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When there’s a public health crisis or disaster like the coronavirus pandemic, experts know that the official death tally is going to be an undercount by some extent. Some people who die might never have been tested for the disease, for example, and if people die at home without receiving medical care, they might not make it into the confirmed data.

To address that, researchers often look to what are called excess deaths — the number of deaths overall during a particular period of time compared to how many people die during the stretch in a normal year.

Now, in the most updated count to date, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that nearly 300,000 more people in the United States died from late January to early October this year compared the average number of people who died in recent years. Just two-thirds of those deaths were counted as Covid-19 fatalities, highlighting how the official U.S. death count — now standing at about 220,000 — is not fully inclusive.


To be exact, the researchers reported that 299,028 more people died from Jan. 26 to Oct. 3 this year than on average during the same stretch from 2015 to 2019. Excess deaths also occurred at higher rates among Latinx, Asian, American Indian, and Black people than among white people, mirroring the disparities in official U.S. Covid-19 death counts.

Most likely, the excess deaths account for some otherwise untallied Covid-19 deaths — those who may have died without being tested or who died at home and whose deaths were not counted as caused by the coronavirus. But the 300,000 number probably also includes people who died because they were scared to seek out medical care because of the pandemic or had their care interrupted, and because of other causes. One limitation of the study, the researchers noted, was that the U.S. population is growing and getting older, so more deaths might have occurred in 2020 versus recent years without a pandemic, making a direct comparison harder.


Deaths among white people in 2020 were just 11.9% higher than average years, a much lower increase than deaths among Latinx people (53.6% higher than average), Asian people (36.6% higher), Black people (32.9% higher), and American Indians and Alaska Natives (28.9% higher). “These disproportionate increases among certain racial and ethnic groups are consistent with noted disparities in Covid-19 mortality,” the researchers wrote.

There were also differences among different age groups, with the largest increase occurring among people age 25 to 44, who saw excess deaths that were 26.5% higher than average. People 45 to 64 had 14.4% more deaths, while those 65 to 74 had 24.1% more deaths. Deaths among people 75 to 84 were 21.5% higher and 14.7% higher for people 85 and above. Deaths this year for people under 25, however, were 2% below average.

  • In other words, this is just another meaningless statistic because it provides zero additional useful information about the IFR or CFR. It’s just more anecdote heaped upon anecdote if we have no breakdown of the actual causes of deaths.

    • I also have been fully impacted personally by the excessive number of suicides that had causation rooted in the pandemic (no job/income, no social time, etc). This was not factored in at all either. I would say some of those statistics when compared to suicide rates during recessions would show some interesting correlation.

    • The timeline graphs available in the report confirm a clear corresponding relationship between the deaths attributed to Covid-19 and the excess deaths.
      This relationship strongly suggests large numbers of the ‘excess deaths’ are untallied Covid-19 deaths not included in the official U.S. Covid-19 death count.

    • No doubt the the Covid-19 pandemic has had effect on already rising suicide rates across the country the suicide rate for 2014: 43,000 for 2016: 45,000 and for 2018: 48,000. The first death from Covid-19 in the U.S. occurred in Feb. 2020. Assuming the rising suicide trend indicated in the above years continues into 2020 then we could expect 53,000 to 54,000 suicides not counting suicides which are Covid-19 related. So suicides in excess of 53,000/54,000 for 2020 could be assumed to be Covid-19 related. So with, say, a hypothetical ten percent(10%) increase in 2020 in suicides as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that would account for 5,300/5,400 of the excess for the entire year of 2020. However, the research referenced above covers about eight months of 2020 which is 67% of the year therefore 67% of 5400 is 3600. So with the hypothetical 10% increase in suicides as a result of Covid-19 that accounts for about 3600 excess deaths of the approximately 80,000 excess deaths noted in the study. As an example.

  • Answer: Baby boomers rule! We remember polio kids with braces, measles, chicken pox. We know how to stay safe; also the
    geezer factor has been moved down and the OBESITY factor has been moved up the chart this week.

  • No mention of what those excess deaths could be. Only an assumption they are COVID related. But with the pandemic impacting the economy and the stress that can create some of the excess deaths could be due to suicide. Those are not direct COVID related deaths. They are indirect.
    I agree the increasing numbers of older population groups may impact these numbers and as a senior myself we are the prime kindling for a novel infectious disease outbreak. If our population increases overtime we can and probably did fuel the fire.

  • Like most narrative driven, not data driven news articles. This has a “catchy” headline to get ones attention. But among the narrative driven story there is usually a sentence or two hidden deep in the article, that’ll discredit the entire article. This one follows that form, I like how they cleverly place this one sentence “One limitation of the study, the researchers noted, was that the U.S. population is growing and getting older, so more deaths might have occurred in 2020 versus recent years without a pandemic, making a direct comparison harder”. That one sentence pretty much discredits the entire piece. Just more misleading media garbage, and they wonder why we don’t trust the news media….

    • Did you notice “hidden deep in the article” that those under 25 had 2% fewer cases. This is because parents and colleges are using extra caution with children & teens and the kids are smarter than we are and they are voluntarily wearing their masks. Those 25 to 44 are careless & carefree because they are healthy and invincible.

  • This highlights the absurdity of the FDA sticking to an arbitrary 2 month safety deadline on vaccines that may have already shown a statistically significant reduction in mortality and morbidity weeks prior to this point.

    I.e. Thousands of people are DYING a day. Tens of thousands will likely have long term damage from the virus. Every day of delay in rolling out vaccinations sentences MANY, MANY more people than could possibly be harmed by a vaccine to misery.

    A trial volunteer in Brazil recently died of COVID-19 complications in the Astra Zeneca trial there. He was only 28 and had received the placebo injection.

    Has the FDA considered that by insisting on a 2 month arbitrary threshold it is withholding not only an efficacious vaccine to high risk groups (some with many, many orders of magnitude higher chance of death than the mean) but also to the guinea pigs who signed up to these trials and received an injection of saline (but don’t know for sure whether they may be vaccinated or not)?

    • When you don’t know if it helps, or if it hurts, you can’t know if you withheld a bonus to immunity or no effect or all the way to an early death sentence..that’s why the trial is done…

  • US deaths during 2017 total 2.81 million and increase by 1% annually of 28,000.
    2018 deaths are 2.83 million. If you add the 1% annual increase twice for 2019 and 2020 we should have had a death rate of 2.89 million for 2020. Even if you do not annualize the year-to-date October information of 300,000 we still have a 10% increase in the US death rate. Pretty significant. I hope my numbers are wrong.

  • When looking at total deaths over the last 5+ years – year over year deaths are increasing – the “death rate” in last 5+ years has increased around 1+% per year – which is about 300,000 deaths — Without using a death rate and death rate over time to normalize results with population increase – I think that we are being misled – there may actually be an increase in deaths but this story and calculation on the surface looks like we are being fed bad stats and you are propagating a potentially misleading or partially false story pushed by CDC.

    • The actual number is 2.51 million to date. Last year it was 2.41 million at week 42 . This calculates to about 100,000 increase from 2019. 100,000 is probably closer to the actual number of Covid deaths . The most accurate data that I trust is from Norway that sates 1.5% of cases are fatal. 8 million cases in the U.S is more likely less than 120,000 .

    • Edit:
      I read the chart wrong. 56,200 was the ” expected rate ” The actual rate has been 59,400 this year up to september. They are expecting 55,000 for Oct.
      The end of year total will be about 58,600 weekly average or a total of 3.06 million . This calculates to about a 4% increase from 2019.

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