#coronavirus Correcting Recent U.S. Weekly Death Statistics for Incomplete Reporting

From Dr Roy Spencer’s Blog

April 6th, 2020 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I am seeing an increasing number of people on social media pointing to the weekly CDC death statistics which show a unusually low number of total deaths for this time of year, when one would expect the number to be increasing from COVID-19. But what most people don’t realize is that this is an artifact of the late arrival of death certificate data as gathered by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

This first came to my attention as a tweet by some researchers who were using the CDC weekly death data in a research paper pointing out the downturn in deaths in early 2020 and had to retract the paper because of the incomplete data problem. A disclaimer at the CDC website points out the incomplete nature of recent data. While they say that the new totals could be adjusted either upward or downward, it appears that the adjustments are almost always upward (i.e. recent data have a low bias in reported deaths).

As a first attempt to possibly correct for this under-reporting problem, I downloaded the data two weeks in a row (approximately March 30 and April 5, 2020) to examine how the recent data changes as new death certificate data are obtained. I realize this is only one week’s worth of changes, and each week would provide additional statistics. But the basic methodology could be applied with additional weeks of data added.

I first use the 4.5 years of reported weekly death data to compute an average seasonal cycle in deaths, with the slow upward trend included (red line in the following figure). Also shown are the total deaths reported on 2 successive weeks, showing the increase in reported deaths from late reports coming in.

Although it is not obvious in the above plot, there were new deaths reported as much as 1 year late. If we use the difference between the two successive weeks’ reports as an estimate of how many new reports will come in each week as a percentage of the average seasonal cycle, and sum them up for 52 weeks, we can get a rough estimate of what the totals will look like a year from now (the blue line in the following figure).

The blue line shows behavior quite close to that seen last year at this time. Keep in mind that Week 10 is only through early March, at which point there were only 30 COVID-19 deaths reported, which is too small a number to show up on these plots. I’m posting this as just a suggestion for those who want to analyze recent weekly death data and make some sense out of it.

It is also of interest how bad the 2017-18 flu season was compared to this season. I’m sure many medical people are aware of this, but I don’t recall it being a huge news story two years ago.

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April 7, 2020 6:15 am

Here in the Czech Republic, one of the top Cardiologists is saying that mortality rate is down and that most COVID-19 deaths are normally dying people…..

“And if you look at the spectrum of those who unfortunately died from covid-19, it’s the spectrum of normally dying people. Of course, there are young and without symptoms of serious illnesses, but they die outside the pandemic anyway. I regret what we hear in the media, although lately it has been formulated more carefully. That so many people died of covid. It is not true. The vast majority of them were diagnosed with the disease, but at the same time they had diabetes, ischemic disease or even flu.” (google translated)

Here, the Government has realised that the mortality rate is significantly lower than expected and is beginning to wind back the lockdown slowly and cautiously. Instead, it will move to a system of protect the elderly and weaker while using smart quarantine (credit card and cell phone record tracing of people who may be at risk). The more people who have had the disease, the less it will impact everyone says the health expert here. ” We have to let the virus into our population, which is happening. But by protecting ourselves, we stratify the spread of the disease over a longer period of time, which is right. On the other hand, strict isolation would not be correct, it would delay the problem, not solve it. If we perceive coronavirus as one of the other respiratory viruses, it will gradually become an integral part of our lives. We must count on its existence. Most of us will become immune to coronavirus. The more such people there are, the more vulnerable individuals who would otherwise succumb to the disease will be protected.”

I like the common sense being displayed here.

Scissor
Reply to  Gary
April 7, 2020 6:41 am

It’s looking like global deaths during this go round will be well under predictions for just the U.S. made less than a month ago.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Scissor
April 7, 2020 7:34 am

I wonder how much of an effect these Wuhan virus treatments, such as chloroquine, are having on the death rate. Doctors are almost universally reporting good outcomes with this drug, so this has to be affecting the numbers. What would the numbers look like without these treatments. They are being carried out worldwide, and on a large scale, right now.

tetris
Reply to  Scissor
April 7, 2020 7:46 am

NY plus NJ together continue to account for 50% of both cases and deaths – this has been the case since the beginning of the outbreak.

At 243, NY in fact has Italian level deaths/million pop.

After the top five States, case and death number fall off rapidly.

Timo, Not That One
Reply to  Gary
April 7, 2020 6:46 am

Do you have a link to the article? Are we talking about Cardiologist MUDr. Jan Pirk?

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Gary
April 7, 2020 6:55 am

It is totally in line with what my friends and I are thinking here in Sweden.
The Swedish have been open all the time, except for Greta, but the neighboring Scandinavian country, Denmark, has closed all their schools and most shops.
Now the Danes intend to reopen the schools after Easter. My thoughts about the two approaches:

Schools open all the time, means the children have gradually gotten their doses of the virus and are passing on small doses to their parents, thus giving increased immunity in the whole population.
Schools having been closed for many weeks, is isolating families, casing delay in general immunity. When the Danes open the schools after Easter, I could imagine a huge increase in severe cases, as the normal adjustment to the virus has been inhibited.
I hope my simple logic is wrong and that it will go fine after Easter.

LdB
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
April 7, 2020 7:37 am

As you are in Sweden I was wondering how your health system is holding up. The Australia health system would be buckling at your numbers in ICU and we have twice your population.

tetris
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 7:50 am

Both main newspapers -SvD and DN – report that there now is considerable pressure on the government to enforce more containment.

As in the Netherlands, the psychological hit of a high upfront death count is starting to affect public perception.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 10:26 am

To LdB and whom it may concern.

As I understand it, it is mainly a Stockholm issue (the capital). In the third largest city Malmö, there is less of an issue. In the 10,000 strong city I live near by, there are only a few patients.
However, although most hospitals have few CoVid-19 or influenza patients, the hospitals appear to be under stress, and are sending all non-critical patients home (both uncritical CoVid-19 and any other uncritical illness). Hip and similar operations are postponed, building an even larger backlog. In Stockholm they try to pay special attention to nursing-homes, thus keeping the elderly isolated from the virus propagation.

I have no insight into why exactly the strain on the hospitals is so great, but I have heard it has to do with the isolation procedure. As said, Stockholm is the exception, there are a lot of patients there.

We in Sweden should continue the path we have followed until now. What I find stupid, is that our government is going to allow the many Germans to go to their summer houses in Sweden. Sweden has closed for international flights. So why don’t they also stop non-essential ferry traffic between Germany and Sweden? It is beyond my comprehension. The Germans are already invading the shops here to fix their summer houses and get ready for Easter gathering.

When you look at:
comment image
Sweden is doing pretty much similar to it’s neighbors and have apparently listened to Trump’s former phrase:
“We have to be careful not to make the cure worse than the decease.” – or something like that. It is a balance act. There is no finite right or wrong here.

It bothers me, that with all the fuss there is around these strains of CoVid-19, it sounds like this is a first. But, we all know that this is not a first, so why are there not more streamlined protocols for handling it this time. As mentioned in other posts on this subject, Japan had protocol and resources ready, and could react timely and effectively. The Russians began building a new dedicated hospital outside Moscow, just in case CoVid-19 or similar would be a future problem.

Are we westerners handling pandemics as irrationally as our energy supply?

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
April 7, 2020 1:12 pm

Japan just declared a state of emergency for the coronavirus. From CNN:

“Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency earlier today after Tokyo had shown the signature increases of coronavirus community spread for several days. On its current path, Tokyo will hit 80,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, surpassing New York City’s numbers in the same time frame, and with even less hospital capacity to deal with the crisis.”

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
April 7, 2020 11:30 pm

James Schrumpf, yes you are correct.

I disagree however with the general approach used mostly everywhere, namely the continuation of public transport, unless you are dressed in full motorcycle gear, as Lord Monckton says.

The idea of continuing cramping people in buses and subway trains, appears tremendous counter productive. The very place to contract virus is the bus, tram and subway. Also taxis may not be a good idea, but at least better than the cramped transportation. I understand it is Green to use public transport, but maybe the Green New Deal transition is to be suspended for a while for the good of common people.

In the USA as well as Europe the supermarkets we love so much, are to a degree decreasing the propagation time delay for virus. Just 20 years ago you could stay in your village, without the need to travel to huge shopping centers. You would have a local, slightly more expensive, grocery store down the village street.

Bengt Abelsson
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 11:14 am

The ICU beds are as of now some 80% occupied, 20 % available. Some regions are more at capacity than others.
The entire population of Sweden is only some 10 million, less than the city of Wuhan.

LdB
Reply to  Bengt Abelsson
April 7, 2020 7:17 pm

Yeah but for your size an impressive health system which is clearly funded better than ours.

richard
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
April 7, 2020 10:11 am

Number of cases are decreasing in Sweden according to Worldometer.

John in NZ
Reply to  richard
April 7, 2020 11:26 am

Not really.Numbers from Sweden seem to take a day or so to make it to worldometer.
Sweden has 487 new cases and 114 new deaths this morning.

Sweden is about to go boom.

Broadie
Reply to  John in NZ
April 7, 2020 12:13 pm

And cold kills too.

https://www.accuweather.com/en/se/g%C3%B6teborg/315909/march-weather/315909?year=2020.

What is your prediction for a ‘Boom’ in Vietnamese or Thai deaths?

Washington State figures for week 13 of the flu season

https://www.doh.wa.gov/portals/1/documents/5100/420-100-fluupdate.pdf

Will their deaths go “Boom’ too?

richard
Reply to  John in NZ
April 8, 2020 12:15 am

8th April – Cases still lower than 4 days ago.

richard
Reply to  John in NZ
April 8, 2020 12:19 am

Switzerland, lock down- smaller population – 22,000 cases.
Sweden- 7,693. cases.

Some boom!

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
April 7, 2020 1:14 pm

“Passing on small doses to their parents”? I hope that’s a translation artifact.

dwestall
Reply to  James Schrumpf
April 7, 2020 3:56 pm

Why? Large amounts of the virus overwhelm the system faster than samller amounts. A large percentage of people are going to get this virus. Better it’s by small doses than the opposite. The good news is likely that >99.5% will recover just fine.

Luke
Reply to  James Schrumpf
April 7, 2020 10:35 pm

I’ve heard that people who’ve been exposed to larger viral loads, such as healthcare workers, have worse infections.

Phoenix44
Reply to  Gary
April 7, 2020 9:07 am

A few weeks ago the UK was told that if it was 20,000 deaths that would be a “miracle”. We are not being told that it might be someway under that. I track the UK’s data on deaths and YTD (week-ending) 28 March versus YTD average of previous five years:

Total deaths: 150.057 vs 153,868
Respiratory deaths: 22,854 vs 26,161
Under 65 deaths: 21,872 vs 21,837

Lots of people in the UK today are trumpeting the fact that last week’s deaths were 1,000 over what was “expected” (the average). But they ignore the fact that weeks 9,10 and 11 were cumulatively 1,156 under average and weeks 12 and 13 totaled 1,083 above average. In other words, over five weeks slightly below average. Winter deaths come and go in waves for various reasons, and taking one week is utterly meaningless. But still everybody does it.

yarpos
Reply to  Phoenix44
April 7, 2020 3:24 pm

“Winter deaths come and go in waves for various reasons, and taking one week is utterly meaningless. But still everybody does it.”

The media do it for clicks and views. Govts do it to justify themselves and scare the masses. The innumerate masses lap it up and the hysteria builds.

The is also the factor the the world runs on feelings rather than rationality. The death numbers are reported as if the base is is zero and that normally nobody ever dies.

Keith Minto
Reply to  Gary
April 7, 2020 6:17 pm

The Czech’s are also tops in wearing face masks, common sense all around.

Robertvd
Reply to  Gary
April 8, 2020 11:14 am

“using smart quarantine (credit card and cell phone record tracing of people who may be at risk).”

Now that doesn’t sound BIG Brother is watching you.

Vuk
April 7, 2020 6:18 am

Today’s (Tuesday) UK update
http://www.vukcevic.co.uk/UK-COVID-19.htm
Some readers may have misinterpreted the mortality %s in the graph. It represents as it says ‘hospitalised mortality’, i.e. it is ratio of number of the hospitalised people with the CV-19 related death, and people admitted to hospitals with the confirmed CV-19, or simply it is strictly the hospitals’ CV-19 statistics, with no reference to the outside world.
Most of experts agree that number of the infected in the general population is at least half a million but may be as high as five million.
Date doesn’t include number of dead in nursing/old people homes or private households, which judging by the French data it may be another two thousand CV-19 related deaths. This might bring overall mortality to as low as 0.15%or as high as 1.5%.

Greg
Reply to  Vuk
April 7, 2020 7:08 am

Thanks for the clarification. Can you suggest what this ‘hospitalised mortality’ represents?

For example why does it go up or down and how should we interpret what it does? There does not seem much point in plotting something if we don’t know the significance even of a change in direction.

As I pointed out yesterday, since there is a lag of 14 days in French data (5d in Italy) so when cases drops first, that ratio will rise. Should we be looking for that rise and regard it as a good sign? What does the general rise you see indicate ?

UK looks odd in that deaths are not clearly lagging. That should be explored. Frankly I regard UK data collection as an anarchic mess and don’t even bother plotting it because I don’t think is reliable enough to look for meaningful changes.

I have not given it a lot of consideration but I suspect it means UK hospitals server very little theraputic value at this time. Hopefully that is a misinterpretation.

Those who do may want o

Vuk
Reply to  Greg
April 7, 2020 8:41 am

Greg
As it said “‘hospitalised mortality’ is ratio of number of the hospitalised people with the CV-19 related death, and people admitted to hospitals with the confirmed CV-19, or simply it is strictly the hospitals’ CV-19 statistics, with no reference to the outside world.”
It represents ratio of people who went out of a hospitals in a hearse and all those CV-19 positive people who entered hospitals in an ambulance.
I have now explained this number of times already, but anyone is welcome to interpret it any way they like.

Greg
Reply to  Vuk
April 7, 2020 6:08 pm

Thanks Vuk, you have been very clear about what you are doing. My question is what does it “mean”.

I thought I had been clear what my questions are. What does this ratio tell us ? Is it good , bad or normal when it is rising?

I’ve been plotting this experimentally to see whether is shows anything interesting ( I actually plot the line, not the bars like you do ) I’m still looking to work out what if anything we can get from it . That’s why I’m asking.

Here’s one which may show a signal for the Italian shutdown. But until we know what it means it’s hard to conclude anything useful.
comment image

Phoenix44
Reply to  Vuk
April 7, 2020 9:10 am

UK numbers for care homes and elsewhere are in the ONS data release. They have added 38 so far, to the week ending 28th March.

It is very likely that those dying outside hospitals would have died from the next infection anyway.

LdB
Reply to  Phoenix44
April 7, 2020 9:45 am

That is likely very true but death certificates are not interested in what you might die at some future time 🙂

I agree they are probably walking dead that just happen to die from covid19 and pad the stats but they would have padded the flu stats or xy condition anyhow. So they are always going to pad some stat in a death column.

dwestall
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 4:01 pm

Truth. You can’t put old age as cause for death on a US death certificate so you have to put something. Of course putting COVID19 helps scare the shit out of the population and that will lower the bar for funding all kinds of shot we can’t afford unless we cut elsewhere and we all know that never happens.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Vuk
April 7, 2020 1:15 pm

Would you consider the “hospitalised mortality” to be the same as the “naive mortality”?

Vuk
Reply to  Vuk
April 8, 2020 1:47 am

Official French data shows similar mortality rate as is in the UK data:
According to the latest figures released 30,000 people are hospitalised in France due to Covid-19. 7131 patients are currently in intensive care. 19,337 people have left the hospital cured. 7,091 deaths have been recorded in hospitals since the start of the epidemic in France and 3,237 in nursing homes, bringing the total number to 10,328 deaths in France since March 1st.

Stevek
April 7, 2020 6:30 am

I would really like to know how new cases of covid are occurring in areas that have been locked down for at least 2 weeks. Are the majority happening from family member to family member infection ? Or perhaps infections coming from worker to worker infection in essential businesses ? Possibly people catching it from grocery stores or drive through food ? I havent seen any data on this, I keep hoping journalist will ask Dr Birx or Dr Fauci. If anyone has data on this please let me know.

John Endicott
Reply to  Stevek
April 7, 2020 6:52 am

Lock downs are not absolute. As you point out there’s family members, workers in essential businesses (who can then bring it back to their families), and the people who go out to those essential businesses (to buy food, gas, meds, etc., who again can then bring it back to their families), not to mention the idiots that ignore the lockdown to gather in groups anyway (and then bring it back to their families). What you should hopefully see is that new cases in the locked down areas are decreasing rather than increasing.

Josh Postema
Reply to  John Endicott
April 7, 2020 7:47 am

“Lock downs are not absolute.”

This whole thing is a great exercise in question begging.

If the cases go up, it is because people are idiots not following the rules.
If the cases go down, it is because people are obeying the house arrest orders.
If the cases go down far more quickly than expected, it’s still the lockdowns working.
If the cases go down far more slowly, blame it again on the idiots.

All evidence is thus apportioned such that it affirms the conclusion desired.

Stevek
Reply to  Josh Postema
April 7, 2020 8:26 am

I see many idiots going to places like Target or Lowe’s and they are not going for essentials. They are casually shopping. It really upsets me because I feel if cases do not drop enough government will extend lockdown. These idiots are now taking away my liberty, if the lockdown is extended because of their actions.

Joey
Reply to  Stevek
April 7, 2020 10:53 am

Except a broken water fixture or pipe, etc. in a house is essential. That is why some of those places remain open…..and it’s not all about you.

Erik Magnuson
Reply to  Josh Postema
April 7, 2020 8:47 am

Josh, congratulations of the correct use of “begging the question”. Most people mean “raising the question” when using “begging the question”, but you got it right.

richard
Reply to  Erik Magnuson
April 7, 2020 10:17 am

I love these off-piste comments where something is learnt. I never knew.

John Endicott
Reply to  Josh Postema
April 7, 2020 8:49 am

blame it again on the idiots.

Don’t think it went unnoticed that you cherry picked *one* example of where transmission during a lock down can come from while ignoring all the others. But then cherry picking is how you affirm the conclusions *you* desire. Such dishonest argumentation says a whole lot about you, none of it good.

dmacleo
Reply to  John Endicott
April 7, 2020 9:54 am

blame it again on the idiots.
********************************
Don’t think it went unnoticed that you cherry picked *one* example of where transmission during a lock down can come from while ignoring all the others. But then cherry picking is how you affirm the conclusions *you* desire. Such dishonest argumentation says a whole lot about you, none of it good.
*****************************

not going to put words in the other posters mouth BUT what I hear is when people are out media/commentators specifically call them idiots.
so the posters phrasing here could have been “mimicking” what others say.

Josh Postema
Reply to  John Endicott
April 7, 2020 9:57 am

“But then cherry picking is how you affirm the conclusions *you* desire.”

Ah, you misunderstand. My “desired” conclusion (really my assumption and not a conclusion at all) is that people are overly certain as to the effects of mass house arrest orders. I don’t have precise numbers myself like politicians and Experts seem to (down to the single digits and yet always being revised!).

===
“Such dishonest argumentation says a whole lot about you, none of it good.”

So unnecessarily hostile. My “dishonest” argumentation so far is to point out logical fallacies. In this case, question begging. You have absolutely done this, and you are not alone. It’s absolutely everywhere right now.

My goal, however, isn’t to stop there. I want everyone to be less sure of their pseud-scientific prophecies. That is my mission. If you think it dishonest to demand humility about such things, I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean by the word.

John Endicott
Reply to  John Endicott
April 8, 2020 2:43 am

Cherry picking one word (what was not even the main thrust “not to mention” indicating that it’s more of an afterthought to all the other stuff that was already mentioned). is *dishonest* argumentation. As I said, you reveal yourself very much in doing so, and your attempts to deflect from that revelation do not work.

niceguy
Reply to  Josh Postema
April 7, 2020 5:06 pm

On the date of official school holiday for part of France, incl. Paris, the police (or Macron’s militia) and the media orchestrated together a show pretending to prove that Parisians are not following the rules: the police checked the travel excuses of car drivers in places you can exit Paris, causing massive files, and the TV could pretend that more people were leaving Paris in their cars than the other days.

It’s organized mass hysteria. French MSM is part of the Big State and the enemy of the People.

LdB
April 7, 2020 6:39 am

The poster child for many on here Singapore has overnight gone into a month long lockdown having large community transmission numbers spike. That leaves probably South Korea as the new poster child of non lockdown believers.

Bob boder
April 7, 2020 6:40 am

India is still showing a low infection rate, what is the difference there? 140,000 tested 5,000 positive.

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  Bob boder
April 7, 2020 7:19 am

Sun shine.

LdB
Reply to  Bob boder
April 7, 2020 7:29 am

I would not get excited about the Indian numbers it has now jumped containment. They now have 7 cases in the Dharavi slum … watch the numbers over next 2 weeks.

Mike Bryant
Reply to  Bob boder
April 7, 2020 7:39 am

Is hydroxychloroquine a banned topic on this post?

Dan-O
Reply to  Mike Bryant
April 7, 2020 8:58 am

I’ll bite—last night on Fox News Dr Oz was making the rounds and had
some interesting findings about HCQ and the present virus.
He reported that a rheumolgist by the name of Dr Daniel Wallace
has seen zero covid cases in lupus patients. The cited lupus patients numbered
in the thousands. They also were checking insurance records also. He also
reported that Dr Wallace finds that HCQ is very safe and has never even once
done a EC test while prescribing it for lupus.. He then went on to say
that it would be possible for a lupus patient to have the virus and show
no symptoms but they at this point are including this as a possibility. Additionally
he felt that HCQ was safe enough for most everyone to use as a preventive
with little concern..a 600mg loading dose followed by a regular dose….

LdB
Reply to  Dan-O
April 7, 2020 9:40 am

Well Dr Wallace may not have but the lupus and rheumatoid community has
https://twitter.com/rheum_covid/status/1245750037222690820
https://www.lupus.org/blog/are-people-with-lupus-protected-against-covid19

If you fact check that it is a resounding false.

Joey
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 10:57 am

I guess it depends on which source you believe. And what is in it for them. I wouldn’t call your links necessarily a “fact check”.

Dan-O
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 11:16 am

Just to clarify–it’s patients with lupus being treated with HCQ.
Not just lupus patients in general.

Curious George
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 11:43 am

Your second link has opinions, not relevant facts.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 1:36 pm

It seems that the only evidence currently accepted is actual clinical trials. From the wording of the articles, anyone who received hydrochloroquine treatment and recovered is NOT evidence, because it was not in a clinical test environment.

I certainly understand their position, but it sounds a lot like the old story that engineers claimed a bumblebee couldn’t fly, in the face of bumblebees flying everywhere.

My concern is that people who actually DO need HCQ on a daily basis — the million Lupus sufferers in the US — would have trouble getting their meds because of this new demand.

rbabcock
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 2:31 pm

Twitter is where I get all my information.

Jeffery P
Reply to  Mike Bryant
April 8, 2020 6:58 am

In the USA, roughly 20% of prescriptions are for off-label use. This means the drug is used to treat conditions not included in the clinical trials.

I think doctors and patients are smart enough to make their own decisions regarding HCQ.

What I want to know — Would anybody on WUWT categorically reject HCQ for themselves or a loved-one with a serious Covid-19 infection?

Joey
Reply to  Bob boder
April 7, 2020 10:55 am

102 tests per million of population. VERY small sample. By way of comparison, Iceland is 85,000 tests per million.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Joey
April 7, 2020 1:46 pm

Iceland has administered 28,991 tests. They’ve tested less than 10% of their population. When you only have 364,260 population, it’s relatively easy to do these things.

If the US had their cases/1 million population ratio, there’d be 1.3 million active cases in the US. Funny things, statistics, eh?

mark from the midwest
April 7, 2020 6:44 am

I also suspect, as this virus burns out over the next 4-6 weeks, that we will see a decline in seasonally adjusted deaths, (much like the impact of a heat wave, a few more are lost during the heat, a few less once it cools down).

Mike O
Reply to  mark from the midwest
April 7, 2020 8:27 am

The Spanish Flu started up again in the Fall of 1918 and was far more virulent than what they had seen the previous Spring. I could see anyone who tests negative for Coronavirus antibodies being prescribed Chloroquine (or some analog) prophylactically in Sept/Oct. When I took it to prevent malaria, there were four weeks of one dose per week before we traveled, one dose per week while in location (Belize) and two further weeks of one dose each week once we returned.

With the delay of a vaccine until the end of the year or early next year (at best?), we’ll need to do something to prevent a severe, new seasonal outbreak until it is widely available. We’ll also want to have widespread anitbody testing available throughout the Summer and early Fall.

Reply to  mark from the midwest
April 7, 2020 10:38 am

Hi Mark,

For the record, about 20 times more people die worldwide from cool and cold weather vs warm and hot weather.

The BS-press promotes the opposite – the false concept that heat waves kill zillions – in fact, hot weather deaths are insignificant compared to normal cool and cold weather deaths, even in warm countries like Brazil and Thailand – hence the term Excess Winter Mortality. My friend Joe D’Aleo and I wrote a paper about Excess Winter Deaths in 2015 – note especially the excellent referenced paper by Gasparrini et al.

COLD WEATHER KILLS 20 TIMES AS MANY PEOPLE AS HOT WEATHER SEPTEMBER 4, 2015
by Joseph D’Aleo and Allan MacRae
https://friendsofsciencecalgary.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/cold-weather-kills-macrae-daleo-4sept2015-final.pdf

There is one of many examples of the BS-press promoting the false global warming crisis, aka “We’re all gonna burn from global warming!!!”

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/22/wild-claim-climate-change-could-wipe-out-health-progress-over-the-past-50-years/#comment-1971157

The death count in Pakistan was reportedly about 700. I believe these deaths occurred during the festival of Ramadan, which started on June 18..

During Ramadan, Muslims are not to eat any food NOR DRINK ANYTHING AT ALL INCLUDING WATER FROM SUN-UP TO SUN-DOWN – THAT IS THE RULE!

Is it any wonder that people died from heat, combined with extreme dehydration? No surprise there.

Temperatures in Pakistan reportedly reached 45C, but I have experienced over 50C in Luxor Egypt and we were fine. We did drink a lot of fluids though – mostly a skunky Egyptian beer misnamed Stella.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  ALLAN MACRAE
April 7, 2020 1:49 pm

Was that skunky Egyptian beer in clear bottles? Sunlight all by itself creates butyl mercaptan (the chemical skunks produce) in beer, and it does it fast. A sunny country like Egypt should either stay with cans or dark brown bottles.

Addolff
Reply to  James Schrumpf
April 8, 2020 1:36 am

Remember Stella well from Cairo in 1992 and Luxor 1997. Brown bottles. In Cairo found in a regular (well, regular for Cairo) grocery store, but in less cosmopolitan Luxor, purchased slyly from a small doorway of a shop with no signage. Nothing like the proper Belgerian wife beater but drinkable.

Uzurbrain
April 7, 2020 6:47 am

Not sure I am looking at the right place but when I look at influenza deaths (no COVID ) on CDC they are high for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 season (Nov. – Feb.) For 2019 ( Nov. 2019 – Feb. 2020) They are Very Low. WHY?

John Endicott
Reply to  Uzurbrain
April 7, 2020 7:06 am

2017-2018 and 2018-2019 data is listed as preliminary and subject to change as more data comes in. (I don’t see the numbers for 2019-2020, but if there are numbers for it, those too would have to be considered preliminary and subject to change)
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html
2015-2016 => 23,000 deaths
2016-2017 => 38,000 deaths
2017-2018 => 61,000 deaths
2018-2019=> 34,157 deaths

Uzurbrain
Reply to  John Endicott
April 7, 2020 7:28 am

So, the hospitals are reporting Covid deaths but NOT influenza deaths?

Strange.

LdB
Reply to  Uzurbrain
April 7, 2020 9:55 am

ROFL you people … not strange at all it’s killing the same group of people just more and faster 🙂

If they test for covid19 which is far more aggressive and faster onset they will get marked as death by covid19. The only false that you will get is someone who had a bad case of bronchitis (is a hero and not seen his doctor) and subsequently contracted covid19. It would be impossible for a doctor under that situation to work out exactly what they died from so it will get marked as covid19. You are talking about a really small number and certainly nothing that matters … well except to you people.

Rich Davis
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 12:50 pm

Agree that the same at-risk people are dying and instead of dying over several months, they are all hitting the system in a couple of weeks. The question not yet known is whether there will be many more than would have died this year anyway. Is covid primarily k!lling people who would have died of flu or other causes over the next few months? So far it looks like that.

Uzurbrain
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 1:35 pm

@Rich
Same thoughts here. logic says that some of the COVID deaths would have/should have been the Typical Annual Influenza Deaths.

John Gentzel
Reply to  Uzurbrain
April 7, 2020 7:23 am

This years there were 2 primary Flu strains Influenza B early in the season primary group affected were children and adults under 50, then there was a second peak of influenza A primary group people over 60. Also the flu vaccine was 45%-50% effective this season even though only about half the population got the flu shot. Some seasons we get lucky and only 20000-30000 people die in the USA from flu and some seasons (2017-18) we have a rough year 86000 death from the flu.

Think about what its like to be on the panel that decides which flu strains to include in the vaccine for the 202/2021 season, they are meeting right now, since it takes 6 months to make the vaccine supply.

Next cold and flu season is less than 6 months away Oct 2020.

John G

icisil
Reply to  Uzurbrain
April 7, 2020 7:53 am

They are very low, probably because the CDC is robbing the influenza numbers to inflate COVID cases. In other words, call it COVID instead of flu.

John Endicott
Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2020 8:51 am

In other words, call it COVID instead of flu

Source for that assertion icisil? Hopefully one more reliable than your usual anti-vaxxer fare.

icisil
Reply to  John Endicott
April 7, 2020 9:27 am

That’s what happens when you do presumptive diagnoses, o thou vaccine worshiper.

Even if a flu patient tests positive for the coronavirus, the CDC says that doesn’t definitely mean the coronavirus caused the illness. However, labs are required to report all positive results, so if a flu patient tests positive for coronavirus, his flu automatically becomes COVID. So there you have it – rob one group to inflate another.

John Endicott
Reply to  icisil
April 8, 2020 2:45 am

No source, just your own anti-vaxxer warped “thinking”. thought as much.

Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2020 12:39 pm

It is looking likely that more deaths are now classified as caused by Covid 19, since the International Classification Disease code for Covid 19 was announced March 24, 2020. I can’t say that the intention is to ramp up the numbers, but the recordkeeping is already biased in that direction. My analysis with example of Canadian statistics is: https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/a-lesson-in-mortality/

Steven Mosher
April 7, 2020 6:59 am

“It is also of interest how bad the 2017-18 flu season was compared to this season. I’m sure many medical people are aware of this, but I don’t recall it being a huge news story two years ago.”

flu deaths are all estimated.

LdB
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 7, 2020 7:08 am

Attribution Statistics … Man you should see the number that die from CO2 and Global Warming 🙂

Ron
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 9:58 am

“As University of California physicist John Holdren has said, it is possible that carbon-dioxide climate-induced famines could kill as many as a billion people before the year 2020.”
– Paul Ehrlich,

John Endicott
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 7, 2020 7:11 am

And your point? You seem to be implying that because it’s estimated, you can’t trust it? That’s ironic. (Hint: the Earth’s temperature and the support for “global warming” is built on a ton of estimating as well).

Uzurbrain
Reply to  John Endicott
April 7, 2020 7:37 am

The problem I see is that when you add up all of the annual deaths from “each” “cause” you get a number approaching the total population. Believe this is caused by things like smoking deaths and cancer deaths and heart deaths, etc. Each activist cause group inflating their number with contributing causes.

icisil
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 7, 2020 7:30 am

“flu deaths are all estimated.”

COVID deaths are inflated.

Estimated, inflated… sounds like climate science.

Greg
Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2020 8:21 am

Especially in the hands of viscount Machiavelli of Brenchley.

https://climategrog.wordpress.com/monckey_business/

That was a classic Mannian hockeystick trick he pulled there.

I’m preparing a test with some red-noise. Really.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 7, 2020 8:15 am

Estimated from real deaths from all causes, presumably?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 7, 2020 8:55 am

Mosh

Speaking of “estimated”, check this comment from Nikhil Desai responding to the idiotic article in the NYT 7 April 2020 claiming that lowering air pollution leads to a lower infection rate. The paper, BTW, didn’t “find” anything. They made it up – all of it.

++++++
From Nikhil Desai:

Harvard School of Public Health delivers another pudding of juicy plums:

“The paper found that if Manhattan had lowered its average particulate matter level by just a single unit, or one microgram per cubic meter, over the past 20 years, the borough would most likely have seen 248 fewer Covid-19 deaths by this point in the outbreak.”

With experts like these, who needs city clown or idiot? Academic public health research on air pollution is a shameless, lawless venture. Cheapening credibility by means of credentials can earn grants and pad publication lists in the short run, but compromises public health by distracting from the real business of air quality management by taking all risks and costs into consideration. It is one thing to suggest that hospitals should be better prepared for dealing with patients of certain demographics – e.g., African Americans in DC or Chicago – but totally inane to ignore race and economics, and claim, “a person living for decades in a county with high levels of fine particulate matter is 15 percent more likely to die from the coronavirus than someone in a region with one unit less of the fine particulate pollution.”

Especially considering that, “The analysis did not look at individual patient data and did not answer why some parts of the country have been hit harder than others. It also remains unclear whether particulate matter pollution plays any role in the spread of the coronavirus or whether long-term exposure directly leads to a greater risk of falling ill.”

Failure to distinguish cohorts is scientific racism. But I forget, modern racism was scientific in its origins. Cooking up DALYs from PM2.5 is fakery.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/climate/air-pollution-coronavirus-covid.html

Uzurbrain
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
April 7, 2020 9:31 am

Like the drastically lower PM25 emission limits. forced retroactively, on coal plants shutting them down because it would no longer be profitable. In most eastern states the emission limits were LOWER than the PM25 already in the air. Thus a coal plant would become an expensive “HEPA” filter.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 7, 2020 10:57 am

Mosher
You remarked tersely, “flu deaths are all estimated.” Surely you aren’t suggesting that models aren’t trustworthy! While the absolute numbers may not be accurate, if the same models are used every year for the estimate, then the relative severity of the seasonal flu should be reflected in the peaks.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 7, 2020 1:55 pm

Have you ever seen the actual ranges given by the CDC for flu cases and deaths in a year? They have a 100% uncertainty range — or more. From the CDC web page for swine flu in 2009:

“From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.”

Kevin Roche
Reply to  James Schrumpf
April 7, 2020 2:27 pm

Flu deaths are estimated because they rarely test. Doesn’t matter much for clinical treatment as pneumonia or respiratory distress is usually cause of actual hospitalization

Farmer Ch E retired
April 7, 2020 7:06 am

Dr. RWS,

Since this analysis is for US deaths, can you check the death certificate lag issue with other countries impacted by CV19?

LdB
April 7, 2020 7:07 am

Charles/Roy there is no limit to how late the adjustments could be made, any coronal inquiry even years after a death can require a change to the figures. I suspect the US is like Australia most Covid19 deaths will be treated as natural causes unless a complaint the death is a result of the care they received or did not receive, a missed diagnosis or failure to treat where it gets reported to the coroner.

Can anyone in UK shed some light on the Chloe Middleton case.
It would appear the BBC and Guardian ran articles that claimed the 25 year old didn’t die from CoronaVirus and then had to run a very public apology
https://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/18358998.chloe-middleton-guardian-apologises-article-suggesting-high-wycombe-woman-21-may-not-died-coronavirus/

icisil
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 7:36 am

“The newspaper has now posted an apology online, saying Chloe’s cause of death has been confirmed by “both the family and in a statement on behalf of the Berkshire coroner’s office” as being Covid-19.”

That was already known. The coroner heard that she had a cough and assumed from that it was COVID. Hospital staff familiar with the situation disputed his finding. Sounds like someone put pressure on the paper.

icisil
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 7:59 am

Last week, Chloe Middleton suffered a heart attack. Soon after her arrival at Sough’s Wexham Park hospital she was pronounced dead. Having been told Miss Middleton had a cough, a coroner suggested her death was related to coronavirus Covid-19. But the hospital says that is wrong. She had not rested positive for the virus.

https://www.anorak.co.uk/460914/news/chloe-middleton-covid-19-turning-a-young-womans-death-into-a-media-storm.html

LdB
Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2020 9:23 am

You obviously didn’t read they had to publish a retraction and apology for that article .. you are simply re-posting what is a lie by looks.

icisil
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 10:29 am

In their retraction they conveniently left off mentioning that the coroner merely assumed COVID, and the hospital disagreed with him and said the woman didn’t test positive. All they mentioned were the coroner and the woman’s family.

LdB
Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2020 7:15 pm

No he did not they had to apologize to the Coroner, they were facing legal proceeding … what was written didn’t happen. It doesn’t help an argument when you are using an online article that appears to be blatantly false and made up.

Personally I really don’t give a rats either way about the argument you are running it won’t change my governments position or change the fact I am in lockdown and I will make a judgement post all this lockdown when I have all the facts.

Greg
April 7, 2020 7:09 am

Thanks to Dr S for this enlightening post. It is pretty poor that data changes for the same period dependant on what day you get it !

LdB
Reply to  Greg
April 7, 2020 7:22 am

It is a death certificate process it doesn’t give a rats about what you want reported.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  LdB
April 7, 2020 9:06 am

Maybe this stuff is now important enough to insist on electronic transfer stat! Remember the medieval nature of these data processes prior to Trump’s team rebuilding the systems for modern day.

LdB
Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 7, 2020 9:27 am

Seriously you people don’t seem to get it … there is no point making it quicker it can always be changed even 100 years later by forensics. The certificates form part of the legal system and they simply don’t care about speed.

If you want fast stats for other purposes you need to take it away from the death certificate process … now I believe the UK has recently done that and NHS is running it’s own covid stats.

Jay Willis
Reply to  Greg
April 7, 2020 8:03 am

” It is pretty poor that data changes for the same period dependant on what day you get it !”

No, it is better they publish what they have when they have it, with the caveat that the figures are likely to rise as more reports are filed. Clearly the figures are unlikely to go down, as very few people are resurrected (I personally know of of only one case around this time of year, but that may have been an apocryphal anecdote and in any case the statistic came in three days later.”

Steve Case
April 7, 2020 7:10 am

…strict isolation would not be correct, it would delay the problem, not solve it.

Yes, and I’ve see speculation that a delay would allow time for the virus to mutate into a more virulent form. In other words, strict isolation might have unintended consequences beyond just ruining the economy. But of course there’s this from my file of quotes and smart remarks:

Committed Communist will kill a few million – on the way to their goal.
Committed Environmentalists will kill a few billion – which is their goal.

icisil
April 7, 2020 7:26 am

I am convinced that the Corona mortality rate will not even show up as a peak in annual mortality.“ In Hamburg, for example, „not a single person who was not previously ill“ had died of the virus: „All those we have examined so far had cancer, a chronic lung disease, were heavy smokers or severely obese, suffered from diabetes or had a cardiovascular disease. The virus was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. „Covid-19 is a fatal disease only in exceptional cases, but in most cases it is a predominantly harmless viral infection.“

https://swprs.org/a-swiss-doctor-on-covid-19/

Gary Pearse
Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2020 9:14 am

I was told by a Dutch doctor in Nigeria in the 1960s that when an African came to a hospital he was certain to have at least three serious disorders and diseases. Maybe this is more broadly true in pandemics. Maybe Africans then were in a perpetual pandemic!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 7, 2020 11:04 am

Gary
That reminds me of a joke by Mark Twain: A man goes to see a doctor. The doctor said, “What seems to be the problem?” The man says, “I’m a sailor.” So, the doctor prescribed the appropriate treatment.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 7, 2020 1:58 pm

I’ve read a lot of Mark Twain, but I have to admit –I don’t get it.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  James Schrumpf
April 7, 2020 7:35 pm

James
I’ll give you a hint: Sailors have a reputation for having a girl in every port.

Robert W. Turner
April 7, 2020 7:33 am

The slight uptick around week 10-13 every year is probably related to spring break when the number of accidental deaths increase – probably accounting for about 5% of all deaths in those weeks. That with the decreased flu transmission and I am betting the overall death rate will show a very slight decrease but will be hard to see. In any case, there won’t be a big Covid related spike like there was with the 1918-19 pandemic.

icisil
April 7, 2020 7:33 am

In addition, Dr. Püschel explains: „In quite a few cases, we have also found that the current corona infection has nothing whatsoever to do with the fatal outcome because other causes of death are present, for example a brain haemorrhage or a heart attack. Corona in itself is a „not particularly dangerous viral disease“, says the forensic scientist. He pleads for statistics based on concrete examination results. „All speculations about individual deaths that have not been expertly examined only fuel anxiety.“ Contrary to the guidelines of the Robert Koch Institute, Hamburg had recently started to differentiate between deaths „with the“ and „by the“ coronavirus, which led to a decrease in Covid19 deaths.

https://swprs.org/a-swiss-doctor-on-covid-19/

Louis Hunt
Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2020 12:07 pm

How is this different than any other virus outbreak such as the flu? If the flu pushes an elderly person or someone with underlying conditions over the edge, aren’t they counted among the flu deaths? Why change the method of attribution now if you want to compare apples to apples?

icisil
Reply to  Louis Hunt
April 7, 2020 2:20 pm

I don’t really care how they attribute for either illness, but I do care when they try to inflate COVID to make it look like ebola, when, it most cases, it doesn’t act much differently than flu.

Steve Case
April 7, 2020 7:52 am

It is also of interest how bad the 2017-18 flu season was compared to this season. I’m sure many medical people are aware of this, but I don’t recall it being a huge news story two years ago.

And the 2009-10 flu season wasn’t a huge news story either.

Here’s a link to the statistics of the 2009-2010 H1N1 (“Swine Flu”) Pandemic for the United States

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21342903

The death rate from simple calculations given at the link says:
12,469 deaths*
274,304 hospitalizations*
leads to
4.5% of those hospitalized died

Total number of people infected in the U.S. was 60.8 million*

*Estimated

Robert Stewart
Reply to  Steve Case
April 7, 2020 8:44 am

The deaths attributed to the swine flu were greatly underestimated at the time. Some speculated that the elderly had acquired an immunity in their younger years, since they didn’t seem to be affected as much as younger people. But reviews of the causes of death for the elderly after the fact suggested that respiratory and circulatory disease may have been diagnosed for those infected with the swine flu virus. See, for example: https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001558

Steve Case
Reply to  Robert Stewart
April 7, 2020 10:57 am

Robert Stewart April 7, 2020 at 8:44 am

Thanks for the link.

It really is difficult to understand the reaction to the current pandemic compared to others that have occurred in past decades i.e., 1957, 1968 & 2009

Robert Stewart
Reply to  Steve Case
April 7, 2020 12:19 pm

I think the “madness of crowds” can work in both directions. We were embarked on a great experiment in 2009 and hopes around the world were high. Particularly in the media and amongst the anointed. Peace was going to break out, and the oceans would stop their relentless rise. The list was long, and time was short.

Uzurbrain
April 7, 2020 7:54 am

One possible good thing that may come from this pandemic is that government officials, congress, even the common person will be exposed to the truth of models and the fact that rarely is the “Worst Case” reached. They will also learn that the expected prediction is not cast in concrete. And that models are not perfect. The worst case should be considered for planning but the cost of trying to prevent worst case also needs to be considered and other options considered. Further, in most cases, the “Best Estimate” is close to the actual results, and with proper risk analysis consideration, will achieve an acceptable outcome.

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  Uzurbrain
April 7, 2020 8:53 am

Meh, I have thought that the general public would have had their aha moment several times over the past few years regarding their realization that the news is mostly propaganda and sensationalization, but then something like this happens and then I remember that the general public has the attention span of a cat at a laser light show.

Nick Schroeder
April 7, 2020 7:58 am

I’m following ECDC and WHO CoVid data sites.
Seems to be variations in when various countries report, but overall seems ok.
ECDC updates its data base once a day. WHO is continuous. TMI.
For the exponential model (models, ehh?) to hold US deaths need to rise to 5,000 to 6,000 per day by the end of the week.
Can’t hide whether or not that actually happens.

commieBob
April 7, 2020 8:10 am

It is also of interest how bad the 2017-18 flu season was compared to this season. I’m sure many medical people are aware of this, but I don’t recall it being a huge news story two years ago.

I have said this several times and I am a natural cynic but …

The seasonal flu is not a problem unless medical personnel are affected. This is the same kind of doublethink they use to describe writhing debilitating pain as discomfort.

n.n
April 7, 2020 8:15 am

Statistical reporting from diverse sources (e.g. press, media, social platforms) of variable quality, inference to predict current numbers, and adjustments to meet hypothesized (“modeled”) expectations. Also, conflation of causes that skew reported causes of death.

Dodgy Geezer
April 7, 2020 8:16 am

“…It is also of interest how bad the 2017-18 flu season was compared to this season. I’m sure many medical people are aware of this, but I don’t recall it being a huge news story two years ago…”

I have been harping on the boards about this. At the moment I characterise Covid-19 as a mild flu epidemic year – though since the virus is a new one to which we have no immunity, I suspect that there are somewhat more severe cases than in a normal year, and there may be more younger adults catching the disease, whose immune systems would normally shake off a bout of flu before it starts…

That doesn’t mean that people won’t die of it, of course. A lot of people die from flu every winter…

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
April 7, 2020 2:02 pm

I just don’t remember any time in the past when, say, 16,000 Italians died suddenly, in a hospital of respiratory infections, in March.

Was it just not reported?

April 7, 2020 8:25 am

It should be pretty obvious why deaths to causes other than coronavirus are going to be lower. Car accidents and deaths are way down. One bad side effect of this is that it is severely limiting organs available for transplant. In addition, violent deaths are down. So at least for some time, we might expect some countervailing trends. The only way to tell for sure what happened will be to wait and see the statistics in a few months and then compare pre-existing trends with the ones during this period for all causes of death. There is a legitimate separate issue regarding attribution of deaths to coronavirus, based on the CDC guidance for filling out death certificates. I blogged on that on my website.

Robert Stewart
April 7, 2020 8:28 am

I found if you click on the “download” button that can be found on your “data” link that you can get the weekly data. Curiously, the data is not sorted in chronological order. The top row is a header, and the next 26 rows are the data for the 41st week of 2019 thru the 12th week of 2020. That is then followed by the data for the previous flu season (2018-2019), and so on. The data also includes two columns listing the number of deaths attributed to influenza and pneumonia. They totaled about 7100 in the 2017-2018 peak week, and are more typically around 4500. The peak in the 2017-2018 season was about 67,000 deaths, whereas the same week in other years varied from 55,000 to 61,000, with an average of (about) 59,000, an increase of 8,000 deaths, only 2,600 of which are attributed to increased influenza and pneumonia deaths. Unfortunately this data only goes back to 2015. The Swine flu epidemic in 2009 and 2010 was thought at the time to have killed only 20,000 or so worldwide. However, over the next three or four years, researchers found that there were very large increases in deaths attributed to respiratory and circulatory causes during the swine flu event. Correcting for these omissions, estimates are that the swine flu killed between 200,000 and 400,000, not 20,000. Comparisons to past pandemics are thus hampered by the lack of the RNA data we now have for COVID-19. Could we have experienced a very similar episode during the swine flu pandemic or even the 2018-2018 event, but didn’t know it because we couldn’t identify the cause with the specificity our current testing allows?

Steve Oregon
April 7, 2020 8:28 am

When and why is a shut down triggered?

The virus was severe for all US populations
resulted in an estimated 959,000 hospitalizations and 61,099 deaths.
Another estimate attributed more than 80,000 US deaths
….was widespread including 32 states with high activity.
… exacerbated by a shortage of medical equipment
… killing up to 4,000 Americans a week.
… one of every ten deaths in the US.
….The percentage of deaths was at or above the epidemic threshold for 16 consecutive weeks.
…., mortality exceeded 10.0% for four consecutive weeks, peaking at 10.8%
…. 186 pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC
… it is estimated that there were in reality more than 600 total pediatric deaths nationwide
…. This estimation of three times the reported pediatric deaths was arrived at based on the observation that about two-thirds of children who died with a suspected viral background were not tested.
…. the first where “we’ve had the entire continental US” show the same “widespread” activity, excluding the District of Columbia and Hawaii.
… strain, which for unknown reasons tends to hit humans harder than other strains
… according to the CDC, affects elderly and young children more than other strains, resulting in more severe hospitalizations and deaths.
…. most Americans did not get the vaccine.
… the United States had become complacent concerning the virus
That was the 2017-2018 Flu season
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017%E2%80%932018_United_States_flu_season

By today’s standard any elevated flu season would require this new overeating shut down approach.
IMO this will have been the biggest blunder in human history.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Steve Oregon
April 7, 2020 11:12 am

Steve
+1

Mike O
April 7, 2020 8:31 am

It also occurred to me that the delays in testing must be affecting the curve of the confirmed cases. A couple of weeks ago, it was taking a week to get results back, pushing the count of many positive results out. I’ve heard anecdotally that tests are now coming back in less than a day. How would this affect the curve of the progression of the infection?

icisil
April 7, 2020 9:16 am

On the basis of information from China, medical protocols have been defined worldwide that rapidly provide invasive artificial respiration by intubation for test-positive intensive care patients. On the one hand, the protocols assume that a more gentle non-invasive ventilation through a mask is too weak, on the other hand there is the fear that the „dangerous virus“ could otherwise spread through aerosols. As early as March, however, German physicians pointed out that intubation can lead to additional lung damage and has an overall poor chance of success. In the meantime, US physicians have also come forward who describe intubation as „more harm than good“ for patients. Patients often do not suffer from acute lung failure, but rather from a kind of altitude sickness, which is made worse by artificial respiration with increased pressure. In February, South Korean physicians reported that critical Covid19 patients respond well to oxygen therapy without a ventilator. The US physician mentioned above warns that the use of ventilators must be urgently reconsidered in order not to cause additional damage.

https://swprs.org/a-swiss-doctor-on-covid-19/

China started the early intubation with high PEEP protocol, and the world followed based on their bad information. How many ICU patients have died because the treatment they received likely caused the ARDS doctors were trying to prevent? I suspect quite a few.

https://rebelem.com/rebel-cast-ep79-covid-19-trying-not-to-intubate-early-why-ardsnet-may-be-the-wrong-ventilator-paradigm/

Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2020 10:38 am

A very impotant advice ! Thanks for sharing. Read that yesterday in an other thread here on WUWT.

William Astley
April 7, 2020 9:52 am

Good news.
It appears in the US the death total will be much less than the predicted 200,000 to 250,000 by the fall with social distancing and isolation.

The US model assumptions were purposely pessimistic to give high predicted total number of cases and deaths to help motivate people to isolate distancing.

The ‘models’ told us that the deaths for covid by the fall with isolation would be 200,000 to 250,000 and without isolation would be as high as 2 million.

The models assumed only 50% of the population would isolate and follow social distancing.

The economy is a different question. Unemployment numbers are not real time and hence lag reality. It is estimated that the current real US unemployment is roughly 13% and will reach 30% by the fall.

https://www.breitbart.com/health/2020/04/07/cdc-director-coronavirus-death-toll-will-be-much-much-much-lower-than-projected/

HOST: Are throwing those kind of numbers out actually helpful because what they do is scare the hell out of everyone to social distance? Is that the purpose?

DR. REDFIELD:

…. As you pointed out, those models that were done, they assume only about 50 percent of the American public would pay attention to the recommendations.

In fact, what we’re seeing is a large majority of the American public are taking the social distancing recommendations to heart.

And I think that’s the direct consequence of why you’re seeing the numbers are going to be much, much, much lower than would have been predicted by the models.

richard
Reply to  William Astley
April 7, 2020 10:22 am

“The official US Covid19 projections so far have overestimated hospitalisations by a factor of 8, ICU beds needed by a factor of 6.4, and ventilators needed by a factor of 40.5”

Reply to  William Astley
April 7, 2020 10:33 am

Who hopes for and believes in models is hopeless and religious so far it concerns climate and corona ones.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  William Astley
April 7, 2020 11:10 am

William
You said, “It appears in the US the death total will be much less than the predicted 200,000 to 250,000 by the fall with social distancing and isolation.” If that is the case, then the models were wrong. All along we have been told that the social distancing wasn’t to keep people from getting infected, but, rather, slowing down the RATE of transmission so that hospitals could prepare for the expected peak. Over the long haul, about the same percentage of people are expected to become ill as ‘herd immunity’ is achieved. Flattening the curve will save some lives if the hospitals are adequately prepared by the time the peak arrives.

William Astley
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 7, 2020 5:02 pm

It depends how low we can get the infection rate after isolation.

We had no choice about isolating. If we had not isolated, the death total would have been around 2 million.

If we had a treatment so most sick people got better there would be less fear of getting sick.

Trump must have a lucky star and this might be a very big deal.

It appears Trump was correct hydroxychloroquine given to people just as they start showing covid symptoms drastically reduces the virus’s ability to attack cells.

https://www.breitbart.com/health/2020/04/07/donald-trump-gets-millions-of-hydroxychloroquine-pills-from-india/Regards, we are going to be forced restart our economy.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  William Astley
April 7, 2020 7:41 pm

William
Without a vaccine, our best bet for reducing infections is to confer herd immunity.

Some of the early model estimates were as high as 2,000,000. However, they are backing off on those numbers. See Middleton’s recent article: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/04/07/wildly-exaggerated-chicom-19-models-are-driving-policy-decisions/

Most sick people DO get better. The current death rate is around 1%, not much different from seasonal flues.

Eliza
April 7, 2020 10:02 am

A must see from one of the top epidemiologists in the world the social distancing will eventually kill more because we are delaying immunity from common but severe flu everybody will get this virus as its a common flu virus like all the other SARS eventually 99% will not even know it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGC5sGdz4kg. Sweden is the successful test. I strongly suggest that people that may be experts in mathematics/physics do not indulge in virus disease butof course its a free country and i will defend tgheright to say even if you are 100% wrong (not this post or Dr Spencer unrelated)

GregK
Reply to  Eliza
April 7, 2020 5:09 pm

Sweden has a lower infection rate [measured] than the US but a higher death rate/million population.

A variation of Succesful ?

Greg
Reply to  GregK
April 7, 2020 6:13 pm

You are not looking at infection rate you are looking +ve testing rate. Don’t confuse the stats with the infection. Until you look at how testing is done and availability of tests, you should NOT be comparing one country to another competitively.

richard
April 7, 2020 10:09 am

“The latest figures from a special report by the German Robert Koch Institute show that the so-called positive rate (i.e. the number of test positives per number of tests) is increasing much more slowly than the exponential curves shown by the media and was only around 10% at the end of March, a value that is rather typical for corona viruses. According to the magazine Multipolar, there can therefore be „no question of a dangerously rapid spread of the virus“.
Professor Klaus Püschel, head of forensic medicine in Hamburg, explains about Covid19: „This virus influences our lives in a completely excessive way. This is disproportionate to the danger posed by the virus. And the astronomical economic damage now being caused is not commensurate with the danger posed by the virus. I am convinced that the Corona mortality rate will not even show up as a peak in annual mortality.“ In Hamburg, for example, „not a single person who was not previously ill“ had died of the virus: „All those we have examined so far had cancer, a chronic lung disease, were heavy smokers or severely obese, suffered from diabetes or had a cardiovascular disease. The virus was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. „Covid-19 is a fatal disease only in exceptional cases, but in most cases it is a predominantly harmless viral infection.“
In addition, Dr. Püschel explains: „In quite a few cases, we have also found that the current corona infection has nothing whatsoever to do with the fatal outcome because other causes of death are present, for example a brain haemorrhage or a heart attack. Corona in itself is a „not particularly dangerous viral disease“, says the forensic scientist. He pleads for statistics based on concrete examination results. „All speculations about individual deaths that have not been expertly examined only fuel anxiety.“ Contrary to the guidelines of the Robert Koch Institute, Hamburg had recently started to differentiate between deaths „with the“ and „by the“ coronavirus, which led to a decrease in Covid19 deaths”

Reply to  richard
April 7, 2020 10:25 am

The highest grow we had on February 28th with 52.7 %, 42.9 % March 1st.
On March 30st we had an 11.3 % increase and 66,125 cases, that day, the gouvernement declared the “High Risk” situation.

beng135
April 7, 2020 10:12 am

Strange, US deaths seem to be highly correlated with colder temperatures. Cold leads to more deaths (rhetorical)?

Curious George
Reply to  beng135
April 7, 2020 11:48 am

That’s why we MUST stop global warming 🙂

Matthew R Marler
April 7, 2020 10:19 am

Dr Spencer, Thank you for the essay.

richard
April 7, 2020 10:19 am
NZ Willy
April 7, 2020 12:46 pm

This is a common data artifact and a way we dealt with it was to date each event by when it was *reported*, for the weekly reports. Then after the end of the reporting year we’d issue a report which dated them by event date, always clearly labelling each report lest they be confused.

ren
April 7, 2020 1:41 pm

A general principle of passive antibody therapy is that it is more effective when used for prophylaxis than for treatment of disease. When used for therapy, antibody is most effective when administered shortly after the onset of symptoms. The reason for temporal variation in efficacy is not well understood but could reflect that passive antibody works by neutralizing the initial inoculum, which is likely to be much smaller than that of established disease (5). Another explanation is that antibody works by modifying the inflammatory response, which is also more easily achieved during the initial immune response, a stage that may be asymptomatic (6). As an example, passive antibody therapy for pneumococcal pneumonia was most effective when administered shortly after the onset of symptoms, and there was no benefit if antibody administration was delayed past the third day of disease (7).
https://www.jci.org/articles/view/138003

Working Dog
April 7, 2020 1:56 pm

This might help clear up some of the confusion.

In CDC’s guidance to Doc filling out Death Certs, they state this: “In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID–19 cannot be made, but it is suspected or likely (e.g., the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty), it is acceptable to report COVID–19 on a death certificate as “probable” or “presumed.”

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvss/vsrg/vsrg03-508.pdf

Given the likely errors in testing (the current RT-PCR test is qualitative) it will be some time before we figure out who died “from” Wuhan Acquired Respiratory Syndrome (WARS) and who died “with it”.

https://www.questdiagnostics.com/home/Covid-19/HCP/QuestIVD/

Also note that we don’t really know how specific this test is yet. At least I have found nothing published on that yet.

Finally, if it is true that a large percentage of those infected never show any symptoms, this will be seen as the greatest government and media induced disaster in human history.

https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1375

FundMe
April 7, 2020 1:59 pm

I cant predict the outcome, death wise, but I can predict that by the time this is over when all of the enquiries , apportioning of blame and all of the data has been mined we will be living on Mars. The mere mention of Wuflu will trigger death in some. I of course will not be alive to be added to the statistics , thanks be.

pat
April 7, 2020 5:16 pm

1 Apr: LifeSite News: Problematic definition of ‘COVID-19 death’ may be inflating death rate, leading to draconian lockdowns
By Robert L. Kinney III
https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/problematic-covid-19-death-definition-may-be-inflating-death-rate-effecting-draconian-lockdown-measures

CNN tried to interpret CDC’s Guidance rather differently? note more CDC tweaking “underway”:

6 Apr Updated 7 Apr: CNN: US coronavirus death count likely an underestimate. Here’s why
By Jacqueline Howard; Arman Azad, Wes Bruer, Christina Maxouris and Dakin Andone contributed to this report
Also, deaths due to Covid-19 “may be misclassified as pneumonia deaths in the absence of positive test results, and pneumonia may appear on death certificates as a comorbid condition,” the CDC noted, adding that “analyses to better understand and quantify reporting delays” for Covid-19 deaths and “related causes” are underway. In March, the CDC introduced a new code to accurately capture mortality due to Covid-19 on death certificates.

With that code, the CDC noted that Covid-19 “should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death.”…
‘There will be a lot of death’…
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/06/health/us-coronavirus-death-count-cdc-explainer/index.html

pat
April 7, 2020 6:12 pm

CDC’s “Covid-19 Alert” of 24 Mar is linked in LifeSite article, and includes:

– Should “COVID-19” be reported on the death certificate only with a confirmed test?
COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death. –

however, WaPo, like CNN, wants to inflate the count, it seems. WaPo also quotes Lipsitch who spread the story (initially via WaPo) that up to 70% of the global population could get infected, then lowered his forecast in a tweet!

5 Apr: WaPo: Investigations: Coronavirus death toll: Americans are almost certainly dying of covid-19 but being left out of the official count
By Emma Brown, Beth Reinhard and Aaron C. Davis; Jacqueline Dupree, Abigail Hauslohner, Dalton Bennett and Lena H. Sun contributed to this report
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts only deaths in which the presence of the coronavirus is confirmed in a laboratory test. “We know that it is an underestimation,” agency spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said…
The CDC has launched an effort to use national data on illnesses, hospitalizations and death certificates to estimate covid-19 infections and deaths…

Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard, said there are probably some people dying with covid-19 who are not dying of covid-19. Such misattribution is a problem for any cause of death, he said, but it is a minor issue that is “swamped by the opposite problem: deaths that are caused by covid but never attributed, so the death count is underestimated.”…
https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/coronavirus-death-toll-americans-are-almost-certainly-dying-of-covid-19-but-being-left-out-of-the-official-count/2020/04/05/71d67982-747e-11ea-87da-77a8136c1a6d_story.html

Noah Feldman (of Trump Impeachment notoriety), Professor of Law at Harvard Law School,
begins by asking Lipsitch about his claim in WaPo that up to 70% of the world population cold get infected. Lipsitch says that was roughly correct, but he should have said of the “adult population” (what a difference!) and that he was making amends! doesn’t say where or how, and his initial claim continued to spread via MSM:

AUDIO: 25M49S: 28 Feb: Deep Background with Noah Feldman: The Coronavirus Isn’t Going Away
Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, predicts that between 40 to 70 percent of adults in the world will become infected with the coronavirus
https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/pushkin-industries/deep-background-with-noah-feldman/e/67663436

original claim:

22 Feb: WaPo: Coronavirus outbreak edges closer to pandemic status
Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch estimates that 40 to 70 percent of the human population could potentially be infected by the virus if it becomes pandemic…The estimated death rate attributed to covid-19 — roughly 2 in 100 confirmed infections — may also drop over time as researchers get a better understanding of how widely the virus has spread…
https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/coronavirus-outbreak-edges-closer-to-pandemic/2020/02/21/03afafc0-5429-11ea-9e47-59804be1dcfb_story.html

Lipsitch still pushing his original claim on 2 March:

2 Mar: CBS: Coronavirus may infect up to 70% of world’s population, expert warns
by Jim Axelrod
CBS News spoke to one of the country’s top experts on viruses, Marc Lipsitch from Harvard University, who cautions that 40-70% of the world’s population will become infected — and from that number, 1% of people who get symptoms from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, could die…
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-infection-outbreak-worldwide-virus-expert-warning-today-2020-03-02/

different story:

3 Mar: Tweet: Marc Lipsitch
Because I am now less certain of where the R0 will end up (and how it may vary geographically) I am going to revise downward the range of outcomes I consider plausible to 20%-60% of adults infected. This involves subjectivity about what range of R0 may turn out to be true.
https://twitter.com/mlipsitch/status/1234879949946814464?lang=en

some people seem eager for a massive death count.

Pat from kerbob
April 7, 2020 8:18 pm

I think the graphs, regardless what they say about covid show clearly that death comes calling in winter big time
Whatever the cause I look forward to global warming

Alex
April 7, 2020 11:02 pm

The number of covid-19 dead is significant in Italy and Spain only.
You should check their weekly statistics.
Anywhere else the number of covid-19 dead is much lower than the normal dead.
Let us keep these numbers low.

Rick
April 8, 2020 3:03 am

More people stay home, less people on the road, fewer automobile accidents = fewer deaths.

However, more people stay home, more enjoyment of some afternoon delight = population explosion in 9 months.

pat
April 8, 2020 3:42 am

8 Apr: Fox News: Birx says government is classifying all deaths of patients with coronavirus as ‘COVID-19’ deaths, regardless of cause
by Louis Casiano
The federal government is classifying the deaths of patients infected with the coronavirus as COVID-19 deaths, regardless of any underlying health issues that could have contributed to the loss of someone’s life.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said the federal government is continuing to count the suspected COVID-19 deaths, despite other nations doing the opposite…
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/birx-says-government-is-classifying-all-deaths-of-patients-with-coronavirus-as-covid-19-deaths-regardless-of-cause

Mary White
April 12, 2020 5:04 am

I’ve often noticed that when our US gov speaks to us through media about things like this it seems to me more trying to scare us to death than to inform us.

In other words, lots of bluster that often turns out to be nothing-burger.

TallDave
April 15, 2020 5:42 pm

Keep in mind, in recent years flu deaths are held down by broad vaccinations, though effectiveness seems to vary by year.

Flu might actually be much worse than this appears relative to the Xirus, considering how well we already know the former.

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