking that COVID-19 is not a significant player.

You haven’t met some of my friends. I’m not kidding. :frowning:

It maybe a true Scotsman but …

Let’s keep in mind that we’re not living in typical times. For example, I’m sure the deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents will be far below average for this month. And the social isolation will reduce the number of people who contract other diseases like the flu.

Well I put salt in my porridge.

Have the right wing gotten around to blaming excess deaths on stay-at-home orders yet, or are they still too busy with the “deaths are wrongly assigned to COVID-19”?

Not sure what your point is here.

“The city medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.” Or have you, in your ultimate wisdom, determined he died from COVID 19?

Please note that the story said, “A retired NYPD sergeant left an Upper East Side hospital after he was diagnosed with COVID-19”. The story makes no claim that his diagnosis had anything to do with his death.

Which is the actual point I was making, and the reason I finally settled on this thread.
Believe it or not, not everyone who actually thinks the virus is a real problem and not a Giant Conspiracy is as stupid as you think that they are.

Are you if the belief that the number of those will be zero and that all consideration of those impacts is automatically Right wing?