Guest essay by Eric Worrall
There is a significant unaccounted for spike in excess US deaths this year, deaths which have not been attributed to Covid-19. Yale researchers believe a lot of the deaths are misdiagnosed Covid.
Yale Study Suggests COVID Death Toll In US Has Been “Substantially Undercounted”
by Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 – 19:55
A new study from Yale University published in JAMA Internal Medicine seems to suggest that the number of U.S. deaths that have occurred as a result of the coronavirus have been “substantially undercounted”.
Recall, we have recently published two studies suggesting that the infection rates of Covid-19 were substantially higher months ago than many people thought. A Penn State study found that the initial infection rate may have been 80 times quicker than we first thought and a Stanford study showed that the media case fatality rate for those under 70 years old could be as low as 0.04%.
The new Yale study took data from the National Center for Health Statistics and compared the number of excess U.S. deaths from any causes with the reported number of weekly deaths from Covid-19 during the period of March 1 to May 30, according to CNBC. Those numbers were then compared to the year prior.
“The 781,000 total deaths in the United States in the three months through May 30 were about 122,300, or nearly 19% higher, than what would normally be expected, according to the researchers. Of the 122,300 excess deaths, 95,235 were attributed to Covid-19, they said. Most of the rest of the excess deaths, researchers said, were likely related to or directly caused by the coronavirus.“
The abstract of the study;
July 1, 2020
Estimation of Excess Deaths Associated With the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States, March to May 2020
Question Did more all-cause deaths occur during the first months of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States compared with the same months during previous years?
Findings In this cohort study, the number of deaths due to any cause increased by approximately 122 000 from March 1 to May 30, 2020, which is 28% higher than the reported number of COVID-19 deaths.
Meaning Official tallies of deaths due to COVID-19 underestimate the full increase in deaths associated with the pandemic in many states.Abstract
Importance Efforts to track the severity and public health impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States have been hampered by state-level differences in diagnostic test availability, differing strategies for prioritization of individuals for testing, and delays between testing and reporting. Evaluating unexplained increases in deaths due to all causes or attributed to nonspecific outcomes, such as pneumonia and influenza, can provide a more complete picture of the burden of COVID-19.
Objective To estimate the burden of all deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States from March to May 2020.
Design, Setting, and Population This observational study evaluated the numbers of US deaths from any cause and deaths from pneumonia, influenza, and/or COVID-19 from March 1 through May 30, 2020, using public data of the entire US population from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). These numbers were compared with those from the same period of previous years. All data analyzed were accessed on June 12, 2020.
Main Outcomes and Measures Increases in weekly deaths due to any cause or deaths due to pneumonia/influenza/COVID-19 above a baseline, which was adjusted for time of year, influenza activity, and reporting delays. These estimates were compared with reported deaths attributed to COVID-19 and with testing data.
Results There were approximately 781 000 total deaths in the United States from March 1 to May 30, 2020, representing 122 300 (95% prediction interval, 116 800-127 000) more deaths than would typically be expected at that time of year. There were 95 235 reported deaths officially attributed to COVID-19 from March 1 to May 30, 2020. The number of excess all-cause deaths was 28% higher than the official tally of COVID-19–reported deaths during that period. In several states, these deaths occurred before increases in the availability of COVID-19 diagnostic tests and were not counted in official COVID-19 death records. There was substantial variability between states in the difference between official COVID-19 deaths and the estimated burden of excess deaths.
Conclusions and Relevance Excess deaths provide an estimate of the full COVID-19 burden and indicate that official tallies likely undercount deaths due to the virus. The mortality burden and the completeness of the tallies vary markedly between states.
Before you dismiss this as alarmism, Lord Monckton came to a similar conclusion in April, with his analysis of UK excess deaths.
Respiratory distress is not the only way Covid-19 can kill people. In some cases it causes extreme blood clotting disorders, leading to strokes and heart failure, which likely creates confusion in some cases about the true cause of death. Canadian actor Nick Cordero survived Covid, but his leg was amputated because doctors couldn’t control Covid related blood clotting in his extremities.
Thankfully recent confirmation of the efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine provides renewed hope we can bring this awful disease under control.
[Addendum from Charles]
Eric missed this very very important sentence found in the limitations section:
The number of excess deaths reported herein could reflect increases in rates of death directly caused by the virus, increases indirectly related to the pandemic response (eg, due to avoidance of health care), as well as declines in certain causes (eg, deaths due to motor vehicle collisions or triggered by air pollution). Further work is needed to determine the relative importance of these different forces on the overall estimates
of excess deaths.
In simpler terms, with all elective surgery cancelled for months, the delays in heart valve surgery, stent surgery, cancer surgery etc., might be the cause of the increase in deaths and they haven’t a clue if that’s the case or not.
via Watts Up With That?
July 5, 2020 at 12:57AM