In any given year during the past decade in the United States, more than 2.5 million Americans have died—from all causes. The number has grown in recent years, climbing from 2.59 million in 2013 to 2.85 million in 2019. This has been due partially to the US’s aging population, and also due to rising obesity levels and drug overdoses. In fact, since 2010, growth rates in total deaths has exceeded population growth in every year.
In 2020, preliminary numbers suggest a jump of more than 17 percent in all-cause total deaths, rising from 2.85 million in 2019 to 3.35 million in 2020.
The increase was not all due to covid. At least one-quarter to one-third appear to be from other causes. In some cases, more than half of “excess deaths” were attributed to “underlying causes” other than covid. But whether due to untreated medical conditions (thanks to covid lockdowns), or drug overdoses, or homicides, total death increased in 2020. In other words, total excess mortality is a partial proxy for covid deaths. Whatever proportion of total deaths covid cases may comprise, it stands to reason that if total deaths decline, then covid deaths are declining also. Moreover, looking at total deaths helps cut through any controversies over whether or not deaths are properly attributed to covid.
What has been the trend with these “excess deaths” in recent months?
Well, according to data through mid-March reported by Our World in Data and by the Human Mortality Database, excess mortality began to plummet in early January and is now back to levels below the 2015-2019 average:
Excess mortality peaked the week of January 3 and then it began to collapse, dropping back to summer 2020 levels by mid February. By March 14, excess mortality was at 1 percent above the 2015-2019 average. All this occurred even as very few Americans were vaccinated. When excess deaths began to drop, less than one percent of Americans had been fully vaccinated. At the end of January, less than two percent of Americans had been fully vaccinated. By the end of March, when excess mortality returned to 2019 levels, 15 percent of the population had been fully vaccinated.
As of May 11, only one-third of Americans had been fully vaccinated, although “experts” insist 60 to 70 percent of the population must be vaccinated before we can expect to see a drop-off in deaths like that which occurred earlier this year.
Yet, as of the week of March 22—excess mortality was below both the 2015-2019 average and below the total for the last year before the official beginning of the covid pandemic (2019).
It’s likely these facts won’t stop “public health” bureaucrats from continuing to insist that another “wave” of covid deaths and cases is right around the corner. These activists have many strategies for pushing vaccine passports, mask mandates, and even continual precautionary business closures. They’ll tell us that new covid variants are sweeping the globe. This is what they were saying in January, for instance, when Vox was telling us it was too dangerous to even visit the grocery store. At least one expert in late January warned us that the coming weeks would be “the darkest weeks of the pandemic.”
It’s now clear such predictions were spectacularly wrong. By late January, totals deaths were already in precipitous decline.
But what about the lag in data? We’re only looking at data up to mid-March because it tends to take several weeks for estimates of total deaths to become reasonably reliable. Yes, that data shows a big drop off. But what about the numbers for April and May? Should we expect those death totals to surge again with a promised “fourth wave” of new covid death?
If we consider the more recent case and death totals attributed to covid, we see few signs of a new surge.
Although Anthony Fauci and other government employed technocrats have been unable to provide any explanation at all for it, the fact remains that months after Texas and Florida and Georgia have either abolished or greatly scaled back all social-distancing and mask mandates, cases and deaths are generally declining, and total deaths per million (attributed to covid) remain below what we’ve seen in states with severe lockdowns.
The trend in the United States overall is similar. Indeed, it appears that nearly all states have seen sizable drops in both cases and deaths, regardless of the mask or social-distancing policies in place.
Notably, it’s only in recent weeks that “CDC guidelines” are beginning to admit the reality. It wasn’t until April 26 that the CDC declared that fully vaccinated Americans are allowed to venture outside without masks on. The CDC states these “recommendations” unironically as if it weren’t the case that most Americans—outside of true-believer hotspots like San Francisco and Chicago—stopped wearing masks outside a long time ago. The hermetically sealed world of government employees and corporate journalists appears unaware that at least half the country pretty much went back to normal last fall.
So now what?
The technocrats know that they need to keep pressing hard for more de facto vaccine mandates—pushed mostly by corporate America for low-risk younger populations. Most Americans can already see that covid numbers are already in decline in spite of months of Americans flouting mask mandates and social distancing guidelines. People can see that children—an increasing number of whom are returning to schools—aren’t a significant factor in the spread of disease. So it will be important for the regime to push vaccines for children more aggressively before people stop listening to the “experts” completely.
Don’t expect the regime to admit it has been wrong about anything. If anything, it will double down on the usual narrative. It’s worked pretty well so far.
Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.