COVID-19’s Decline

The CDC reports on excess deaths are the source of the following.

Excess deaths in a given area or jurisdiction are defined as Actual Deaths minus Expected Deaths.

For the week ending Sept. 12, 2020, 49,733 people died in the U.S. from all causes of any kind. Those are Actual Deaths. That number is subject to later revision, as are many kinds of data.

The CDC measures Expected Deaths using a statistical method that employs actual deaths in the period 2013-2020. For example, a crude expectation would be the average weekly actual deaths over all the weeks in that base period. The CDC averaging method is much more sophisticated, taking both seasonality and trends into account. However, there are other competing models that provide different baseline expectations, and they will give different estimates of the COVID-19 impact on excess deaths.

Still, within the CDC’s measures, the week ended Sept. 12 is special. For the week ending Sept. 12, 2020, the Predicted Deaths are 52,148. Therefore, excess deaths in that week are (49,733 – 52,148) = – 2,415. Excess deaths were negative, suggesting that COVID-19 is no longer augmenting actual deaths to a measurable extent that differs from what one may have expected in its absence.

To buttress this suggestion, notice that excess deaths went positive by 5,580, for the first time since January of 2018, in the week of March 28, 2020, and they stayed positive for every week up to and including the week ending September 5, 2020. The recent data indicate that COVID-19, for one reason and another, is no longer an urgent health concern, at least if this finding continues on.

The peak week of mortality was April 11, 2020 when 79,450 people died of all causes while the expected number from all causes was 56,259. The excess deaths, presumably from COVID-19 and from all the related actions that everyone took because of it, numbered 23,191.

Again, in the latest week for which there are data, the week ending Sept. 12, some 5 months after the peak, excess deaths are actually negative.


2:22 pm on September 23, 2020