U.S. COVID-19 Deaths in 2021 Exceed 2020’s, But It’s Not All Bad News

From The Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Covid-19 Deaths in 2021 Surpass 2020’s

On the other hand, check out the first chart at Our World In Data: Excess mortality during the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). I tried for 20 minutes to embed the chart here but failed.

To understand it, you need to know that excess mortality “refers to the number of deaths from all causes during a crisis above and beyond what we would have expected to see under ‘normal’ conditions. So this number would include not only deaths due to COVID-19 but also to suicides related to job loss and social isolation, opioid overdoses, homicides from couples spending too much time together at home, etc. “Excess mortality is a more comprehensive measure of the total impact of the pandemic on deaths than the confirmed COVID-19 death count alone.”

If you go to the Our World In Data website, you can play around with the chart, even inputting the name of your country of interest. I put in the U.S. The graph generated excessive mortality starting sometime in early March 2020 and runs through October 24, 2021. The peak of excess mortality was on January 3, 2021, which roughly divides the first half of the pandemic with the second half (thus far). Comparing the first and last halves by “area under the curve,” it looks like excess mortality is going to be less in 2021 than it was in 2020, although clearly above typical years. So good news for the U.S.! Unless COVID-19 mortality spikes in November and December. Click for CDC’s Covid Data Tracker for cases and deaths, which is fairly up to date.

We should have total death numbers for the U.S. in late January, 2022.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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