Significant undercount in U.S. coronavirus deaths: report

Originally published at:


This will be packaged as “the media is inflating Covid-19 deaths to hurt the president’s re-election bid” in 3…2…


Wait. Are you suggesting this administration lied to make not only their previous lies look like smaller lies, but to justify their new lies about how soon we can “reopen” the economy?


That’s been a common narrative on the right since long before this report.


They are already being accused of over counting deaths. The premise of memes are that no one is dying from anything else any more. Crashed your car into a tree? Died of Covid19. etc.


a starting point for scientists seeking to understand the full impact of the disease.

So, no one in the current administration.


It’s hardly a matter of lying, just people dying and no one testing if they had Covid or died from it. It’s been reported for a long time that there was excess mortality in NY with people dying at home way more than usual. You find the same to varying degree in all countries.


It’s pretty impressive none the less to track the progress of the virus by the total number of dead people minus the seasonally adjusted average across the whole country by month. Not many countries can do that. There are also less driving accidents when people are not commuting, or doing most of their other leisure stuff, so this could well be an underestimate.

For the UK, the Office for National Statistics says the age-standardised mortality rate for deaths registered in Quarter 1 2018 was 1,187 deaths per 100,000 population – a statistically significant increase of 5% from Quarter 1 2017 and the highest rate since 2009. This would be about 35,000 deaths in the UK, where the known coronavirus deaths is given at about 20,000. So, it is possibly measurable but hard to separate from the background, as 2009 had no virus.

It would be better if the US figures had plotted several of the previous years so we had an idea of scatter.


the eu standard is to count probable deaths. not sure that every country is doing it, but i guess that caused a big uptick in ireland’s deaths last week. we’re definitely far from that method


Here is an EU site for that kind of data. I assume the reliability varies a lot between the member states:

People are going to spend a long time trying to crunch data in various ways to sort out how many people Covid really kills.


No issue with the numbers, but a graph with non-zero baseline feels misleading - especially with so much of the 40,000-50,000 range showing.


I wonder about suicides. A guy in a local nursing home attempted suicide last night, they won’t send him to the hospital for a mental health check because that’s dangerous, and besides, he’s pretty rational. No visitors for six weeks now, I can see why he despairs, and that’s all a direct result of COVID-19.


Excess deaths is the strategy used in the 2007 paper by Markel et al. to determine how much effect different cities achieved by their social distancing


I am facing a barrage of conspiracy theorist garbage since chiming in on a social media jobs site that they should probably moderate comments that are literally calling Bill and Melinda Gates “murderers.” To those people, any change in statistics that go against their Covid conspiracy beliefs is itself a conspiracy. So now “doctors are being pressured to record deaths that weren’t Covid as Covid deaths. Can’t you see it’s ALL A LIE?!???!?”


Total excess deaths are definitely the better number to use that “deaths of people with confirmed active covid-19 infections.” I wonder if it would make sense to adjust that for the fact that lockdowns mean people have fewer traffic-related and work-related deaths and serious injuries (this would push the “excess” number even higher)?

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That is also what happens when you prevent people from having “non-essential” surgeries and treatments.

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oh, that’s okay. this is america. nobody can afford those interventions anyway.

it’s why we have such high death rates, lower life expectancies, higher infant mortality, higher numbers of pregnant mothers deaths, etc. relative to other economically similar countries.

our excess death numbers relative to our everyday are probably pretty accurately covid.


Right? How many working class people, especially of color, had to forego living saving treatment, because they couldn’t get insurance or had terrible insurance? How many of those people died from easily preventable diseases because of that fact? And why do middle class white people care about rationing NOW instead of prior to this, when the private, for profit health care system has been rationing all kind of care for years now?


German prime time news. Webpages /faktenfinder/ (fact finder) up and running, often to debunk bullshit, this time to report (among others) excess mortality, mostly in countries around Germany which have been hit hard.

Have a look at the table with the z-values. That’s in standard deviation units. The link provided is english, if you want to know details.

Holy shit.
And we still have people on large news outlets who are allowed to state that we do not need restrictions, never needed them, because statistics would be showing the infections were already in decline (in Germany) on March 9th.

And psychologists with statistical background who claim that all the hype would be due to wrong statistical assumptions, highlighting that more testing automatically caused higher numbers, so we had to correct for that and tadaaaaah - not much to see here.

I’m so tired. I know how difficult it is to see my own limitations, but this?


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kind of like how it’s taken meth and heroin affecting white communities for people to realize that maybe long prison sentences aren’t the best way of handling the war on drugs.