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Bad news: cases increase. Good news: hospitalizations stay flat. Bad news: excess deaths. Good news: uh.

2020-10-20
EM of SARS-COV-2 from Groopman lab

The Washington Post says that there have been nearly 300,000 excess deaths between January 26 and October 3 this year. The average death rate by year in the US has been roughly 2.85 million for the last five years. Today, the CDC reported an excess of 299,000 deaths in eight months, with about 2/3 of those deaths accounted for by COVID-19 diagnoses. The total of excess deaths for this year (not necessarily directly due to the virus) will probably exceed 400,000.

The cause of death for about 200,000 of those people was COVID-19, according to CDC. The other 99,000? Unknown. Many of those excess deaths were reported as at-home or in a nursing home and attributed to Alzheimer’s Disease, coronary (heart) disease, stroke, or diabetes. How many such deaths were due to rapid deterioration because of the isolation precautions have not been concluded.

Weekly excess deaths were highest for the weeks ending April 11 (40%) and August 8 (23%.) The greatest excess death rate overall was for Hispanics, and peaks during those same periods were greater than 100% above normal. Figures showing the increases are presented in the CDC report.

The excess death rate for 25 to 44 year olds has gone up 26%; 5,707 of those deaths were confirmed to be due to the virus. How much suicide and homicide rates have increased has not been determined. The total excess deaths for whites increased 11%, while for Hispanics it increased 53%.

The good news is that, over the whole country, hospitalization rates have stayed flat even as daily case counts have increased. Hospitals in the upper Midwest have been swamped, but the rate has not increased commensurate with the increase in cases.

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