[ExI] 300k excess deaths in US

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Tue Oct 20 18:16:20 UTC 2020


Amid pandemic, U.S. has seen 300,000 ‘excess deaths,’ with highest rates
among people of color

When there’s a public health crisis or disaster like the coronavirus
pandemic, experts know that the official death tally is going to be an
undercount by some extent. Some people who die might never have been tested
for the disease, for example, and if people die at home without receiving
medical care, they might not make it into the confirmed data.

To address that, researchers often look to what are called excess deaths —
the number of deaths overall during a particular period of time compared to
how many people die during the stretch in a normal year.

Now, in the most updated count to date
researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found
that nearly 300,000 more people in the United States died from late January
to early October this year compared the average number of people who died
in recent years. Just two-thirds of those deaths were counted as Covid-19
fatalities, highlighting how the official U.S. death count — now standing
at about 220,000 — is not fully inclusive.

To be exact, the researchers reported that 299,028 more people died from
Jan. 26 to Oct. 3 this year than on average during the same stretch from
2015 to 2019. Excess deaths also occurred at higher rates among Latinx,
Asian, American Indian, and Black people than among white people, mirroring
the disparities in official U.S. Covid-19 death counts.

Most likely, the excess deaths account for some otherwise untallied
Covid-19 deaths — those who may have died without being tested or who died
at home and whose deaths were not counted as caused by the coronavirus. But
the 300,000 number probably also includes people who died because they were
scared to seek out medical care because of the pandemic or had their care
interrupted, and because of other causes. One limitation of the study, the
researchers noted, was that the U.S. population is growing and getting
older, so more deaths might have occurred in 2020 versus recent years
without a pandemic, making a direct comparison harder.

Deaths among white people in 2020 were just 11.9% higher than average
years, a much lower increase than deaths among Latinx people (53.6% higher
than average), Asian people (36.6% higher), Black people (32.9% higher),
and American Indians and Alaska Natives (28.9% higher). “These
disproportionate increases among certain racial and ethnic groups are
consistent with noted disparities in Covid-19 mortality,” the researchers
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