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COVID-19 Deaths In U.S. May Have Already Topped 100,000

Posted on the 15 May 2020 by Jobsanger
COVID-19 Deaths In U.S. May Have Already Topped 100,000
How many people in the United States have lost their lives to the Coronavirus pandemic? As I write this post, the official count has just passed 85,000. But that may well be an undercount. It's very possible that the death count has already passed the 100,000 mark.
The following is an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times:
Many supporters of President Trump believe that the figures for coronavirus fatalities are inflated, and Trump himself shared a tweet doubting the accuracy of some virus figures.
He’s right that the death toll seems off — but not in the direction he would suggest. We’ve crunched the numbers, state by state, and it appears that somewhere around 100,000 to 110,000 Americans have already died as a result of the pandemic, rather than the 83,000 whose deaths have been attributed to the disease, Covid-19.
That’s my estimate reached with the help of a Harvard statistician, Rafael Irizarry, based on a comparison of death rates this spring with those in previous years. Some states have been largely unaffected — death rates in some even appear to have dropped, perhaps because of less driving and fewer car accidents — but others have seen huge surges in deaths.
Over all, in a bit more than two months, the United States lost more Americans to the coronavirus than died over seven decades in the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.
Here’s how we reached our estimates; they are not definitive, for they are based on preliminary data, and I invite discussion.
The starting point is that the cause of death is often uncertain. Most people who die don’t get an autopsy, and many never had a coronavirus test. The precise number who died from Covid-19 is in some sense unknowable.
Still, one standard approach to measure the impact of a pandemic like this is to look at “excess deaths,” meaning mortality greater than the average for a particular time period.
For example, for the seven weeks ending April 25 in the United States, about 70,000 more Americans died than is normal for those weeks (death is seasonal and normally declines over the course of spring and summer). That 70,000 figure for excess deaths does not include Connecticut, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, which were excluded because of missing or dubious data.

The official number of Covid-19 deaths in that period for the rest of the country was 49,100. That suggests an undercount of more than 20,000 coronavirus-related deaths as of April 25.

Add those 20,000 missed deaths to today’s total of 83,000, and you already get more than 100,000 pandemic-related deaths. But the undercount probably continued after April 25, albeit at a lower rate.
We don’t have good enough mortality data to assess excess deaths in late April and early May, a period in which more than 30,000 Americans are reported to have died of Covid-19. Testing increased significantly, and over time doctors seemed more willing to list Covid-19 as the cause of death.
“There’s probably less underreporting as time goes on,” notes Robert N. Anderson, the chief of mortality statistics at the C.D.C.’s National Center for Health Statistics. In New York City, a studylikewise found enormous underreporting in the first half of April, then gradually diminishing by the beginning of May.
COVID-19 Deaths In U.S. May Have Already Topped 100,000

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