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Studies Show That The COVID-19 Death Rate Is Underestimated

Because many COVID-19 deaths have been in high risk people who had comorbid problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiac problems, many new “experts” claim that the COVID-19 death rate is being conflated with deaths from other causes, and being over-inflated. That conclusion is overly simplistic and probably not true. In fact, actuarial studies in the UK and the US, and a recent CDC report show that the deaths attributed to the disease are under-counted.

The Johns Hopkins University pandemic tracker reports that, as of this week, 175,000 people have currently died from the disease. The same tracker reported that between January and July the mortality number was 150,000. But, the CDC just reported that also between January and July, the US had 215,000, or 35%, more deaths than expected based on actuarial data from the same period last year, before COVID-19. These data are broken down by state in an Associated Press news report. Many of these excess deaths are due to undiagnosed COVID-19, but some of them also may have occurred because people with other serious ailments were reluctant to seek medical care, fearing exposure to the novel coronavirus, or even being unable to obtain treatment as a result of medical resources being spread thin by the pandemic in some places such as NYC and Birmingham.

A study with similar results also was recently published using hospital and actuarial data from across the UK. It found a significant increase in total deaths compared to the same period last year. Weekly fatalities from all causes are up by more than 25%, and in some places almost 80%. Analysis of actuarial data for COVID-19 patients with other serious ailments who were admitted to intensive care units showed that their mortality rate was 10 times greater than would have been expected without the virus. In other words, without the virus, these already at-risk patients were expected to live significantly longer if they had not encountered CoV-2.

The bottom line: While there has been some confusion about what causes death in people with COVID-19 who also have other high risk conditions like heart disease, the actuarial data indicate that people are dying at a significantly higher-than-expected rate, making the coronavirus the culprit.

Update (9/7/2020): Data from Mexico's National Center for Preventive Programs and Disease Control show that between March and August, total deaths were 59% higher than expected from actuarial data. In fact, the country had to order a special printing of death certificates, because it had run out of them.



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