Written and published on 8 July 2020
Image: “Scared Girl,” by Victor Bezrukov, 27 January 2007, in Wikimedia Commons … https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scared_Girl.jpg … CC BY 2.0
Given the press on the state of COVID-19 in California since the Fourth of July, I checked whether the greater picture for the pandemic in California, and in the United States overall, is grim or reasonable. Here is what I found out …
There is a question whether deaths due to COVID-19 are being misclassified on the high side in the United States currently, similar to the issue they were being misclassified on the low side in March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are aware of this issue, but cannot yet quantitate it, as there are state-by-state issues regarding standardization of statistical reporting.
Thus it seems reasonable to look at overall deaths in the United States overall, since the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020, and also state-by-state. That way we can ascertain whether overall deaths (including COVID-19, flu, pneumonia, and every other cause of death) are higher or lower than expected.
I turned to the CDC for the data. They say deaths in the United States, from whatever causes, are 4 percent greater than expected deaths for the period from 1 February to 4 July 2020. Ball-parking that, we might reasonably assume deaths from COVID-19 to have contributed most of that excess. That is the approach to the data taken as a given by the press and by all levels of government in the United States, from city government, to state government, to government at the national level.
On the other hand, it could be that there is a range of numbers within which expected deaths are tallied, Taking that range into account, it is possible, from a multiple year perspective, that COVID-19 may not have contributed at all to this year’s excess deaths. It could be we are on the far end of the expectable range of deaths in 2020, and in the coming years there will be less deaths than expectable. In other words, excess expectable deaths this year might not be due to COVID-19 at all. That is the contrarian approach to the data.
From the stance of personal health and safety, it might be good to know which states have the highest numbers of deaths greater than expected since February of this year. We could take a look at deaths due to COVID or whatever other causes; that would be a figure beyond debate.
I see from the below chart that some states have had a notably higher percent of expected deaths than the United States in general, during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are Arizona (108%), Colorado (109%), District of Columbia (115%), Illinois (115%), Louisiana (107%), Maryland (116%), Massachusetts (123%), Michigan (112%), Minnesota (105%), New Jersey (142%), New York (124%), New York City (203%), and Rhode Island (106%).
From this list the standouts in terms of having deaths greater than expected, from highest to lowest, are New York City (203%), New Jersey (142%), New York (124%), Massachusetts (123%), Maryland (116%), District of Columbia (115%), Illinois (115%), and Michigan (112%).
This table has the data in it …
Image: “United States Deaths from 2/1/2020 to 7/4/2020 as Percent of Expected Deaths, State by State,” from Link: “Daily Updates of Totals by Week and State: Provisional Death Counts for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) … https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/index.htm … See: Table 2. Deaths Involving Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Pneumonia, and Influenza Reported to NCHS by Jurisdiction of Occurrence, United States, Week Ending 2/1/2020 to 7/4/2020 … public domain.
In case the chart is too small to read, the data can be found here …
Link: “Daily Updates of Totals by Week and State: Provisional Death Counts for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) … https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/index.htm … See: Table 2. Deaths Involving Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Pneumonia, and Influenza Reported to NCHS by Jurisdiction of Occurrence, United States, Week Ending 2/1/2020 to 7/4/2020
In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars
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COVID-19, coronavirus, community health, health, United States, California, government, politics, common good,