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400000 More U.S. Deaths Than Normal Since Covid-19 Struck – The New York Times

By

Jan 15, 2021

Weekly deaths above and below normal in the U.S. since 2015

Since March, at least 400,000 more Americans have died than would have in a normal year, a sign of the broad devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

An analysis of mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows how the pandemic is bringing with it unusual patterns of death, even higher than the official totals of deaths that have been directly linked to the virus.

Deaths nationwide were 18 percent higher than normal from March 15, 2020, to Dec. 26, 2020. Our numbers may be an undercount since recent death statistics are still being updated.

Our analysis examines deaths from all causes — not just confirmed cases of coronavirus — beginning when the virus took hold in the United States last spring. That allows comparisons that do not depend on the accuracy of cause-of-death reporting, and includes deaths related to disruptions caused by the pandemic as well as the virus itself. Epidemiologists refer to fatalities in the gap between the observed and normal numbers of deaths as “excess deaths.”

Public health researchers use such methods to measure the impact of catastrophic events when official measures of mortality are flawed.

As Covid-19 cases have spread across the country, the geographic patterns of abnormal mortality statistics have followed. Excess deaths have peaked three times, so far, as have deaths from Covid-19.

There are now excess deaths in every state, with surges in states like California, Colorado, Kansas and Ohio fueling record death tolls in recent weeks.

Weekly deaths above and below normal since March 15, 2020

United States

March 15 – Dec. 26

Alabama

March 15 – Dec. 26

Alaska

March 15 – Dec. 12

Arizona

March 15 – Dec. 26

Arkansas

March 15 – Dec. 26

California

March 15 – Dec. 26

Colorado

March 15 – Dec. 26

Connecticut

March 15 – Nov. 28

Delaware

March 15 – Dec. 12

Florida

March 15 – Dec. 26

Georgia

March 15 – Dec. 12

Hawaii

March 15 – Dec. 19

Idaho

March 15 – Dec. 26

Illinois

March 15 – Dec. 26

Indiana

March 15 – Dec. 19

Iowa

March 15 – Dec. 26

Kansas

March 15 – Dec. 26

Kentucky

March 15 – Dec. 19

Louisiana

March 15 – Dec. 12

Maine

March 15 – Dec. 26

Maryland

March 15 – Dec. 26

Massachusetts

March 15 – Dec. 26

Michigan

March 15 – Dec. 26

Minnesota

March 15 – Dec. 26

Mississippi

March 15 – Dec. 26

Missouri

March 15 – Dec. 19

Montana

March 15 – Dec. 26

Nebraska

March 15 – Dec. 26

Nevada

March 15 – Dec. 26

New Hampshire

March 15 – Dec. 26

New Jersey

March 15 – Dec. 26

New Mexico

March 15 – Dec. 19

New York (excluding N.Y.C.)

March 15 – Dec. 26

New York City

March 15 – Dec. 26

North Carolina

March 15 – Sept. 5

North Dakota

March 15 – Dec. 26

Ohio

March 15 – Dec. 19

Oklahoma

March 15 – Dec. 19

Oregon

March 15 – Dec. 19

Pennsylvania

March 15 – Dec. 26

Puerto Rico

March 15 – Nov. 14

Rhode Island

March 15 – Dec. 12

South Carolina

March 15 – Dec. 26

South Dakota

March 15 – Dec. 12

Tennessee

March 15 – Dec. 26

Texas

March 15 – Dec. 26

Utah

March 15 – Dec. 26

Vermont

March 15 – Dec. 26

Virginia

March 15 – Dec. 26

Washington State

March 15 – Dec. 19

Washington, D.C.

March 15 – Dec. 12

West Virginia

March 15 – Nov. 21

Wisconsin

March 15 – Dec. 26

Wyoming

March 15 – Dec. 26

Counting deaths takes time, and many states are weeks or months behind in reporting. These estimates from the C.D.C. are adjusted based on how mortality data has lagged in previous years. It will take several months before all these numbers are finalized.

During the period of our analysis, estimated excess deaths were 21 percent higher than the official coronavirus fatality count. If this pattern held through Jan. 14, the total death toll would be about 470,000.

For comparison, around 600,000 Americans die from cancer in a normal year. The number of unusual deaths for this period is higher than the typical number of annual deaths from Alzheimers, stroke or diabetes.

Measuring excess deaths does not tell us precisely how each person died. Most of the excess deaths in this period are because of the coronavirus itself. But it is also possible that deaths from other causes have risen too, as hospitals in some hot spots have become overwhelmed and people have been scared to seek care for ailments that are typically survivable. Some causes of death may be declining, as people stay inside more, drive less and limit their contact with others.

Drug deaths also rose steeply in the first half of 2020, according to preliminary C.D.C. mortality data that runs through June of last year, a trend that began before the coronavirus pandemic arrived.

Methodology

Total death numbers are estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are based on death certificates counted by the centers and adjusted to account for typical lags in the reporting of deaths. Coronavirus death numbers are from the New York Times database of reports from state and local health agencies and hospitals. Covid-19 deaths include both confirmed and probable deaths from the virus.

Our charts show weekly deaths above or below normal. They include weeks in which the C.D.C. estimates the data to be at least 90 percent complete or estimated deaths are above expected death numbers. Because states vary somewhat in their speed in reporting deaths to the federal government, these state charts show death trends for slightly different time periods. We have not included weeks in which reported deaths were less than 50 percent of the C.D.C. estimate.

Expected deaths were calculated with a simple model based on the weekly number of all-cause deaths from 2015 to 2019, adjusted to account for trends, like population changes, over time.

Excess death numbers are rounded.

 

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