The death toll in the United States as of July 2020 is between 8% and 12% higher than what would have happened if a coronavirus pandemic had never occurred.
That’s at least 164,937 more deaths than expected for the first seven months – 16,183 more than the number believed to have been caused by COVID-19 so far – and it could be as high as 204,691. .
When someone dies, the certificate of death records the immediate cause of death, along with the three basic conditions that “initiate the events leading to death.” The certificate is submitted to the local health department and details are reported to the National Center for Health Statistics.
As part of the National Critical Statistics System, NCHS then uses this information in various ways, such as tabulating the leading causes of death in the United States ̵1; now heart disease, then there is cancer.
This fall, COVID-19 is likely to become the third largest cause of death by 2020.
Expected from the past
To calculate the excess mortality it is necessary to compare what would have happened if COVID-19 did not exist. Obviously, what didn’t happen can be observed, but it is possible to estimate it using historical data.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does this using a statistical model, based on mortality data from three years ago, incorporating seasonal trends as well as adjustments for Data reporting delay.
So looking at what happened in the past three years, the CDC predicts what might have happened. By using statistical models, they can also calculate the uncertainty in their estimates. That allows statisticians like me to evaluate whether the observed data is out of the forecast.
The excess death count is the difference between the model’s predictions and actual observations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also calculated an upper threshold for the estimated death toll – helping to pinpoint when the number of observed deaths was abnormally high relative to historical trends.
It can be clearly seen in the graph of this data that the number of deaths spiked starting mid-March 2020 and continues to this day. You may also see another period of excessive death from December 2017 to January 2018, due to an unusually virulent influenza strain that year.
The severity of extreme deaths in 2020 suggests COVID-19 is much worse than flu, even when compared to a bad flu year like 2017-18, when an estimated 61,000 people in America die from this disease.
The number of deaths spiked in April 2020 corresponding to an outbreak of coronavirus in New York and the Northeast, then the number of deaths exceeded a regular drop and was substantially until July, when it captured. head rose again.
The current increase in the number of excessive deaths is due to outbreaks in the south and west that have occurred since June.
Data tells the story
It doesn’t take a complicated statistical model to see that the coronavirus pandemic is causing significantly more deaths than what happened.
The number of deaths that the CDC officially attributed to COVID-19 in the United States exceeded 148,754 as of 1 August.
Some people with doubts about aspects of the coronavirus claim that these are deaths that have occurred, probably because COVID-19 is particularly fatal in the elderly.
Others believe that, because the pandemic has so dramatically changed lives, the increase in COVID-19-related deaths was perhaps offset by a decline from other causes. But neither of these possibilities is true.
In fact, what is the number of deaths that exceed the figure caused by COVID-19 for more than 16,000 people in the United States is still unclear. COVID-19 deaths may be under control, or a pandemic may increase other types of deaths. It can be a count of both.
Whatever the reason, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significantly more deaths than would have happened… and it is not over yet.
Ronald D. Fricker Jr., Professor of Statistics and Associate Dean of Faculty of Management and Affairs, Virginia Tech.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.