CDC Insights

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

The recent CDC update contains some interesting insights. The big news being discussed is the following statement:

Table 3 shows the types of health conditions and contributing causes mentioned in conjunction with deaths involving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death. 

I’m a data junkie. So I downloaded the data to see what I could find out. Here’s the biggest news I found:

Figure 1. Stacked area chart showing deaths by age group from February 1st to August 26th 2020. It is divided into: deaths not involving COVID-9 (light blue), deaths where COVID-19 is a “co-morbidity” with other diseases (dark blue), and deaths from COVID-19 alone (red)

The light blue area is all of the deaths that did not involve COVID.

The dark blue area at the bottom represents the deaths of people with one or more other diseases or conditions who had COVID as a co-morbidity. It goes from 0.2% of all deaths for infants, and steadily increases with age to stabilize at about 9% of all deaths for all ages over 65. Some of these diseases and conditions are the result of COVID, and some are unrelated to COVID.

Fun fact. A total of 4,758 of the deaths in the dark blue area are from “Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events” with COVID as a co-morbidity. So this includes e.g. the guy in Florida who died from a motorcycle accident and tested positive for COVID … clearly the category shown in dark blue includes both deaths with COVID as well as deaths from COVID.

The thin red area at the top, scarcely wider than a line?

That’s all of the deaths from COVID by itself. It’s tiny because most of the time, COVID either causes other diseases, as when someone presents with COVID and then gets pneumonia as well, or because COVID is often non-causally associated with other diseases and conditions.

The takeaway message? Even with the old and ill, deaths with COVID plus deaths from COVID are less than ten percent of all deaths. For those under fourteen years old, it’s less than one percent of all deaths. For infants, 0.2%.

Here’s another look at the CDC data. Here are the deaths from the most frequent diseases where COVID-19 is listed as a co-morbidity.

Figure 2. Deaths from diseases where COVID-19 is a co-morbidity.

I note that on average the people who died had more than two underlying conditions, plus COVID. And while a goodly number of some categories like respiratory diseases assuredly result from an initial COVID infection, things like obesity, cancer, heart conditions, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes clearly are not caused by COVID. We have a mix of deaths with, and deaths from, COVID.

How much of this is from COVID and how much is with COVID? Unfortunately, here’s no way to tell from the data at hand. If I were forced to guess I’d say two-thirds to three-quarters are deaths from COVID, and one-third to one-quarter are just deaths with COVID, but that’s a guess. If so that would mean that COVID has caused about six percent of all deaths of people over 65, decreasing with age down to a tenth of one percent among infants.

Next move? End the hugely costly lockdowns. I just published a post here on WUWT discussing a study of how the lockdowns have cost millions of years of productive life. We need to stop locking people down, accept the occasional flareups, and get America back to work.

My best to everyone,


As Always: When you comment please quote the exact words that you are discussing so we can all understand who and what you are referring to.

180 thoughts on “CDC Insights

  1. There is an industry invested in continuing the COVID scare, .doctors, researchers, politicians, you name it. They won’t look at these numbers and come even close to the conclusions you have, Willis.

    • This bit about “from covid” vs. “with covid” is being badly misunderstood by many. Death cert. data almost never puts a virus or bacteria down as cause of death Diseases cause various problems such as pneumonia (inflammation and fluid in the lungs) or heart failure, or sepsis, or stroke, etc., etc., etc. That’s what goes on the death cert.

      If it’s known that the person had a virus or bacteria which caused the physical condition that resulted in death, then the virus/bacteria will be noted on the death certificate, but not as the cause of death.

      Covid-19 is now known to cause all sorts of different organ and body wide conditions that can lead to death – sepsis, heart failure, kidney failure, pneumonia, stroke, liver failure, etc., etc.

      So now people are seeing the CDC reporting people who died from such things, things that were in fact caused by the virus, but it’s those things that go down as ’cause of death.’ So people are up in arms saying “see, they didn’t die of covid, they just died WITH it!”

      I’m sorry, but most of the time that’s just an incorrect understanding of the reporting process.

      YES, there are unquestionably some cases where people have in fact died from other causes but also happened to have covid and it was wrongly put down as a covid death – like the motorcycle accident (unless, of course, the accident was caused because the person stroked out or passed out because of the virus, that’s also possible, tho I’d bet not the case!).

      Unfortunately the opposite is happening too – people dying from complications caused by covid when it wasn’t realized that they even had it – and those are NOT getting recorded as covid deaths.

      Nor is any of this information new – so I’m really surprised that it’s just seemed to take off in the media, including social media and even here. It’s been known since very early on that the people who are most prone to get severe symptoms from coronavirus are those who happen to have certain other conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, etc. etc. This isn’t even remotely new information.

      What’s very telling, however, is if you look at the areas which have been hardest hit and compare the total deaths from ALL causes in the months after coronavirus took off compared to the average for those same months in prior years.

      If you do that, you’ll find that total deaths from all causes more than doubled in those hard hit areas. That’s an incredibly massive increase that could only be caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In fact during those same months, accidental deaths were down significantly because of the lockdowns (less driving, less risky activities, etc., etc.). And yet even so total deaths more than doubled. I’ll post a number of links to information about that below.

      So, anyhow, the newest outrage over how supposedly we’re all being duped and really coronavirus has hardly killed any people at all is just dead wrong (sorry, no pun intended!) – it’s just a bad misunderstanding of the whole reporting process and medical info associated with such things.

      It’s also worth noting that a huge number of people failed to get really important medical care that they should have been getting while this was going on… including for things such as heart attacks, or things which would have led to a cancer diagnosis and treatment (or those who were already diagnosed, but had treatment delays), and so on. It’s a good bet there will be a lot of extra deaths in the months to come just because those people went untreated for a period of time.

      Then there are the already known issues with excess deaths caused by the lockdowns themselves… See for example: Excellent, facts that must be considered: Death By Policy Mortality statistics show that many people have died from lockdown-related causes, not from Covid-19. Includes not only the excess mortality which has occurred because of covid-19 which is huge, but also estimates of how much of the excess deaths were because of less medical care for critical health conditions not in people who don’t even have coronavirus.

      And here are the links I promised about the total death rate having skyrocketed due to this Chinese coronavirus:

      Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19, from the CDC. This has a graph showing the weekly number of deaths across the United States going back several years, including showing the seasonal changes in the normal death rate, along with a line showing the number which has to be reached to even count as “excess” based on statistical probability. Just scroll down to the graph – the increase from coronavirus is striking – even tho it includes the entire USA and not just the hardest hit areas of the nation.

      Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show total deaths are nearly 50% higher in states slammed by the coronavirus pandemic. Death numbers in New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois and Colorado leaped between March 8 and April 11, data show… The number of deaths during this period is more than three times the normal number for New York, where COVID-19 has killed thousands…”

      In mid-April, scientists at Yale School of Public Health published a scholarly paper, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, that estimated that the actual death count in New York and New Jersey could be up to three times higher than the official tally of confirmed COVID-19 deaths or deaths that would be expected normally this time of year with respiratory diseases.

      Ecuador, who’s health system has been totally overwhelmed: “…In the first half of April, the province of Guayas, whose capital is Guayaquil, recorded 6,700 deaths, more than three times the monthly average. [emphasis added] The disparity suggests that the real COVID-19 death toll is far greater than the official nationwide tally of fewer than 600. President Lenin Moreno has acknowledged that Ecuador’s official coronavirus tallies “are short” of the true figures….”

      April 27: U.S. deaths soared in early weeks of pandemic, far exceeding number attributed to covid-19

      Hart Island [New York] burials soar during coronavirus pandemic

      April 26: Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported | Free to read Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across 14 countries analysed by the FT

      April 21: Excess mortality data suggests as many as 25,000 uncounted coronavirus deaths in the United States.

      Coronavirus Death Toll in Europe Likely Far Higher Than First Reported

      “…[In Spain] official figures for March 17 to April 11 showed the total number of deaths from all causes in Spain was 62% higher than the historical average and almost three times the 16,205 deaths of Covid-19 reported by the Spanish Health Ministry during the same period….

      For Italy, the analysis showed that the death toll for Bergamo in March and for Brescia since the epidemic started in late February until the end of March is probably at least double, according to interviews with local officials, doctors and funeral-service providers, and comparisons with the numbers of deaths from past years. The provinces centered on the two cities are the worst-hit areas….

      Deaths in New York City Are More Than Double the Usual Total – and that’s even with accidental deaths from car accidents etc., almost certainly being drastically down because of the shut down…

      ” Over the 31 days ending April 4, more than twice the typical number of New Yorkers died.

      That total for the city includes deaths directly linked to the novel coronavirus as well as those from other causes, like heart attacks and cancer. Even this is only a partial count; expect this number to rise as more deaths are counted.

      These numbers contradict the notion that many people who are dying from the new virus would have died anyway. And they suggest that the current coronavirus death figures understate the real toll of the virus, either because of undercounting of coronavirus deaths, increases in deaths that are normally preventable, or both. …

      A must read from WSJ: Italy’s Coronavirus Death Toll Is Far Higher Than Reported .Many are dying uncounted as nation’s stretched health-care system struggles to save the living and accurately gauge human cost. This one includes not only comparisons to prior month’s deaths, but also to prior year’s deaths for a comparison of how many “excess deaths” are occurring now because of coronavirus – and unfortunately it’s huge.

      Apr. 30, 2020, New York: Massive Cremation Backlog; 4 To 6 Week Wait…
      Apr. 13th, Photos show bodies piled up and stored in vacant rooms at Detroit hospital in early April, before they got five refrigerated units for temporary storage in parking lot.

      • Rational, you comment is far longer than the post of Willis. The length and details do not convince a careful reader who notices that you have obscured a central fact in the COVID-19 deaths.

        If this were killing children and young adults, who would otherwise live for perhaps another 60 years, then the impact would be huge. But it is not. It is primarily the old, 65+, who have their lives shortened by perhaps a week or month or year. These people are nearing the end of their lives, with or without COVID-19. The extreme response and huge sums thrown at extending their lives is madness. The elderly should certainly be helped to avoid COVID-19 or their pain eased while dying – what many good hospices do – but not at all costs.

        Willis is right. He recognizes that the costs of the foolish responses to COVID-19 is going to have huge negative repercussions in the lives of those much younger and productive. They will struggle for a generation to fix devastated economies and in the process many younger lives will be destroyed. I doubt our politicians, their expert advisors and the echoing media will be held accountable.

          • I am 78, and plan on enjoying what life is left to me, but I do not begin to assert that I have the years left that the young and middle aged do. It is no insult to say that we of advanced age are nearing the end of our lives. It is up to us to live as long as we can but not forget there are others besides us that must contend with this situation.

          • I am sixty seven I have two dogs both getting up in age, the question is will they pass before me , ten years ago that would not been much of a debate. When and if I do out live them the will not be replaced. I more responsable then that. Having a pets when I die and then burden someone finding them a home is to much to ask, even though I might last more than fifteen years. The best news I had on COVID was my grandsons had little chance of death due to it. Me high risk yet it my grandsons are who I worry about, that should be the priorities of those who are in the autumn of our lives..

          • Thank you Wayne. I don’t wish anyone to die prematurely, but the response to this virus is unproportionately hurting the young. It’s lowest common denominator logic at its worst.

        • Michael in Dublin

          There’s something in the US Constitution about right to Life and I don’t recall it mentioned age or exemptions for the China virus.

          • Please show me where in the Constitution there is a Right to Life. The Declaration of Independence is where you will find the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

            Regardless, a right to Life was found to not apply to the unborn, so it could easily be found to not apply to the elderly also with the right judges.

          • Jane,
            The right to life you speak of is not a promise or a guarantee, it merely means that someone else can’t *take* another’s life without good cause (like self-defense). In other words, it does not place requirements on individuals to take action to save other people’s lives. Some may assume a moral obligation to do so, but surely not at any cost.

          • Right to life? That’s about the gov’t taking your life, it doesn’t apply to the coronavirus.

            Nor does it say the gov’t has the right to take all from Peter to save Paul from a minuscule risk. Folks are being driven into bankruptcy by the lockdown.

            A sane policy would have been to protect the elderly in nursing homes, some governors did the exact opposite.

          • The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution says:
            ” …. nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. …”

            Keywords being LIBERTY and DUE PROCESS.
            I argue that many States’ Governors are in violation of Civil Liberties by edicts that surpass Due Process.

          • That Richard Greene “hooters” comment below was by a family member under the influence of beer who used my phone when I went outside to get the mail.
            I’m not that funny. Where is the moderator when you need one?
            Probably sitting on “his” favorite bar stool at some sleazy bar, as usual, drinking whiskey until he reaches his tipping point, and falls on the floor.

        • Michael: you are misinformed. Search for “life years lost”, covid-19 UK study

          You will find a graphic that shows people in their 60s lose 21 years of remaining life on average, and those in their 70s lost 12. Not until you get into the 90s is it down to a year.

      • How many of those were conditions existing BEFORE CoVid? How many are due to 1) failure / inability to treat early in case progression (HCQ / zinc); 2) failure / malpractice in treatment at mid-case progression (anti-inflammatories); 3) overly aggressive treatment in late case progression (intubation and ventilation for a higher payment)? How many are conditions that WOULD have been treated in a non-disrupted care system, and are now resulting in excess deaths that have nothing to do with CoViD? Have they accounted for the large increase in suicides, drug overdoses, murders?

        Okay, you can blame just about all of this on CoViD as the INITIAL factor – but the majority of deaths are from political and medical malpractice – not the virus.

      • “If you do that, you’ll find that total deaths from all causes more than doubled in those hard hit areas. That’s an incredibly massive increase that could only be caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In fact during those same months, accidental deaths were down significantly because of the lockdowns (less driving, less risky activities, etc., etc.). And yet even so total deaths more than doubled. I’ll post a number of links to information about that below.”

        Rational Captain Lockdown,

        So why are the hospitals empty? Everyone is scared to go to the hospital, despite cancer, strokes, heart attacks, etc… People are dying from FEAR, stoked by people like YOU.

      • “Covid-19 is now known to cause all sorts of different organ and body wide conditions that can lead to death – sepsis, heart failure, kidney failure, pneumonia, stroke, liver failure, etc., etc.”

        Not known to cause those things; suspected to cause them. However, mechanical ventilation is known to cause all of those things. So we can’t know what covid is actually doing until that confounding factor is removed from the equation. Also, toxic antiviral drugs are known to cause organ failure.

        • I can comment specifically on sepsis, having worked in the lab that studied the triggers of virulence. Multiple research papers can be found demonstrating how forced ventilation can cause sepsis (Alverdy is one of the discoverers of the gut origin). Also look up “ventilator-associated pneumonia”.

          Several gut bacteria turn virulent and go into the blood stream when they sense the signals of stress or trauma in the host. One of the signals that can trigger pathogenic behavior is hypoxia, which often occurs under forced ventilation. Sepsis had been a bane of operating rooms conducting open surgery, with more patients dying of sepsis than of the complications of surgery itself. They tried to control it with antibiotics, with mixed results. About 15 years ago, whole gut lavage was established as a safe pre-op procedure, essentially eliminating sepsis. Emergency physicians are typically unaware of it, and even if they were, they wouldn’t have time to do it.

          • Very interesting. Looking at it now.

            I was put on antibiotics a while back, which turned normal bowel movements into discharges of yucky mucosal stuff. That’s when it struck me: So this is how it happens. People are routinely put on antiobiotics that destroy the gut microbiome and protective mucosal lining, which allows pathogenic organisms and endotoxins to leak into the body causing inflammation and illness. I immediately went to the store, bought probiotics and downed about 15-20 pills that night. Everything was back to normal in the morning. Doctors are remiss, IMO, to not prescribe probiotics along with antibiotics.

          • To use Alverdy’s expression, which I think is only slightly metaphoric, drug-resistant bacteria do not simply ignore antibiotics; they sense the drugs and “retaliate”. That may be hard to believe, but there is good experimental evidence for that.

          • “One of the signals that can trigger pathogenic behavior is hypoxia, which often occurs under forced ventilation.”

            First let me stress that by the CDC&P and the WHO I am a “High Risk” for Every Known Respiratory Pathogens. Chronic Bronchitis, Diabetes Mellitus, Perifial Arteries Disease, Atherosclerosis Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity, High Blood Pressure. With every one of those conditions Hypoxia is created and Hypoxia becomes the Underlying Condition that causes the Cellular Degradation of every organ of the body by the insufficient Oxygenation of the Plasma and Red Blood Cells required to maintain healthy organs.

            All Respiratory Pathogens cause Hypoxia by blocking the Capillaries of the Lungs from exchanges of Inhaled Oxygen into the Bloodstream and Carbon in the Bloodstream cannot Exchange normally with Oxygen to create Carbon Dioxide to be exhaled thereby causing Carbon to build up in the Bloodstream and in our organs, that both thickens the blood as the Red Blood Cells lacking Oxygen become sticky and clotting occurs and Carbon and Carbon Dioxide levels become toxic in the Bloodstream because they’re not being exhaled. This “thickening of the blood” reduces how Oxygen gets into Organ Tissues causing the deterioration of every organ.

            Therefore, Hypoxia is the actual “Cause of Death” of every Respiratory Pathogens “by” and “with” every Underlying Comorbitity Organ Failure attributed to the Respiratory Pathogens.

          • It is not that simple. What you have described appears to be a chronic condition, to which I presume your gut had the time to adapt in some ways.

            The onset of virulence in the enterics (in those that are considered “facultatively pathogenic”, such as Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Clostridia, E. coli, and such) co-incides sudden changes in the blood, such as appearance of signal molecules that are only present under stress conditions caused by shock or trauma, and also with a sudden drop in oxygen. The best-researched cases of iatrogenic sepsis are those of the people who underwent serious surgery, with anaesthesia and forced ventilation. They are not typically admitted to surgery with acute pulmonary disease.

            My point is that it is possible to kill a healthy person with a ventilator alone. The regulation of oxygen supply in blood and tissues is a non-linear system that is easy to upset. For example, hyper-ventilation can cause hypoxia.

      • I would like to say that the virus didn’t cause the death, it just flipped the comorbidity over the edge.
        You can see this with younger patients and older patients that don’t have comorbidity, they don’t die from the covid.
        Covid kills in a way that is similar to too much sugar fed to a diabetic. The sugar itself isn’t poison, but if you have diabetes, to much sugar can kill you. So it isn’t the sugar, it is still the diabetes.

      • You bought the panic, hook line and sinker did you. Explain to me how anything we did change the course of the virus. Did we prevent people from getting it no, we just lengthen the time it took to spread, did we save lives, no we just shifted more needless death onto the young. The reality is our basline expected death rate was lower than the mean for the last year or so COVID-19 brought it back the mean, yet I am suppose to panic over that. If you invest your money am I ssume you sold your stock holding during corrections also.

      • Rational Db8
        September 1, 2020 at 9:31 pm


        What CDC seems to say is that the COVID-19 disease has only 6-7% connection, at most, to the new novel corona virus in the means of causality.
        Completely insignificant as per this novel corona virus to actually cause the COVID-19, the severe and fatal one of hospitals.
        So as for this line even the naming of this disease is wrong.

        If the evidence factually supports this point then the rest of any rational, acrobatic, smart or otherwise innuendos contradicting it, are simply bollocks.

        I think you have wasted the time there and the space also.

        You could just have stated that you do not believe that this fact based on evidence is proper or correct, and CDC has got it wrong, or something like that.


      • FFS this reminds me of the “fracking causes earthquakes meme”. First they say it can cause earthquakes up to 10 km away, then it’s 25 km, then it’s 50 km, ad infinitum. Covid-19 will soon be the only cause of death, we get it.

      • Rational (or not). Not sure about America but total deaths in England and Wales were lower, age adjusted, in 2019/20 than in 1999/2000. Also only 1/8th of those, 50K from 400K were with Covid. No lockdown then, no fear mongering… in fact if I remember correctly, there was more media fuss about the Y2K issue, every system on the planet was going to crash.


      • Yes. This is a very good post by Rational.
        Similar to HIV, which almost never kills, but disables the immune system and gives a great variety of other pathogens open slather.
        In the case of COVID-19, it is more of a physiological disablement. Any other underlying factors, and the system fails.
        And to me the excess mortality data is compelling stuff.

        But, cases are absolutely certainly massively under-reported: in many countries the mildly affected are not reporting their cases and not getting tested, probably in trepidation of government actions. I know for without doubt that is the case in certain South East Asian countries.

  2. I spoke with a nurse today who works at a hospital in my town. She had it, the #CCPVirus.
    She said ”It’s one hell of a nasty Flu, nothing more”.
    Sorry, I can’t refer to specifics in the chart. Only what a nurse told me.

    • except that it’s really not a flu at all.

      flus are caused by rhinoviruses.

      coronaviruses cause colds.

      COVID-19 is a hell of a nasty cold.

      • Flus are caused by Influenza viruses. Sheesh.
        Influenza A viruses kill young and old alike.
        Rhinoviruses are typically the wimpiest of all the cold viruses. Usually just upper respiratory and nasal passage misery.

      • The common cold is caused by rhinoviruses and corona viruses. In humans, the flu is caused by influenza viruses of Type A, B, and C — and of course their are sub-types off of these types, etc.

    • Along those lines, I would like to see Willis’ analysis done the same with the “flu” for 2019. It is estimated average flu deaths are between 40K-60K in the US. What percentage of those people, using the same classification as in this and previous article, died from the flu alone? Is the CDC using the same metric for both? Or has Willis discovered that the flu hardly kills anyone? Enquiring minds want to know. Although my guess is that that data is not available because Gov’t was spending money on CAGW bogeyman and not on things that might actually save lives.

      • Influenza is only listed as a little more than 6,000 deaths since February 1st. That is unheard of, it should be about 25k-30k. Tells you all you need to know about the CDC statistics.

        • Or it tells you that influenza virus is a bit less infectious than is coronavirus, and a bit of care and attention to basic hygiene and a bit of an effort at social distancing and work from home efforts actually help.

          • If what you’re suggesting is a plausible alternative hypothesis, why are we not allowed to test it? Where are the data on the infectivity, or even better, the virulence of coronavirus? Why did CDC order the cessation of flu surveillance this year? Why has flu surveillance ceased in the southern hemisphere?

    • Along those lines, I would like to see Willis’ analysis done the same with the “flu” for 2019. It is estimated average flu deaths are between 40K-60K in the US. What percentage of those people, using the same classification as in this article, died from the flu alone? Is the CDC using the same metric for both? Or has Willis discovered that the flu hardly kills anyone? Enquiring minds want to know. Although my guess is that that data is not available because Gov’t was spending money on CAGW bogeyman and not on things that might actually save lives.

    • Indeed, the reliability of the tests has been an unaddressed issue since day one. The best explanation is from Matt Briggs, Statistician To The Stars. You can read it here.



      • Willis. You might enjoy this problem. (From an actual case).
        A cab was involved in a hit and run accident at night. Two cab companies, the Green and the Blue, operate in the city. You are given the following data:

        1. 85% of the cabs in the city are Green and 15% are Blue.
        2. a witness identified the cab as Blue. The court tested the reliability of the witness under the same circumstances that existed on the night of the accident and concluded that the witness correctly identified each one of the two colors 80% of the time and failed 20% of the time.

        What is the probability that the cab involved in the accident was Blue rather than Green?

        • I presume 29% (12% + 17%)

          0.8 * 15% = 12% chance of it being blue and identified correctly
          0.2 * 85% = 17% chance of it being green but identified wrong

        • Can I guess the lawyer argued given the witness identified a blue cab it is more likely he was wrong that right 17% vs 12% and as the doubt is larger please dismiss 🙂

        • 80%

          The witness states Blue.

          Assumption is witness is not trying to mislead.

          Tests show witness has an 80% ‘success rate’ at blue/green identification in context of the situation.

          So the witness is correct except when they are wrong. They are wrong 20% of the time, hence 80%

          The 85/15 is not important in the context of this question because we are not trying to establish the randomness of a car, we are trying to establish the skill of the witness.

    • Not an expert, but one that I’ve been reading suggests that a test strategy that elevates frequency over reliability is more likely to succeed.

      Mr. Bronson opines that Trump’s commitment to buy 150 million rapid tests is a substantial investment…

      A step? 150 million rapid tests — enough to test nearly half of all Americans — and that’s just “a step” in The Times’ estimation.

      It’s a frugal investment imo. “Hot” states need to isolate their own multiple clusters and contract trace out into the broader population from each case. That kind of tracing, with the number of infections in the U.S. may necessitate the daily testing of millions of people for hundreds of days. Multiple millions of cheap tests may be required till the r-naught levels drop in each state. Rapid tests by design identify only those with heavy viral load during the one week that they are infectious. They don’t often give false positives. To catch infected individuals at the leading edge of that one week, the testing regimen would need to be a daily routine.

      Rapid tests may give some false negatives for people at the beginning and end of their disease, but they are apparently good enough at delivering true positives that team owners bet the health of their NBA players on their reliability. Barring the occasional lab screw-up, they perform their function and cull out the sick players. The expensive naso-pharyngeal swab tests are the ones delivering positives for so many people who only have fragments of the the virus in their system. A substantial percent of the positives yielded by the more “accurate” test are no longer sick and don’t need isolation.

      Hope folks will review Michael Minna’s efforts to support this program of universal home rapid testing using a spit test on a strip which can be read in minutes by the user him/herself. He predicts costs could be a $1 per test with government subsidies. Videos at Medcram.

  3. This article about flu deaths is meaningless. With the rare exceptions of SARS1 and MERS, the deaths of peoplewith the flu are mainly deaths from pneumonia. People rarely die directly from the flu. Some strains of seasonal flu affected young people and old people but SARS2 seems like a minor risk for children and teens.

    The SARS2 death counts are probably overstated just like all CDC flu death counts (based on computer models in the past). But CDC has consistently overstated flu death rates just like climate models consistently over predict global warming. This is notjong new. What do you expect from bureaucrats?

    As usual this article ignores the suffering from the virus. A lot of people suffer morre from SARS2 compared with typical seasonal flus. Only a tiny percentage of SARS2 infected people die — maybe 0.1 percent or less. But a lot of people have suffered for weeks and survived. I know two of them. SARS2 is no ordinary flu and any suggestion that it is nothing special, is an ignorant statement.

    • It’s dangerous for a small slice of the population

      A small slice

      That slice is bigger in the USA only because so many people are so sick to start with

        • Not really. It’s mostly about far fewer infant deaths. Life expectancy is actually starting to go down due to the sedentary lifestyle. I just got back from a bike ride on a beautiful day and was appalled at how empty the bike paths and sidewalks were.

    • Suffering? I had the flu @ 10 yrs ago. Not fun for nearly 1 week. Then again, I only know 2 individuals (a relative and a friend – one is 62 the other @30) who both tested positive for covid. Neither knew they had it until they went to dr and had to get automatically tested (this was back in april). Neither of them knew they had it…. no symptoms at all that they can remember. trying to assess suffering is not very scientific. I’m sure those on ventilators suffered. I’m sure if you were sick enough to go to hospital you also suffered. But how is that much different from seasonal flu suffering?

      • Goracle
        I guess your two anecdotes are conclusive.
        Here are my three anecdotes:
        Healthy Friend 1 in 60’s extremely sick for 3 weeks, cared for at home by her son the doctor, who did not trust hospitals at the time. He got sick too, with typical flu symptoms.
        Friend 2 very sick for 2 weeks
        Daughter of Friend 3 only lost her sense of smell !

        Two friends who work in the largest local hospital reported far more flu patients came to the hospital than with any other flu season, and far more ended up in the ICU — to them COVID was much worse than any prior flu season, and they have decades of hospital experience.

        It’s true many people have no symptoms or mild symptoms. But the suffering with COVID, which is still in progress, was much worse than a typical seasonal flu.

        Doctors are keeping more victims alive now too. But the death rate overall was never very high, maybe 0.1%, but for seasonal flu that would be a high death rate.

        What really annoys me is that even though 99.9% of infected people will survive, people here and elsewhere only want to talk about the 0.1%, and ignore the suffering by some in the 99.9%.

        At least you mentioned the 40% with mild symptoms or no symptoms. That leaves over 60% who will suffer, and some will have permanent lung damage. There are also indications of permanent damage to other organs for those in the ICU who survive. More will be known next year. Too much jumping to conclusions this year.

        Flu death counts are always overstated and prior counts are from computer models.
        COVID death counts are probably overstated too. But not deliberately, that’s just how CDC does things. No one dies from the flu, except maybe SARS1 and MERS, they die from an organ failure, usually the lungs, from pneumonia.

        You could be in a nursing home nearing the end, with one foot on a puddle of oil, the other foot on a banana peel, and then they take you to the hospital with a COVID infection, where you die. The official records will probably say you died IN THE HOSPITAL from pneumonia, and had a COVID infection. That’s not very accurate but the counting methodology is not a conspiracy.

        I wrote my final article on COVID / generic virus science on my climate science blog recently:

        I can’t stand the tin pot dictators who call themselves governors. There’s a lot of wild guessing, and jumping to conclusions, and too many people ignoring the fact that 27 million Americans are collecting state and federal unemployment benefits, out of a 160 million labor force, which is HUGE.

        • richard… my anecdotes that not everyone suffers are bad according to u…. and yet its OK for you to state “I know two of them [who suffered from covid]. SARS2 is no ordinary flu and any suggestion that it is nothing special, is an ignorant statement.” The point of my post was to show that not everyone suffers from covid – actually, the truth is the exact opposite. And yes, covid is nothing more special than a flu/pneumonia season.

          I mentioned nothing @ 40%. And as for permanent lung damage, how did you get that stat? we’ve only been in this for at most 8 months. hard to assess permanent lung damage in this time frame. I cant wait to see the stats on permanent lung damage and how they compare to flu/pneumonia, which no one cared about in jan/feb during the height of flu season

          • Data on ermanent lung damage from scaring are already available. You have to trust that doctors know permanent damage when they see it.

            There is also long term lung damage still seen after six months that should heal. Hopefully.

            Fortunately people can survive with the equivalent of one healthy lung but long term smokers usually can’t afford any more lung damage. There is evidence of other organ damage too, but not yet known if permanent. I’m sure there is mental damage from lockdowns unemployment and failed businesses too.

  4. very well written, as a non-scientist or statistician, it is easily understandable…and as an avid reader of WUWT, thank you for the clear analysis. I look forward to other commentary of your work.

  5. Should’a put the red line at the bottom of the graph for people who might have difficulty parsing what you’re sayin’ …

    • Yes, at first glance, the graph was confusing to me. Put the smallest (red region) at the bottom, and use a log scale on the y-axis so that the other two regions do not overwhelm it. Yes, I know that log scales can also be confusing to non-scientific people.

    • The red line, wherever you put it, will become invisible if you take into account the use of the new covid code instead of several “junk” ICD10 codes they previously used to indicate unknown causes of death.

      It is artificially inflated by borrowing from the “other” category. Death from coronavirus is undeterminable (and unbelievable) for several reasons:

      * Coronaviruses have never been known to cause death.
      * The popular belief that there is a new coronavirus that is deadly is not supported by a single fact. It is pure propaganda.
      * The mechanism of lung injury, in those cases where coronaviruses have been observed, is unknown.
      * It is impossible to blame any case of acute respiratory disease on a single pathogen. At death, multiple easily detectable pathogens of all kinds are typically present. No one knows how they interacted in each specific case.
      * Statistically, in populations, it has been shown that co-infecting pathogens can co-operate or interact antagonistically. In particular, coronaviruses and flu viruses appear to be in an antagonistic relationship.

      In view of the latter phenomenon, a flu-associated death might be blamed on the absence of a coronavirus with the same certainty as other cases are blamed on coronavirus. If such leaps of faith are both included in death statistics, the area under the read line might well become negative.

      For similar reasons, the idea of naming flu as the cause of death has been considered inappropriate by most doctors — even though flu has been much better researched and the mechanisms of its virulence are well-understood. But now it’s OK to blame death on gods and bad spirits — especially the one CDC encourages to name where there is any doubt.

  6. When this first broke out and the characteristics were becoming known I said to my wife, “ this virus is going to wipe out an entire generation of people who are wasting away in nursing homes”. I’m sticking with my prediction.

    • Humor to that thought it’s getting a fair few health care workers so clearly they are also just wasting away .. or as willis likes to think of them as walking dead. I am not saying health staff are zombies … but they are dying.

    • Cbb, in the same CDC update is information on location of death. 25% are in nursing homes … a huge number, and likely an underestimation since some would have been transferred to hospitals.


      • If they were transferred to hospitals in the UK, they would have been transferred right back to infect the rest of the inmates. If the government wanted dead people, I can’t think of a better way to do it. Victoria wasn’t much better.

  7. Willis,
    Thanks for trying to shine some light on this viral outbreak that has been so overhyped and politicized!
    From the data beginning to filter past our high tech overlord and media censors it would seem that this virus is nothing like what we were originally told by the so-called experts!
    If freedom and liberty survive the current onslaught from the ChiComs and the globalists, history will show the Covid-19 “pandemic” to be one of the biggest hoaxes in human history, right up there with the CAGW scam! The initial lockdown might have been justified (I personally think it was ChiCom agitprop) by the data we had been given, but after the first three weeks it was evident that the data was wrong. At that point we should have started looking at how to reopen the economy, but instead we got increased fearmongering and the banning of HCQ which might have saved many lives if used correctly; even those with co-morbidities!
    Hope all is well in your neck of the woods there in Marin County!

  8. Willis the nearest I can think for your analysis is looking at gunshot deaths and recording the number who the bullet actually killed them outright. Bleeding to death, dying from shock or infection goes in a another category called “dying with gunshot”. I am pretty sure such an analysis of gunshot deaths would end with more people “dying with gunshot” than “dying from gunshot”.

    What would such an analysis of gunshots reveal … not very much except how often a gunshot hit something vital. Medical analysis requires much more subtlety than that.

    • LdB… your example is a bit off and does not make sense (although I think I know what your trying to say). It’s highly likely that most people who caught covid already had a comorbidity to begin with prior to getting covid. However, it’s highly UNlikely that people were bleeding to death or dying from shock or infection just prior to getting shot. I agree that medical analysis needs critical thinking but it’s painfully obvious by now with all the data out there that this virus was used, abused, and politicized as a scamdemic. Anyone who has eyes to see… see.

      • I understand the exaggeration but it doesn’t help if you exaggerated the stats yourself. I dare say using the method above I could prove that people with Covid shouldn’t go to Hospital because it’s killing hospital workers who would otherwise never have died. So best the covid infected just stayed alone and either died or cured naturally and we would have fewer deaths. It could even be a true fact that would be born out by stats but I am not sure you could sell that to the public 🙂

        • regarding staying at home to not kill hospital staff, it’s the same with tuberculosis and other potentially deadly communicable diseases… nothing special about covid on this front.

    • Well LdB, if that is the nearest then I have to assume you support his analysis and conclusions.

      Think about your gunshot example.

      How common is it for people to have pre-existing fatal injuries (blood loss, shock, infection et al) and THEN also get shot?

      Or to flip it back, did WuFLu give those 24,218 people diabetes?

      Not saying you have to agree with Willis, but if you don’t then you may wish to think up a different comparison.

      • Craig, the people had diabetes I assume you aren’t suggesting they were going to die from it today or tomorrow so the analogy for my example above is that the people would have to have no blood or couldn’t get infection. The point is they die from something other than what is being measured. I don’t disagree with Willis his analysis is actually to flawed and crazy to disagree or have a view on.

        • diabetes often presents itself with other comorbidities like cardiovascular disease, which can often be worse. I believe the point of the story is that only 6% actually died without any other conditions (other than covid itself). With 94% having avg of 2.6 comorbidities when they died, that leaves tons of room for speculation as to what they died from. Let’s say 2/3 of the 94% died because they caught covid, that means covid deaths are closer to @120K, which is a really bad flu season but no cause for the 5-alarm fire that 2020 has been… especially since we know who is most at risk from dieing from covid.

          • Agree with all that but it doesn’t change the basic problem that the speculation can be very extreme and crazy and hardly something that should be used for an argument.

            The basic fact people are born with type 1 and predispositions to type 2 diabetes it’s in there genes. Yes it exposes then to risks to deaths from other cause as does having blood or an immune system to some things. You needs careful considered work to pick it all apart.

  9. Thanks Willis. Just two comments:

    1. The deaths from ‘COVID alone” are probably just badly filled out or fraudulent death certificates. Any deaths from covid, as with any other respiratory virus, must be from some organ system failure – most likely due to pneumonia, thrombosis, etc. that would normally be included on a death certificate. I suppose a subset of these could be that a positive PCR test was the only morbidity agent, but more likely bad record keeping.

    2. A positive PCR test does not mean that you have or ever had covid, it simply means a positive test for the 1-3 viral proteins that are being tested for. PCR is very sensitive and the more cycles run in the lab, the more likely to pick up a spurious positive (from poor primer binding etc.) or amplify a non-infective level of live or dead virus. In the US a ridiculously high number of cycles are used (each cycle doubles the number of proteins detectable) – typically 35-40 cycles. European studies using cell cultures have shown that positive samples with over 30-33 cycles have no infective virus in them.

    Even dying ‘with covid’ does not mean that the virus is contributing anything to your death.

    I suppose I will go along with everyone else (although I’m not convinced) that we had no idea what to do when the pandemic started and had to err on the side of ‘safety’. That time is long past, though, and the indifference for any scientific quantification of virus spread or threshold infectivity levels, except for a few generally ignored studies, is beyond shocking: it is insanely stupid.

    • Dave, thanks. You say:

      Any deaths from covid, as with any other respiratory virus, must be from some organ system failure – most likely due to pneumonia, thrombosis, etc. that would normally be included on a death certificate

      Not clear—why would pneumonia be able to cause organ system failure but not COVID?


      • pneumonia, especially in very elderly and those with compromised immune system, that then can lead to systemic infection (bacteria into the bloodstream) resulting in septic shock, a subsequent drop in blood pressure and organ failure.

        Sepsis subsequent to bacterial pneumonia in institutionalized elderly is very common cause of mortality.

        • Hi Joel – You seem to be knowledgable and I’m basing my point on second-hand accounts from disgruntled doctors and my personal experience with a bacterial pathogen (which may indeed have caused sepsis). Also, stories of the fatal wave of the Spanish Flu certainly suggest that a respiratory virus can kill outright, presumably from damage from a cytokine storm, but is there any indication SARS-2 can do the same in an otherwise healthy individual?

          • Certainly, there’s plenty of individual cases where SARS-2 appeared to outright kill otherwise healthy middle age adults. SARS-2 does kill apparently healthy people. Anyone who poo-poos that doesn’t know what happening.

            But stepping back, at 8 months into this Pandemic, we have to look at this from a population standpoint and realize the greatest risk is in >65 yrs old with co-morbidities like high BP, diabetes, gross obesity, COPD, cancer chemotherapy, etc.

            Their are probably some genetic factors at play we do not recognize and/or some of those younger individuals who got infected as they may be received a very high titer inoculation (number of viruses) when they were exposed. Infectious dose at exposure does matter greatly. We know this from decades of experiments with animal models of viral and bacterial infections where the only factor in mortality and recovery was the initial infecting dose given to the animal.

            But in the community setting, this is completely uncontrolled and generally unknowable for any one person who got infected. Staying in close proximity to someone who is shedding lot of virus, so that exposed person gets lots of infectious virus deep into the lungs could easily be fatal in any number of normally non-fatal colds and lung infections.

            the lungs are a very special immunological niche for the immune system to defend. Our lungs are constantly exposed to noxious elements and particles, but we do not want an immune system reaction to those. So the lung immunity is constantly in a balancing act in all of us. The Hygiene Hypothesis is greatly at play in our lungs. Asthma is a classic example where the overreactive immune system is causing serious breathing pathology and the Hygiene Hypothesis is likely at play there.

            The Hygiene Hypothesis offers the best likely explanation why COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 is not ravaging with high morbidity and mortality places like sub-Saharan Africa and India/Pakistan.

            The Hygiene Hypothesis is explained here:

      • Covid may cause pneumonia, but the pneumonia kills by preventing the lungs from providing O2 to the rest of the body. I survived pneumonia with extensive organ system damage – actually only my liver didn’t fail and considering the amount of wine I drank, that is strange – but kidney failure would have been at the top of my list if I had carked it. That’s according to the kidney specialists I was assigned to, not the soil-borne Legionella that the doctors thought caused the pneumonia.

        No need to believe me, though, just ask a doctor used to signing death certificates or check out one of the rants by same on the web.

        • The typiucal COVID presentation in the ICU is actually a form of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that give s a “ground glass” appearance on xray images. This is very different from classical pneumonia where opacities are consolidated as fluid leaking and gathering the lower lobes. Fluid (classical pneumonia) causes rales sounds for clinicians on auscultation.

          Rales is a very unique sound, and diagnostic of pneumonia, but not “ground glass” ARDS seen in severe COVID. This is why COVID early on was so baffling to so many doctors, becasue in all their years of training they never saw it before now. With rales, the patients can hear the bubbling and crackling in their breath when they breathe out as the outgassing bubbles “fizz” through the fluid in the lung’s lower lobes. With ARDS they feel like they are gasping for air and can’t catch their breath.

          • I remember the ‘rales’ – the bubbling sound in my respiratory system. That is why I decided I probably had pneumonia and not just a really bad flu and why I called a cab to take me to the emergency room.

    • the evidence was there by the end of April… politicians and most Twitter followers just refused to listen to many epidemiologists who did not agree with the lockdown and masking strategy… too much power and $$$$ at stake to let a good crisis go to waste.

  10. End the lock downs and get people back to work, those who are ill are easily treated with Ivermectin, Doxycycline and Zinc, Coronavirus is easily knocked out and these drugs do it in 6 days, No need for hospitilisation.
    These drugs are FDA approved, cheap and available at your local chemist all you need is a script from your doctor.

    • “all you need is a script from your doctor.” – Aye and there in lies the rub. The medical boards in your state/province may strip them of their license to practice medicine if they do.

      This is such a “run from the cure” moment and the only reason that I can think of is that if there is a cure they can’t force vaccinations on people. So they restrict and badmouth actual cures causing misery and death. That’s called murder.

      The Ivermectin + Doxycycline + Zinc triple play was developed by Professor Thomas Borody who also developed the triple therapy treatment for peptic ulcers in 1987.

      “It’s easier than treating the flu now”.
      “You can actually eradicate it”.
      “We know it’s curable”

      • And he literally had to infect himself with peptic ulcers and cure it for the health “officials” to accept his results.

  11. Willis, I posted two comments on this to your previous now discredited post related to this now attempted salvage post.

    True, Covid-19 definitely disproportionately affects the elderly with co-morbidities. Known since near the beginning. See my early posts here on this.
    True, the CDC CFR data is sketchy. See my previous posts on this.

    But Your salvage attempt still does not address either immediate previous post critique comment.

    Explain ‘correctly’ calculated (there is no one way, of course) CDC 2020 ‘excess deaths’. There is no way to do that (mean, median, 1 sigma, flu modeled, or just actual death certs) that supports your present Covid-19 thesis. Just some inconvenient yet easily verifiable ‘facts’.

    • Rud, I didn’t write the last post. I started it, and early on Anthony took it over and published it without my further input. I was shocked when I saw it had been published. I haven’t even read any of the comments for that reason. Not my rodeo, not my horse.

      And as a result, you calling this a “now attempted salvage post” is simply wrong. Nothing for me to salvage. This is the post I started out to write but got sidetracked from.

      Hmm … unpleasant thought. Did Anthony accidentally leave my name on that other post? Hang on … OK, I see the problem. He forgot to take my name off the article, fixed now.

      As to explaining what you call “correctly calculated CDC 2020 excess deaths”, I fear I have no idea what you are referring to. The one time I looked at them I came away with the conclusion that they were pretty useless until a year or so had passed and all the results were in. But that was a while ago, and I never published or discuss them … so I’m in total mystery as to your issue.


      • Willis, with respect to co-morbidities – how much of that is simply co-variant to the age group – in other words exactly what you would expect to see.
        I raise this because my brother pointed out that when he examined the local data (South Africa) for his age group (60-70) – and he has a heart condition – he noticed that the death with Covid-19 figure (for heart & circulatory disease) was lower than the demographic – in other words having a heart or circulatory problem was somehow beneficial – obviously that cannot be the case – so its more likely that the medication they are on is having some beneficial effect.
        Consider your pie chart an omelette – that needs further unscrambling.
        Regards, Ken

    • His thesis is that the lockdowns are doing more harm than good. Hurt everyone to protect the few? This is going to cause massive misery and death far worse than the newest cold virus if we don’t end it soon.

  12. Willis’ numbers on his Daily Corona Virus page flat lined at .6 to .9 percent mortality of the entire population. This, in itself, isn’t really much worse than the the common flu. BUT… that was after only 120 days amid efforts in many countries that cut individual exposure to infection by an order of magnitude, and air travel was cancelled. It is pretty easy to convince yourself that CoVid 19 would have caused half a dozen times as many deaths as the flu, except for the exposure reduction that people undertook because they knew about it. And surprise positive test records are broken daily showing us that it isn’t over yet.

    • do you care about infections or deaths? if infections, please write your congressman why the govt isn’t forcing lockdowns annually from november though april…. because flu/pneumonia.

      it’s because of lockdowns that covid has had such long legs… as soon as u open up, the chances of a surge in infections goes up. look at new zealand, Hong kong, phillipines, south korea, hawaii… but don’t look at sweeden. WTH is a sweeden anyway? does sweeden even exist anymore? did everyone there get infected and die?

      • Good question? Whatever was the outcome in Sweden? Never heard anything since everyone was raging about how Sweden screwed up so bad. Makes me think that they maybe are now having a more positive outcome, but I haven’t heard anything since. Is the good Lord M still kicking? We haven’t heard from him either in some time.

        • Sweden hasn’t changed still in the top 10 of deaths per 1M population. Sort of on a par with the big outbreaks in US, Italy, Spain, Brazil, UK. So I guess you would say it isn’t worse than some of the big outbreak countries but on the other side it’s still a lot worse than the best of the countries.

          • LdB… yes, they have @6K deaths… half in nursing homes I believe…. look at their current death and case rate… look at the graphs for this since july 1 (easy google search)…. if u still have a doubt who implemented the correct strategy for dealing with covid (hint – it’s the country that shall not be named – sweeden), I cant help you. he who has eyes to see…. see.

          • If it hadn’t been for Sweden having had the early problems in the old folks homes, they may have been the model to hold up for how you can keep your economy open and still take some sensible precautions. As I recall from memory, Sweden also had a higher percentage of ethic minorities that were more susceptible to spread, being some of the immigrant issues they have going on. But it appears they are doing just fine now according the deaths per million chart and have flat lined at a fairly low level. Funny how no news media ever re-visits that story for any updates if it ends well.

      • What about Belarus? Less restrictions than Sweden and 1/10th the deaths. Their secret? HCQ+ where Sweden missed that intervention.

        Both countries are Nordic, 10 million people, 1 large metro area with about 1/4 of the population living in and around it.

        • Except one of them is an entrenched fascist state whose accuracy of reporting you can trust without checking.

    • DMacKenzie…….

      I think you’ll find that the range is actually more like 0.02-0.06% of the population in each affected country. Germany is at the low end, Spain, Italy, UK are at the higher end. Of course there are some outliers like Belgium & Peru around the 0.08% mark but the vast majority seem to converge in the region of 0.05-0.06% ie 500-600 cases per million population.

      And, of course, Sweden is at the same figure as most everyone else (~0.06%) with NO LOCKDOWN!

  13. This explains a fair bit – the ‘how to report a death’ rules were changed earlier this year after working impeccable for 17 years.

    “Had the CDC used its industry standard, Medical Examiners’ and Coroners’ Handbook on Death Registration and Fetal Death Reporting Revision 2003, as it has for all other causes of death for the last 17 years, the COVID-19 fatality count would be approximately 90.2% lower than it currently is.”

      • CDC issued an order to all collaborating centers in the U.S. to stop reporting influenza surveillance data mid-April — two months before the end of the hemispheric flu season.

        It hung out in public view for a while but I can’t find it anymore. If you google for “cdc stopped reporting influenza”, you will see a cached blurb saying, “Reporting of genetic and antigenic characterization and antiviral susceptibility of influenza viruses has been stopped and will resume with the 2020-2021 season.”

        That is the message I saw on the CDC’s website in April.

        Now flu has also been cancelled in Australia and South Africa. I talked to people on the receiving end of surveillance reporting; they were convinced that it was a weak season and were unaware of the cancellation orders.

    • And you’ve got to wonder about the effect masks will have on kids during influenza season. They don’t even mention that. What could go wrong with snot and drool covered masks during flu and cold season?

  14. Willis – COVID-19 deaths didn’t start to become significant in the USA until after March 15th. You may consider excluding deaths between Feb 1st and March 15th from your analysis. Your point is still valid but would be less amplified w/o the 1.5 months of non-COVID-19 deaths. In addition, your plot is for a specified time range. If you were to create the same plot for the month of April when COVID-19 deaths exceeded 2000 per day, the plot may not be as optimistic.

    • My son and two neighbors had a “bad flu” in late Nov last year. Recently his neighbors were tested and had antibodies to CV-19. His symptoms matched CV-19. The problem is in the testing back then. There mostly was none so who knows who died from what before March.

      • Good point. My son likewise had a prolonged cold/flu in the February time frame. Need to have him checked for antibodies.

  15. Since the CDC says doctors, nurses, and hospitals kill 100,000 patients per year from preventable infections I wonder how this plays into the numbers.
    Not only that, a kind of malpractice was involved in putting patients on respirators that almost guaranteed their death.

    • Hugely. Mechanical ventilation (MV) activates the same inflammatory pathways blamed on covid. Decades of research behind that. There’s absolutely no way to distinguish covid morbidity/mortality without removing that huge confounding factor. But iatrogenesis is the history of medicine; once modalities become entrenched in the medical establishment they are hard to change.

      But doctors are trying. There is currently a controversy between doctors stuck in the ARDSnet paradigm and more competent and discerning mavericks who recognize ARDS pathways don’t work with most covid patients. The latter are assiduously avoiding MV and successfully treating with other modalities (e.g., HFNC, proning, APRV). The former seem unable to think outside of the box, and won’t change until trials tell them what to do because they pride themselves on only doing evidence based medicine. Which is funny because their decisions to intubate are not based on any trials or evidence; they are based on fear – fear that patients will crash if they don’t intubate, or fear of repercussions if they don’t follow protocols, or fear of aerosolizing virus. It’s fear based, not evidence based, medicine. And the results are predictable: more iatrogenic tragedy for the history books.

      • A bit of clarification for the above post. APRV is a mechanical ventilator mode that sets PEEP to zero and allows for spontaneous breathing; so it is mechanical ventilation (MV). It is similar to non-invasive BiPAP. Conventional MV utilizes AC/VC mode, which does utilize PEEP. PEEP is the air pressure at the end of expiration, and is thought by many to damage covid patients lungs.

        The link below shows 2 chest x-rays of a patient on MV utilizing both modes. The left photo is patient on AC/VC; the right photo is the same patient 3 hours later after the ventilator mode was switched to APRV. The lungs on the right look much healthier (much less ground glass opacity). So it’s not MV, per se, that appears to be causing problems, but the ventilator mode.

        • Great comment in thread:

          COVID? Makes perfect sense. Post alveolar drainage seems to react very poorly to the constant PEEP. Give them a P-low of zero and suddenly they can drain. It would explain why so many do so poorly once tubed given how entrenched PEEP/ARDSnet philosophy is. Awesome!

      • Fave comment sequence in the link I posted above that demonstrates 1) the Dr/Dr controversy over conventional MV, 2) first doctor’s expression of faith in “evidence based medicine”, and 3) the absence of solid evidence that any mode of MV decreases mortality.

        Doctor 1 comment: “APRV has no solid evidence to prove a decrease in mortality.”
        Doctor 2 response: “Replace “APRV” with any mode of MV.”

  16. Why don’t we shut the country down for drug overdoses? In British Columbia since 2020 started, there has been a total of 209 Covid deaths. Meanwhile, there has been a total of 728 illicit drug deaths in B.C. to date in 2020, and the number of deaths in each health authority is at or near the highest monthly totals ever recorded. Clearly the China Virus pandemic is driving up drug overdoses, but nobody talks about that, or even does much about that. But Covid gets all the attention, and BC has been fairly lucky overall compared to other places regarding Covid. You rarely hear about drug overdoses, but Covid is all you hear about. Hell, almost every major category of dying has beat Covid, but you hear nothing of that either. But yet they want to shut down the world. Don’t shut the world down for me, and I am high risk. I can get out of the way and self isolate in the woods until the cows come home. I’m more worried about some dumb nut job who can’t drive and runs me over if I do go out and about.

  17. We’re all unclean, like the lepers of yore. We are told to wear masks because we need to protect others from ourselves, not to protect ourselves from others.


    If I don’t have the virus, if I’m not unclean, I shouldn’t have to wear a mask because no one has anything to fear from me. Why, then, am I told to wear a mask?

    It is because the “powers that be” want me to feel “defective”. I am so sick of this.

    I predict, that from now on, we’ll always have to wear masks till the day we die to keep others safe from us.

    Who’s gonna stop them from making us wear masks?

  18. Covid mortality rates are based on the cumulative number of deaths at any given time relative to the cumulative number of confirmed cases at that same time. This ratio contains an anomaly because the relevant number of confirmed cases for each death is the number of confirmed cases at the time that the dead person had become infected.

  19. Well that’s very interesting. I too came up with two-thirds 107k out of the 161k “all deaths” figure.

    First I read this article which debunked the pure 6% figure but in doing so betrayed the fact that deaths from COVID were being lumped in with deaths with COVID.

    So I realised we could never know for sure. But still, I totted up the obvious/likely “comorbidities” that were caused by COVID and was left with the likely true pre COVID conditions. I then applied the 2.6x factor and came up with 54k. 161k-54k = 107k which is 66.5% of the published 161k as at 22nd August per the CDC communication.

    So the article linked above dwelt on the comorbidities that were likely caused by COVID to argue that the whole 161k total was valid. But the author used this COVID causing subset without applying the same methodology to the preexisting subset.

    Left wing virologists (they’re all left wing and avid Trump-haters) are retweeting the above article as proof that “there’s nothing to see here folks”

  20. Willis: I promised myself when this whole thing started that I’d refrain from amateur epidemiology. And largely I have. But since no one else has pointed it out, let me note that your numbers are largely the results WITH LOCKDOWNS and other measures — masks, social distancing, few or no large events, hospitals with time and staff to save as many severe cases as possible.

    I doubt your results would hold if we simply let things rip. My GUESS is that we’d end up with a national version of NYC metro area in early April. Or worse. That’d be bad I think. How bad? Really bad possibly. Has anyplace really tried just letting the disease run its course? Sweden maybe. But even the Swedes, as individuals, seem to have taken some measures to discourage respiratory disease transmission. The results — both healthwise and economic — don’t seem to have been very impressive. At least we’re told , maybe accurately, maybe not, that neighboring countries with purportedly similar demographics — Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia seem to have lower death rates and better economic results. India — which doesn’t seem to have much of a healthcare system — may be conducting a really large scale experiment. Anecdotally, the results don’t look promising.

    I agree that the data sucks. I don’t even think we know how good the tests are. Or how to adjust for different kinds of testing. Or anything else. We’re guessing that they are better than wild guesses. And we’re probably right about that. And we seem to have no real idea how much of the population anywhere has had COVID-19 and is at least temporarily immune (probably). And we don’t seem to know how long immunity (if any) lasts.

    I should think it should be possible to do something about the data quality. We would seem to badly need meaningful numbers. But I have to think that doing so is harder than it looks else it would be being done. In the EU or Japan or Canada if not in the US.

    Anyway, my opinion — FWIW — is that without much better information, ending lockdowns is simply too risky. Ending lockdowns is the exact opposite of the one strategy that seems to work after a fashion. Lock down hard, control the disease, then open up slowly. Quarantine and test anyone coming in from outside the bubbles of control. And when a case is found, do aggressive contact tracing.

    Two tangential points:

    1. A agree with jkp416 (above) that the red line on your graph might better be on the bottom. Not sure I can articulate why.

    2. You and other opponents of lockdowns, seem to me to overlook the tendency of folks to lock themselves down if the authorities don’t do it for them. No government has actually shut down the US airline industry. But people largely quit flying on their own in March. Likewise, I expect that a lot of kids will be homeschooled this Fall even where schools are open. My wife has several friends who pretty much haven’t been out of their houses for six months — their choice, not someone elses. That is to say, the economy is probably going to be iffy no matter what the government does. I fear that one likely result of eliminating lockdowns might be the worst of both worlds. Lots of sick people. Quite a few dead ones. AND a lousy economy (except for funeral parlors).

    • “1. A agree with jkp416 (above) that the red line on your graph might better be on the bottom. Not sure I can articulate why.”

      My first conclusion was the red line was the total, and hence all the area under the red line was ‘Covid Only’.

      Took me a moment to realise this was a stacked area analysis.

      • Agree that the red line should be at the bottom, many casual readers will come away with at least a subconscious “red line rising rapidly” impression if they don’t understand how a stacked graph works.

      • I had to take a second look and agree that the red line should have been at the bottom so the graph could be more easily understood.

    • You and other opponents of lockdowns

      There are plenty of examples now other than Sweden of countries not doing “lockdowns” (underdeveloped countries). They all show the same graph.. new infections climb rapidly then drop rapidly. Early on deaths were an issue but now with HCQ and other type drugs, deaths have dropped substantially vs infections.

      What we aren’t seeing yet are the earlier deaths of the large number of people who would have had treatment for life threatening other maladies like cancer surgeries or deferred colonoscopies that would have caught diseases early because hospitals and clinics shut down due to the “lockdown”. Throw in the collateral damage to mental health and a higher suicide rate and are we better off? The repercussions of all this will last years, when it would have been over in 6 months if we just took reasonable precautions and protected the most vulnerable.

      • rbabcock
        You said, “Early on deaths were an issue but now with HCQ and other type drugs, deaths have dropped substantially vs infections.”

        Another interpretation of the history of the pandemic is that those most susceptible to infection, and in the poorest health, were the first to be infected and succumb. That is to say, those getting sick 6 months later are better able to fight off the infection, with or without effective intervention.

    • Don,

      I’m sure you’re not alone in this type of analysis. For example AFAIK the only data/studies that support the effectiveness of the mandated air purifying cloth/paper masks are similarly counterfactual; and yet here we are. If I want to buy groceries I have to wear a face diaper to enter the store.

      It’s interesting to note that among native american cultures the rain dance ritual was most common among the southwestern tribes that lived in dry often desert-like environments. Perhaps we can conclude that the rain dances actually caused it not to rain!

      Sadly, I suppose, this is something we should get used to. It will also be used by the “CO2 causes catastrophic warming” crowd to justify all the ridiculous and wrong headed GND-like public policy actions when it turns out that CAGW does not occur. “See I told you! If we had not stopped using hydrocarbon energy we’d all be dead.”

    • DonK
      You said, “1. A agree with jkp416 (above) that the red line on your graph might better be on the bottom. Not sure I can articulate why.”

      It is good practice with stacked graphs to put the variables that are smallest, or have the least change, on the bottom because they will have the least influence on the total height of the lines. That then allows one to see which variable(s) are changing the most, which is what one is usually interested in.

      • Guys, I agree about the red line on the top. Should be on the bottom. Why isn’t it?

        The problem is in Excel, that if it is on the bottom, then it’s printed first … and then it disappears entirely, can’t even be seen, when the next larger one gets overlaid on it by Excel. Its just too small, the very lines of the next variable hide it, much less the body.

        I screwed with it in R, but stacked area charts in base R are a hassle and I don’t like ggplot, so I returned to Excel and put it on the top …


    • “2. You and other opponents of lockdowns, seem to me to overlook the tendency of folks to lock themselves down if the authorities don’t do it for them. No government has actually shut down the US airline industry. But people largely quit flying on their own in March. Likewise, I expect that a lot of kids will be homeschooled this Fall even where schools are open. My wife has several friends who pretty much haven’t been out of their houses for six months — their choice, not someone elses.”

      Excellent points.

      • Tom, that is exactly 180° out of phase with the truth.

        I and other opponents of lockdowns do not “overlook the tendency of folks to lock themselves down”. Quite the opposite—we DEPEND on the tendency of folks to take care of their own health through measures like locking themselves down, and we hold that because of that there’s no need for the government to lock people down.


    • Come on! Pointing out inconsistencies in a TV drama is so trite. Who cares what the diagnosis was? We don’t even know that George Lloyd is a real name. What’s important is that the character died. Follow the plot and enjoy the show!

    • There is no doubt for some people CV-19 caused thrombosis is catastrophic. No one says it can’t be a terrible disease for some.

      But if you have a healthy immune system and contract this, are treated with HCQ or similar therapeutic early on and evidently have good Vitamin D levels, the overwhelming odds are you are coming out of this with little or no issues and in up to 30% of the cases, won’t even know you have had it.

      So if you have co-morbities (and especially if you are also over 60) it’s up to you to stay home until a good vaccine is found. Let the rest of the world live a normal life.

    • The key is to reduce viral viability before disease progression. Also, the election of Planned Parent was not only poorly considered, but a wicked solution. The collateral damage from unqualified mitigation, the risks of general mask use, should be separately and jointly assessed.

  21. This fine post underscores that the CDC et al. missed the boat. The way to control and epidemic has always(well, at least since Roman times) been by requiring the SICK to quarantine at home with their families.

    Except maybe for the Medieval plague there are always many fewer people infected and it is much easier to ask them to segregate themselves than it is to try and pick and choose among the healthy and try and decide who is “necessary” to allow to continue working. Completely disrupting the lives of healthy people through “lockdowns” did prove highly counterproductive- lost wages, cabin fever, confusion, anger, apparently more diseases other than the virus, and a huge disruption of the economy.

    • Philo

      You said, in part, “… requiring the SICK to quarantine at home with their families.”

      What about the fairly large asymptomatic (or very mild) percentage who are the equivalent of Typhoid Mary, or who will soon show symptoms but haven’t yet begun to do so?

      During historic times there was no way to determine if someone was carrying a pathogen until they presented with symptoms. Thus, there was no real way to determine if someone was a threat. Indeed, in early times, before the theory of germs was thought of, people didn’t even suspect that those who looked and acted healthy might be a danger to others.

      • That my friend is what it comes down to, testing. Accurate, quick, inexpensive. It reminds me of some project managers and we had to remind them: “Fast, Cheap & Good Quality. Pick 2.”

        The testing itself is now turning out to be a gong show in its own right.

  22. there is a way to tell how many deaths are “from” and how many are merely “with” COVID. We need to look at “excess deaths”. In absence of other major catastrophes – the Asian hornets didn’t quite kill people – any excess deaths will be caused by COVID.

    Of course, somebody who died in March 2020 instead of Oct 2020 because they also had the virus would count towards “from” rather than “with”. So at the end of the year we may see negative excess deaths, and then we’ll know the real numbers.

  23. Michigan is going back over death certificates and “updating” Covid deaths daily with “record check” deaths.

    I don’t know how legit this is but how can we trust numbers when you can go back and change the category of why someone died at anytime.

    • Steroids treating a respiratory disease is a no brainer. I wonder what they did in NYC, just throw them on ventilators and fill out the death certificates in advance?

  24. I had to take a second look and agree that the red line should have been at the bottom so the graph could be more easily understood.

  25. “One of the signals that can trigger pathogenic behavior is hypoxia, which often occurs under forced ventilation.”

    First let me stress that by the CDC&P and the WHO I am a “High Risk” for Every Known Respiratory Pathogens. Chronic Bronchitis, Diabetes Mellitus, Perifial Arteries Disease, Atherosclerosis Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity, High Blood Pressure. With every one of those conditions Hypoxia is created and Hypoxia becomes the Underlying Condition that causes the Cellular Degradation of every organ of the body by the insufficient Oxygenation of the Plasma and Red Blood Cells required to maintain healthy organs.

    All Respiratory Pathogens cause Hypoxia by blocking the Capillaries of the Lungs from exchanges of Inhaled Oxygen into the Bloodstream and Carbon in the Bloodstream cannot Exchange normally with Oxygen to create Carbon Dioxide to be exhaled thereby causing Carbon to build up in the Bloodstream and in our organs, that both thickens the blood as the Red Blood Cells lacking Oxygen become sticky and clotting occurs and Carbon and Carbon Dioxide levels become toxic in the Bloodstream because they’re not being exhaled. This “thickening of the blood” reduces how Oxygen gets into Organ Tissues causing the deterioration of every organ.

    Therefore, Hypoxia is the actual “Cause of Death” of every Respiratory Pathogens “by” and “with” every Underlying Comorbitity Organ Failure attributed to the Respiratory Pathogens.

  26. It is important to note that NONE of the CDC stats are counting actual deaths.

    The CDC is counting “ICD codes” reported on Death Certificates sent to them by various reporting localities.

    See my long-ago essay: “What Are They Really Counting?”

    UN WHO issued two ICD codes for Covid:

    “An emergency ICD-10 code of ‘U07.1 COVID-19, virus identified’ is assigned to a disease diagnosis of COVID-19 confirmed by laboratory testing.

    An emergency ICD-10 code of ‘U07.2 COVID-19, virus not identified’ is assigned to a clinical or epidemiological diagnosis of COVID-19 where laboratory confirmation is inconclusive or not available.

    Both U07.1 and U07.2 may be used for mortality coding as cause of death. See the International guidelines for certification and classification (coding) of COVID-19 as cause of death following the link below.”

    Further, WHO issued guidelines which state:

    “A- RECORDING COVID-19 ON THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATE OF CAUSE OF DEATH — COVID-19 should be recorded on the medical certificate of cause of death for ALL decedents where the disease caused, or is assumed to have caused, or contributed to death.”

    It is UNTRUE to day only 6% of reported Covid deaths are caused by Covid alone — as many pundits have been saying. That misrepresents the data from the CDC.

    We simply do not know how many deaths are caused primarily by Covid ….

    The CDC is not reporting Real Deaths — they are reporting about reports about deaths….ICD codes on death certificates. Localities have been instructed by CDC to report Covid deaths similarly to WHO guidelines.

    Because of the reporting guidelines, we may never know the truth about Covid deaths.

    • Hi Kip – An excellent point. Isn’t it amazing that the numbers we are bombarded with daily are almost impossible to interpret because of the lack of context? They never tell us the colour of the bears.

      What exactly is a ‘case’? Is it any positive PCR test after 37-40 cycles? Why don’t they provide information on the quantity of viral proteins in the tests? My understanding is that this should be automatically recorded and the information is crucial to understanding what is going on – low levels may have several causes, but generally suggest low chance of infectivity, while high levels indicate the person is likely infective and should be quarantined. Instead we seem to be given a one size fits all number.

      Why have there been very few, and those small scale, attempts to use testing to obtain a statistically valid estimate of virus penetration into communities?

      Why is Australia still doing 50-60 thousand PCR tests a day (about 6,400,000 to date) more or less haphazardly (criteria have constantly changed) for a total positive rate of 0.4% (and without Victoria it would be near 0.2%)?

      I think those people who misread the CDC Table 3 can be forgiven. I found it very confusing. Why is diabetes (25,936) five times higher than obesity (5,614)? I thought obesity and diabetes went hand in hand and almost everyone in the US was obese. What could covid possibly have to do with dying from “Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events”?

      Anyway, I’m just ranting on, but thanks for your comment and reminder not to take a table of numbers at face value.

  27. please look at the death counts from Auschwitz.!!

    The great job you did here with Korea gives me confidence.

    “You can see why the Gompertz Curve is used to describe epidemics—it’s a very good fit to real-world epidemiological data. And because any given Gompertz Curve ends up at some maximum value that it doesn’t exceed, it also allows us to estimate the part of the curve that hasn’t happened yet. So far, there have been some 7,362 cases in South Korea. The Gompertz Curve estimates that the final total will be on the order of some 8,100 cases or so. ”

    they are at something like 20K

    “Although the uncertainty in this one is greater, it looks at present like the final total of deaths in South Korea will be on the order of one hundred, give or take.”

    they are over 300.

    modelling ain’t easy, now is it?

    The deaths from covid in the US ( 180K+) are not out of line with what other countries are experiencing.
    that is, other unhealthy populations.

    • Steve, you are once again trying out your discredited LIE about my Korea prediction. I specifically said it had huge uncertainty and that it was a very early look. Despite the fact that I’ve had to tell you that again and again, over and over you have brought it up to try to discredit me.

      Bro, all your endless sniping at me does is ruin YOUR reputation. You keep trying to bite my ankles but you’re not tall enough. Here’s a protip.

      Nobody but you gives a damn that my original back of the envelope guess for Korea deaths, hedged about with warnings of large uncertainties, was a hundred and the actual number is three hundred. Other people predicted two million deaths in the US, and unlike my prediction, their prediction actually caused immense pain, suffering, and death. How about you go stalk them instead of me, and get on their case about their predictions?

      I guess I must be living rent free in your head. This is easily the sixth time or more that you’ve tried this same pathetic argument. I had to mute you on Twitter because of your endless ugly attacks, and if I could do the same here, I sure would.

      Come back when you want to discuss the issues. Your endless attacks on me have turned into some kind of really, really creepy internet stalking. Get a life, get a grip, stop stalking me, forget I exist. You are a decent scientist, perhaps even a gifted one … but personally you are one of the most unpleasant jerkoffs I’ve every met, and you stalking me all the time over the same meaningless nonsense is just bizarre.


    • Why? It’s not necessary. Who wants to live like that? Better yet reject the imperative that something needs to be done. Everything’s going to be alright.

  28. Now compare Covid-19 against Flu epidemics, where co-diseases are often present as well. You will find the Covid-19 is far worse than any recent Flue epidemic. I had initially predicted it would be about the same as a severe Flu epidemic (not the Spanish Flu epidemic, but more recent ones) based on the data I had. It now appears I under-estimated Covid-19 by a factor of 1.5 to 2. I did accurately predict the unstoppable spread as the disease was just too incestuous, our borders too porous (especially through air-flights) and the world started too late.

    It would have been much worse if we had not slowed it down. I know this is a serious point of pain for many to admit, but the shutdown DID slow the spread down. Had hospitals been over run with the sick, the fatalities would be much higher. So the lock down was not pointless or without results – it just hurt a lot of people.

    Was it worth it? Now that is the really difficult question to answer based on one experience. Had we allowed the disease to spread unchecked, many more would have died but we would have the pandemic past us by now. Had the death rates risen to far a huge panic would have started that crashed the economy anyway – no one seems to consider this point. The cost to the economy, people’s jobs, their lives…hard to calculate but steep. Less people dying in accidents, more people dying through suicide.

    The real lesson to be learned here is to be prepared for the next outbreak. It was a crime that national stockpiles had been depleted (on purpose) and never replaced. Our dependence on China has now been underlined in red ink. And the economy is moving closer to many people working at home – a huge win for them and efficiency. The CDC stands out as woefully unprepared despite their huge budget. The WHO stands out as a corrupt and useless organization which was bullied by China.

    If we really want to know the impact of a disease, we need to have a federal system of reporting deaths in a common consistent manner designed to be data mined. Let’s get this started now so that the next outbreak can be studied better and faster.

  29. Where is the data on Multiple comorbidities? Sometime about 5 months ago I read data that as the number of Comorbidities went up the number of deaths went up and the numbers for lower ages also increased.
    Keep in mind COVID19 IS caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)! The of death probability approaches 100% when the person has Pneumonia when acquiring COVID19 and also if a person acquires COVID19 and then acquired Pneumonia! There are also many diseases that when a person over 65 acquires them their probability of living more than a few months is less than 1%. When these people are in a nursing home or hospice or any other facility not assuring that they are isolated, quarentened, prevented from the only link to COVID in improper healthcare!any possible contact of COVID19 THEY WILL DIE., How, why, is this blamed on COVID? The only link to COVID is popor health care. Worse since these facilities are paid by MediCare they receive a bonus if the person acquires or is diagnosed with COVID19.

  30. Based on this data I’ve heard some say there’s no pandemic – it’s all a lie. But this data simply confirms what we knew from the early days that people with certain health conditions and higher age are at higher risk. The fact that so many died with just Covid should be eye-opening to all, rather than the other way around. We had as many die just from Covid than all the deaths with all conditions in mild to moderate flu seasons. Also, CDC data shows about 3.5 years of data on expected versus excess deaths. There is a very real spike in excess deaths during this health event.

    And death is not the only outcome – many are experiencing damaged organs, ischemia, resurgence of symptoms, chronic fatigue etc.

  31. This reminds me of AIDS, wherein they took other diseases such as TB, and if a person tested positive for HIV, listed the death as an AIDS death. Without HIV, the person simply died of TB. This was done with a host of ailments to make it appear as though AIDS was rampant and spreading. In fact, there has never been scientific proof that HIV causes AIDS.

    That had to have been the template for COVID. SARS-CoV-2 has never been isolated or purified, that is, proven to exist. In this regard, it is a close cousin of HIV>

  32. Correctly filled out forms for cause of death should never give covid as the cause of death. The 6% of forms listing just covid was incorrectly filled out. It should be 0%. The cause of a covid death is always a comorbidity caused by covid.
    Sorry, not impressed.

    • Jan, I’ve never understood this argument. Why can just about every other disease under the sun cause death, but not COVID?


      • Willis – A disease is what the word implies – your body is ill at ease. I think you are confounding a microbe that causes a disease with the disease itself. SARS-2 seems to cause mostly respiratory disease with pneumonia leading – and pneumonia is usually complex: Whatever causes the initial infection is soon joined by a host of opportunists, everything from influenza viruses to bacteria, and then the body gets into the act with an out of control immune response. What results is damage to organ systems and eventual death. A death certificate should record these reasons, e.g. death due to renal failure resulting from Covid-related pneumonia aggravated by Type 2 Diabetes. People don’t just drop dead from Covid, they take an average of four weeks to die from or with it. Anyway, that is my understanding.

        How would SARS-2 alone, or Yersinia pestis for that matter, kill on its own? The only way I can think of is a cytokine storm or the like – essentially an autoimmune malfunction like anaphylactic shock. I’m sure there were some otherwise healthy people, as Joel O’Bryan says, who died from SARS-2 – but there should have been some other factor listed, e.g. heart failure due to thrombosis. Even deaths resulting from gunshots get that kind of information. So, a death certificate with only covid listed seems suspect to me.

        Doesn’t really matter, though, because this 6% figure is spurious – it doesn’t say what everyone seems to think it says. Nothing in the table actually says what people think it is saying – see Kip Hansen’s comment. Cheers, DaveW

      • Dear Willis, I almost always greatly enjoy your writings. I also think that shutting down the economy is a very bad idea. But any conclusions from the 6% are not warranted in my opinion.
        Dr. Seheult explains the form that is sent to the CDC here:

        • Thanks, Jan. As I said in the head post of the 6%:

          “That’s all of the deaths from COVID by itself. It’s tiny because most of the time, COVID either causes other diseases, as when someone presents with COVID and then gets pneumonia as well, or because COVID is often non-causally associated with other diseases and conditions.”




  34. The problem is, there are relatively few deaths directly from Covid, it’s nearly always as an ‘underlying cause’. It’s just the way the death certificates are structured, as a guess between what is proximal of itself, versus what is underlying.

    Say someone drowns. Did the water kill them? No, lack of oxygen to the brain killed them. Let’s say they were obese and didn’t have good lung capacity, this makes them more likely to drown. Let’s say they had lung disease and couldn’t flap their arms strong enough to get to the surface, this makes them more likely to drown as well. Let’s say their blood oxygen capacity was poor which makes them more likely to drown. But in each case, the water doesn’t kill them, their lung capacity didn’t kill them, the softly flapping arms didn’t kill them, their poor blood capacity didn’t kill them, the lack of oxygen to the brain killed them, with the underlying cause in all cases being the water. People can die though, from excess water, which causes cells to stop functioning, but this is rare. So for simple drownings, what percentage were killed by water as an underlying cause? 100%. What percentage were killed by water directly? 0%. (Unless they drank water in excess, which is again, very rare). Similar with the Covid 19 virus, but it’s even more complicated because sometimes they are in fact killed by lung disease as well as other direct Covid effects, or by heart trouble as well as other direct Covid effects.

    The death certificates with someone with Covid will have guestimated variations in possible factors, because of the way they are structured, and because of human inability to accurately know the causes.

    Different viruses also have variable effects with regards to other disease causing opportunists -some easily allow other disease causers to exploit and kill, whilst others seldom do, and may attack the body’s organs directly. Covid 19 is somewhere in the middle , it attacks organs directly, but also exploits the body’s weaknesses to allow other diseases to kill, much like AIDS which only kills when other viruses , bacteria, fungii, and cancers take advantage. AIDS has barely any effect on the body of itself, it simply allows other diseases to come in and kill. Covid does both, like flu and others, it kills both by itself as well as through other opportunists, but mostly through other opportunists. It’s good at exploiting weaknesses, which some viruses barely do at all. Rabies kills on its own, so does say, snake venom. These don’t usually kill by allowing other murderers to take over. But Covid19 and flu often do.

    There is some argument that even the Black Death wasn’t even the main killer at the time, some argue there were hitchhikers going along for the ride that may have caused a good proportion of the deaths, something like viral pneumonia simply exploiting those who already had the Black Death, but only after they got it. In other words, the Black Death could have been 2,3 or more major diseases operating in tandem. Maybe it caused 45% of deaths directly, but viral pneumonia and 3 others caused the other 55%.

    Confused? Look at excess deaths. If a virus allows other killers to come in, ultimately it’s the same -people will die regardless of the ‘first cause’. AIDS kills 100% of the time through other opportunists. Covid might be something around 90% by other opportunists, at a wild guess. Perhaps 10% of the time it attacks organs leading directly to death on its own. But the death certificate writers won’t know this.

    The best way to look at the data is excess deaths, because of the difficulty in getting any real consistency or accuracy in the death certificate data, and because different diseases have variable effects on other disease causing opportunists hitchhiking along for the ride, as well as natural demographic variations ( more obese, younger population, etc).

  35. From the article: “How much of this is from COVID and how much is with COVID? Unfortunately, here’s no way to tell from the data at hand.”

    That’s the bottom line as of now. We need more data.

  36. Died *with* the Wuhan virus, or died *from* the Wuhan virus? That is the question. But what does it mean?

    I think the question to ask of people with co-mobidities is, would they have died anyway, within the timeframe of the Wuhan virus infection (three to five weeks), from a co-morbidity?

    If their underlying health condition would not have caused their death except for the complication of acquiring the Wuhan virus infection, then I would have to say in that case that the Wuhan virus was the cause of death, if the death would not have happened otherwise, within the timframe of a Wuhan virus infection.

    We need more data.

  37. One grave policy mistake, I think, was “lockdown” of the healthy population. In previous times a local measles epidemic would bring out many QUARANTINE: Measles. Quarantine the sick, not the healthy. There was no need to change that kind of policy, and no evidence that locking down the healthy people is more effective than quarantining the sick. It did have the side effect of nearly causing another Great Depression and cause much grief among healthy people with loss of freedom, loss of wages, loss of jobs, depression, anger, frustration, and many bad side effects.

    While the President didn’t push hard for lockdowns following “scientific” advice he help them be implemented, once. The results have been uniformly bad. No one can point to any success in curbing the epidemic by this unproven policy.

  38. In Fig.2 the fraction of deaths with obesity as a co-morbidity is much less than the level of obesity in the overall population. This would seem to suggest that obesity must actually afford a significant protection?

    • Thanks, Walter, good to hear from you. Since other studies have shown greater obesity co-morbidity, my guess is that many physicians list actual diseases first, and then if they get around to it, lifestyle conditions like smoking or obesity.

      But who knows? The data are a mess. Not blaming anyone, the data is coming in from overstressed doctors, each of whom has their own priorities and patients, wants to list important co-morbidities first, and doesn’t like filling out death certs … it’s bound to be messy.


      • I agree. In everything to do with CV-19 uncertainty and confusion prevails along with the proverbial muddle of lies, damned lies and statistics.

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