Is the Official Covid-19 Death Toll Accurate?

Guest post By James D. Agresti

Overview

Roughly two-thirds of U.S. residents don’t believe the CDC’s official tally for the number of Covid-19 deaths. This distrust, however, flows in opposing directions. A nationally representative survey conducted by Axios/Ipsos in late July 2020 found that 37% of adults think the real number of C-19 fatalities in the U.S. is lower than reported, while 31% think the true death toll is greater than reported.

The facts show that neither side has an airtight case, but the evidence is more consistent with the theory that less people have died from C-19 than the official figures indicate. Nevertheless, the extent of the possible overcount is unknown, and even if it were as high as 50,000, it would not make a marked difference in key measures of the pandemic’s severity. Hence, debates over the accuracy of the death toll distract from other issues with much greater implications.

Excess Deaths

The main argument of those who claim that the official C-19 death tally is an undercount is based on a factor called “excess deaths.” This is defined as the total number of deaths from all causes during the pandemic minus the number of deaths that would normally occur at this time of the year.

In the words of the Government Accountability Office, “Examining higher-than-expected deaths from all causes helps to address limitations in the reporting of Covid-19 deaths because the number of total deaths is likely more accurate than the numbers of deaths from specific causes.”

U.S. death certificate data shows that the rise in deaths during the pandemic has indeed been greater than the number of reported C-19 deaths. Some jump to the conclusion that these additional fatalities must be C-19 deaths that were not recorded as such, but a broad array of data indicates that the bulk or all of them are caused by societal reactions to C-19—instead of the disease itself.

For a prime example of how people misconstrue this issue, CNN’s chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, reported on August 16:

We are likely to see the 170,000 mark crossed today—confirmed deaths from Covid-19. But researchers have looked at the actual number of excess deaths in this country—estimated deaths above the norm—and they say it’s closer to 200,000 so far this year. So the real actual death toll from Covid-19 is around 200,000. We have to constantly remind viewers that it’s even worse than we know. It’s even worse than the data indicate.

First, Stelter is wrong that this figure is for “confirmed” deaths. It is actually for “confirmed” plus “suspected” deaths. Those exact words come from the CDC’s official guidance for certifying C-19 deaths, which was published on April 3. On the same day Stelter made this claim, the CDC’s website stated that its C-19 “case counts and death counts” have included “both confirmed and probable cases and deaths” since April 14. In other words, Stelter misrepresented the essence of the data even though this accounting change was in effect for four full months.

The impact of including probable deaths in the count is evidenced by how the CDC altered its website when it adopted this methodology. Two days after the new method of counting deaths was implemented, the CDC updated its website twice (instead of its usual once-per-day update) to incorporate this revision. The changes it made on that day (April 16) provide a rough sense of scale for how the new policy modified the death toll:

  • Before any updates, the CDC reported that 24,582 people had died from C-19 as of April 14.
  • On the first update, the CDC reported that 27,012 people had died from C-19 as of April 15, including 22,871 “confirmed” and 4,141 “probable.”
  • On the second update, the CDC reported that 31,071 people had died from C-19 as of April 15, including 26,930 “confirmed” and 4,141 “probable.”

Taken at face value, the second update shows that CDC’s insertion of “probable” cases raised the death count from 26,930 to 31,071, or by 15%. From a more skeptical standpoint, the difference between the 22,871 “confirmed” deaths on the first update and the 31,071 “confirmed and probable” deaths on the second update amounts to a 36% rise caused by these bookkeeping modifications.

More significantly, Stelter failed to reveal that scholars who conduct research on excess deaths have found that multitudes of them have been caused by lockdowns, panic, and other responses to the pandemic. In July 2020, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a paper regarding this matter by researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University and Yale University. An article about the study from Virginia Commonwealth University summarizes its findings and quotes the researchers as follows:

  • Some excess deaths “may reflect under-reporting” or “patients with Covid-19 who died from related complications,” “but a third possibility, the one we’re quite concerned about is” the “spillover effects of the pandemic, such as delayed medical care, economic hardship or emotional distress.”
  • In the five states that that had the most Covid-19 deaths in March and April:
    • stroke deaths were 35% above normal.
    • Alzheimer’s deaths were 64% above normal.
    • heart disease deaths were 89% above normal.
    • diabetes deaths were 96% above normal.
  • “New York City’s death rates alone rose a staggering 398% from heart disease and 356% from diabetes.”
  • “Still others may have struggled to deal with the consequences of job loss or social isolation.”
  • “A number of people struggling with depression, addiction and very difficult economic conditions caused by lockdowns may have become increasingly desperate, and some may have died by suicide. People addicted to opioids and other drugs may have overdosed.”
  • “The findings from” the “study confirm an alarming trend across the U.S., where community members experiencing a health emergency are staying home—a decision that can have long-term, and sometimes fatal, consequences.”

Numerous other facts corroborate the ones above, a small sampling of which includes the following:

  • A scientific survey commissioned by the American College of Emergency Physicians in April 2020 found that 29% of adults have “actively delayed or avoided seeking medical care due to concerns about contracting” C-19.
  • A California-based ABC News station reported in May:
    • “Doctors at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek say they have seen more deaths by suicide during this quarantine period than deaths from the Covid-19 virus.”
    • Mike deBoisblanc, head of the trauma unit at the hospital stated that he’s “seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks,” and “mental health is suffering so much” that he says “it is time to end the shelter-in-place order.”
  • A scientific survey conducted by the CDC in July 2020 found that about 32% of U.S. adults had “symptoms of anxiety disorder” as compared to 8% around the same time last year. The perils of this are underscored by a 2015 meta-analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, which found that the overall risk of death among people with anxiety is 43% higher than the general population.
  • A study published by the American Medical Association in September 2020 found that 27.8% of U.S. adults had symptoms of depression during the C-19 pandemic as compared to 8.5% before the pandemic. The same 2015 meta-analysis found that depression is associated with a 71% higher risk of death.
  • An article published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco estimated that “more than 20 million jobs” were “swept away” in the early months of the C-19 pandemic. A 2011 meta-analysis in the journal Social Science & Medicine about mortality, “psychosocial stress,” and job losses found that “unemployment is associated with a 63% higher risk of mortality in studies controlling for covariates.”
  • A study published by Just Facts in May 2020 found that anxiety related to C-19 will ultimately destroy at least seven times more years of life than can possibly be saved by lockdowns. With regard to this study, the accomplished psychiatrist Joseph P. Damore, Jr. wrote that it “thoroughly answers the question about the cure being worse than the disease.”

Thus, many or all of the excess deaths that Stelter and others attribute to C-19 are caused by the actions of governments and media outlets. These include but are not limited to stay-at-home orders, business shutdowns, and pervasive misinformation that fuels ill-informed decisions, panic, and depression.

Evidence of Overcounting

Several lines of evidence prove that some deaths included in the official C-19 tally were, in fact, not caused by C-19. However, the combined weight of this evidence is not enough to prove that the reported death toll is significantly greater than the actual one.

Four weeks after the World Health Organization declared C-19 a pandemic, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House Covid-19 task force, stated that the U.S. is taking a “a very liberal approach” to counting C-19 deaths compared to “some countries.” She then explained that “if someone dies with Covid-19, we are counting that as a Covid-19 death.” Notably, that standard does not distinguish between dying from Covid-19 and dying with Covid-19.

In the wake of Birx’s statement, various government officials revealed exactly how they were implementing this “very liberal approach”:

  • A Michigan news article reported in April:
    • “In Macomb County, Chief Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz had a recent case in which an individual died by suicide. Because they had a family member in the hospital suffering from Covid-19, Spitz had a postmortem test done and found that the individual who died at home was positive for Covid-19. The virus wasn’t their cause of death, but the individual is counted as a Covid-19 death.”
    • In Oakland County, “every individual who has died while infected with Covid-19 has counted as a coronavirus death, according to Dr. Ljubisa J. Dragovic, the county’s chief medical examiner.”
  • Ngozi Ezike, director of Illinois Department of Public Health stated during a April press conference:
    • If “you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you were also found to have Covid, that would be counted as a Covid death. It means that technically, even if you died of a clear alternate cause, but you still had Covid at the time, it’s still listed as a Covid death.”
    • “So everyone who’s listed as a Covid death doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death, but they had Covid at the time of death.”
  • A month later, Ezike said that the Department of Public Health was partly unwinding its previous policy but some of it would remain in place:
    • We are “trying to remove those obvious cases” from the C-19 death tally “where the Covid diagnosis was not the reason for the death. If there was a gunshot wound, if there was a motor vehicle accident, we know that that was not related to the Covid positive status.”
    • If “someone has another illness, like heart disease, and then had a stroke or other event, it’s not as easy to separate that and say Covid didn’t exacerbate that existing illness. That would not be removed from the count.”
    • “Even if somebody was very elderly and they were maybe in hospice, we still can’t say that their Covid infection didn’t hasten the death, and so it’s relevant that Covid-19 maybe had a chance to accelerate that process.”
  • A Colorado-based CBS news station reported in April:
    • The “Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has reclassified three deaths at a Centennial nursing home as Covid-19 deaths, despite the fact attending physicians ruled all three were not related to coronavirus.”
    • A spokesman for the state explained that it “follows the CDC’s case definition of Covid-19 cases and deaths,” and “when a person with a lab-confirmed case of Covid-19 dies, their death is automatically counted as a Covid-19 death unless there is another cause that completely rules out Covid-19, such as a fatal physical injury.”
  • The same CBS news station reported in May about a death in Colorado where C-19 was completely ruled out, but the state counted it anyway:
    • A man was found dead with blood alcohol content about twice the level that is potentially fatal, and Montezuma County Coroner George Deavers ruled that he died of alcohol poisoning.
    • Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment classified the case as a C-19 fatality because the man tested positive for C-19 after his death.
    • The coroner stated: “Yes, he did have Covid, but that is not what took his life.”
  • In Florida during July:
    • A local Fox news station asked Dr. Raul Pino, the health officer of Orange County, if two people in their twenties who had allegedly died of Covid-19 had any preexisting conditions. Pino replied: “The first one didn’t have any. He died in a motorcycle accident.”
    • Two days after the news station published this story, Pino’s office said the case “was reviewed,” and the person “was taken off the list for Covid fatalities.”
  • Officials of the Maricopa County, Arizona Public Health Department stated in August:
    • “Even if it’s not listed on their death certificate, anyone who has a Covid-19 positive test within a certain period of when they died, is also counted as a Covid-19 positive death.”
    • If a person dies in a car crash and tested positive for C-19 in the prior 60 days, “Yes, the death would be added” to the C-19 death tally because “it is important to understand who died WITH the disease even if the disease was not the CAUSE of death. Obviously, fatal accidents are a small subset of the total.”

Short of scrutinizing every alleged C-19 death or a truly representative sample of them, there is no way to tell how many cases like those above are part of the official tally. However, certain evidence suggests they are not a large portion of the total:

  • Contrary to Birx’s statement in March, the CDC issued guidance in early April that states: “Not all conditions present at the time of death have to be reported—only those conditions that actually contributed to death.”
  • The CDC posted that guidance on April 3 when the official C-19 death count was 5,443 people, or less than one-thirtieth of the current tally. Thus, whatever happened prior to then can’t have a major impact on the total.
  • Some states instruct people who fill out death certificates to exclude C-19 if it didn’t play an active role in the fatality. Mississippi, for instance, says: “If Covid-19 was unrelated to the cause of death and not a contributing factor, it should not be included” on the death certificate.

On the other hand, the CDC’s guidance and other government policies still incentivize or stack the deck in favor of including C-19 on death certificates. For example:

  • The state of Alaska instructs medical professionals to report C-19 deaths according to this standard: “Whether Covid-19 shortened a life by 15 years or 15 minutes; whether Covid-19 is an underlying or contributing condition, the virus was in circulation, infected an Alaskan, and hastened their death. This must be reported.” Given the impossibility of determining if C-19 shortened a life by 15 minutes, these instructions favor placing C-19 on the death certificates of people who died with or after C-19 but not necessarily from C-19.
  • The CDC’s guidance for certifying C-19 deaths provides three examples of how to record them on death certificates, one of which involves an 86-year-old female who was never tested for C-19, had a debilitating stroke three years prior to her death, and passed on with “a high fever and severe cough after being exposed to an ill family member who subsequently was diagnosed with Covid-19.” The guidance states the “underlying cause of death,” or the pivotal factor that led to her death, should be listed as “Probable Covid-19.” However, many other diseases can cause a fever and cough, and a recent CDC study shows it is not uncommon for people to display symptoms of C-19 but test negative for it.
  • The federal CARES Act, which became law in late March, pays hospitals a 20% premium for treating Medicare patients who are diagnosed with C-19. Until recently, a positive lab test for C-19 was not needed to obtain this money, but the federal government added this requirement in September “to address potential Medicare program integrity risks….” Note that C-19 need not appear on a death certificate for hospitals to receive these payments, so it may not influence decisions to include it.
  • The Mississippi Department of Health states: “If the patient was a confirmed Covid-19 case, but Covid-19 contributed to but did not cause the death, such as stroke,” C-19 should be listed in Part II of the death certificate. This again favors placing C-19 on death certificates, for as the director of Illinois Department of Public Health said: If “someone has another illness, like heart disease, and then had a stroke or other event, it’s not as easy to separate that and say Covid didn’t exacerbate that existing illness.” Note that the CDC includes in its C-19 death tally all death certificates that mention C-19, regardless of whether it appears in Part I or Part II.

A breakdown of how many C-19 deaths appear in Part I versus Part II might shed considerable light on the issue of C-19’s lethality. This is because Part I of a death certificate “is for reporting the sequence of conditions that led directly to death,” while Part II is for “other significant conditions that contributed to the death, but are not a part of the sequence of conditions directly leading to the death.” Thus, Just Facts requested such data from the CDC on September 11 and is awaiting a reply.

Summary

Media outlets have persistently reported on the number of C-19 deaths while ignoring vital facts that place them in context. A simple example of this is that 2.8 million people die in the U.S. every year, including about 170,000 from accidents. Also of great import, accidents rob an average of 30.6 years of life from each of its victims, as compared to roughly 10.8 years for C-19. Yet in contrast, media outlets don’t continually publicize the running death tally from accidents.

This focus on the raw number of C-19 fatalities—combined with the fact that the very nature of the disease makes these figures uncertain—has spurred controversy over the accuracy of the CDC’s death count. Adding fuel to the fire, the statements and actions of some public officials show clear evidence of overcounting.

But even if the real death toll is 50,000 less than the 200,000 deaths currently reported by the CDC, this 25% difference would have little effect on key measures of the pandemic’s severity.

Consider, for example, the infection fatality rate, which is the portion of people who die after catching the disease. In early March, the World Health Organization announced that “about 3.4% of reported Covid-19 cases have died” and that “by comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected.” This 3.4% figure was widely reported, and many media outlets criticized President Trump for saying, “I think the 3.4% is really a false number,” and “I would say the number is way under 1%.”

As it turned out, Trump was correct, and the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford now estimates that the infection fatality rate for C-19 is “somewhere between 0.1% and 0.41%.” This is well below 1%, just as Trump stated, and within range of the flu’s infection fatality rate of 0.15%. So even if C-19 deaths are overcounted by 25%, and this exaggerates the fatality rates by the same amount, they would still be 0.1% to 0.3%—or practically unchanged.

Likewise, the CDC’s current best estimates for the infection fatality rate range from 0.003% for people aged 0–19 to 5.4% for people aged 70 and above. Again, a 25% change in these figures would leave them in the same ballpark.

Thus, debates over the death count are a distraction from more informative measures like the odds of dying from C-19 for those who catch it. In this case, the highly publicized figure of 3.4% proved to be off by about a factor of 10. That is a major factor that truly informs the big picture.

From an even broader perspective, the most comprehensive available measure of the threat posed by Covid-19 is the total years of life that it will rob from all people who were alive at the outset of 2020. This crucial measure accounts for the facts that:

  • there is a material difference between a malady that kills a 20 year-old in the prime of her life and one that kills a 90-year-old who would have otherwise died a month later.
  • Covid-19 is unlikely to have an ongoing high death toll because the virus that causes it mutates much less substantially than that of the flu and other contagious diseases. Thus, it is far less likely to keep taking lives in the face of acquired immunity and vaccines.

In the context of this broad measure, debates over the actual death toll amount to rounding errors in the relative threats posed by Covid-19 and other common scourges that take masses of lives every year:

In conclusion, the facts of this matter accord with a Government Accountability Office technology assessment published in July that found: “The extent of any net undercounting or overcounting of Covid-19 deaths is unknown.” More importantly, debates over the accuracy of this figure divert attention from other issues that have much greater implications for understanding the pandemic and how it should be addressed.

James D. Agresti is the president of Just Facts, a think tank dedicated to publishing rigorously documented facts about public policy issues.

145 thoughts on “Is the Official Covid-19 Death Toll Accurate?

  1. The US 2020 pandemic is very similar to the 1959 and 1968 pandemics, which all had population-adjusted death tolls of around 150,000.

    For the first time in US history, the CDC suddenly changed the coroner cause-of-death (COD) criteria to include anyone with (or even assumed/without testing) to have been infected by COVID19 to have died from COVID19, even if someone actually died of a heart attack, a stroke, any 4th-stage cancer, chronic liver/heart/lung disease, pneumonia, severe diabetes, car accident, etc.,—insane…

    US COVID death are likely inflated by more than 50,000. Had the CDC used the same COD criteria as before, the real death toll would be around 150,000 by the end of this year, not 250,000 under this new COD criteria…

    Widespread usage of HCQ probably could have saved 10’s of thousands of lives, and if NY, MI, PA, CA, and NJ not allowed COVID19 patients back into their nursing homes, many 10’s of thousands more could have been saved, but Leftists in these states thought they knew better….

    Leftists’ primary agenda is take make COVID19 appear as terrifying as possible in order to improve their November election results, and are now even encouraging Americans not to take the COVID19 vaccine when it soon becomes available because…Orange-Man-Bad….

    The Left has gone completely insane…

    • Actually an extremely effective prophylactic and cure has been found and it’s even cheaper and simpler than HCQ. It’s vitamin D, which has too many functions to name here, but two of them happen to be the mechanism for how HCQ and Ivermectin work. This latest cold virus would be a non issue for 99.999% of people if health authorities would simply tell everyone to get their vitamin D levels up. And of course you need proper Ca, Mg, Zn, and vitamin K2 to go along with it.

      • There’s something that would even save you money and that’s eating less food. There is a disproportionately large number of overweight people ending up in hospital with covid.

        Curiously being short sighted could also Help. A study shows eye glass wearing people are underrepresented in covid case and death counts.

        it is believed glasses protect the eyes through which the virus can enter the system almost as readily as through the nose or mouth.

        Tonyb

      • And since pretty much all of the milk in North America is fortified with vitamin D and contains significant amounts of the other minerals listed, perhaps people should be drinking more milk?

        • A lot of adults can’t digest milk if it ever made sense for humans to drink cow”s milk. I’ve been taking Vitamin D about 5000 IU a day years before Covid showed up because I don’t get much sunlight. D is good to increase resistance for infections in general. From sunlight is probably best unless you are susceptible to skin cancer.

          • There is no substitute for getting your vitamin D level tested once a year in spring. I am for a level around 70 ng/ml. It takes me 20,000 IU/day to maintain that. I would consider 5000 IU/day a good level for adults to start with and not go over that without testing.

            Taking vitamin k2 is essential. Having a high vitamin D level and a K2 deficiency is a bad combination.

      • Don’t forget the selenium, which is hard to come by in the food you usually eat. But it’s super abundant in shellfish and Brazil nuts. One Brazil nut has about 175% MDR, about equal to a dozen fresh oysters but at much lower cost. Don’t overdo it with the selenium; 1 nut per day is enough, and several dozen of them can be a bit dangerous.

        https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/selenium-benefits#1

        While various health agencies recommend around 1500IU of daily D for adults, triple that if you’re quite overweight. Dr. Holick in the study I read ( 54% less chance of getting Cov-2 if D levels are strong ) is a skinny little old guy who has been on 6000IU for over a decade. Ok, he’s a huge D fan for years too, but other studies have shown that heavy levels of D supplement have no risk.

    • Not to mention that the population in 1959 and 1968 was much lower so the deaths/100k were higher. The US population in 1958 was 174.88 million compared to 330.22 million in 2020 so that 150,000 people in 1958 would be over 283,000 in 2020. It put.s the COVID-19 problem in perspective.

      • Flu “deaths” are wild guess CDC mumbers because the flu was never a direct cause of death on the official CDC list of over 100 causes of death. There was no list of names to support the CDC computer model wild guess.

        • Flu deaths themselves are typically derived from excess death data. So it will be impossible to play the same game twice and flu and covid will indistinguishable.

          Be pretty sure that this year will be a very low flu year. Firstly because Cuomo and others have killed off most of the at-risk group and secondly because every flu case will go down as a “probable” covid-19.

          As winter comes to an end in the antipodes , NZ has had ZERO influenza cases this year.

          • Simply include average total deaths ( which included flu deaths however arrived at) and your excess deaths will be as accurate as any other year within a standard variation.

          • Be pretty sure that this year will be a very low flu year

            And not just for the reasons you cite. The measures used to prevent the spread of COVID (keeping your distance, washing your hands, covering your sneezes, properly wearing masks, etc.) should be just as effective at preventing the spread of the flu.

          • Simply include average total deaths ( which included flu deaths however arrived at) and your excess deaths will be as accurate as any other year within a standard variation.

            The point, David, is that in prior years those excess deaths are used to derive one variable (Flu deaths). You can kind of get away with that, but that trick doesn’t work when you are trying to derive two different variables (COVID deaths *and* Flu deaths). How do you distinguish between the two in the excess death numbers? the answer, frankly, is you can’t.

    • It is extremely doubtful that U.S. deaths from C-19 are inflated by more 50,000, as evidenced by the fact in the article plus this correspondence below that I recently received from the CDC:

      “A physician, medical examiner, or coroner lists the cause or causes of death on the death certificate. Death certificates list any causes or conditions that contributed to a person’s death. However, each death certificate must identify only one underlying cause of death. This cause of death is the condition that began the chain of events that ultimately led to the person’s death. In 92% of all deaths that mention COVID-19, COVID-19 is the underlying cause of death.”

      “In 94% (more than 9 out of 10) of death certificates with COVID-19 listed as a cause of death, other conditions are also listed. These causes may include conditions that occurred as a result of COVID-19, such as pneumonia or respiratory failure, or chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.”

      • James-san:

        Only 6% of total COVID19 deaths were exclusively caused by COVID19.

        The remaining 94% of “COVID19 deaths” were merely assumed to be caused by COVID19 even if the patient was never tested for COVID19, and even if the patient was terminally ill from other comorbidities. Such ludicrous criteria has never been sanctioned by the CDC in the past until COVID19…

        The fact that the average age of “COVID19 deaths” was 80 (which is 2 years over the average US lifespan) should tell you something… or not…

        Doctor friends were appalled when they heard of CDC’s bogus COVID19 death criteria.

        The inflated “COVID19 deaths” were further exacerbated by hospitals getting a $13,000~36,000 bonus from the federal government if the death was contributed to COVID19…

        No autopsies were required to prove a COVID19 death, a mere assumption was more than enough criteria… oh, goody….

        Another telling sign the CDC is up to no good is that they still have not released any data on nationwide COVID19 antibody test results, which is the only way to determine the actual number of total COVID19 infections… 90% of COVID19 infections are completely asymptomatic or so minor people just thought they had a minor cold…

        Again, yes, COVID19 was a terrible and highly infectious disease similar to the 1959 and 1968 pandemics… After a COVID19 vaccine is released, and things return to normal, the actual COVID19 death rate will be shown to be around 0.2%, which is the same as the 1968 and 1959 pandemics..

        Remember when the CDC hacks were saying the COVID19 death rate could 3%? Again, the CDC handled this deplorably…

        • You either failed to understand the CDC quote I provided or are deliberately misrepresenting it. Read carefully.

          • I have a friend who’s brother was a drug addict (heroin) and was homeless because of this. He died of an over dose in March. He was listed as a COVID death because after he died he tested positive. So Mr. Agresti, you can believe the CDC all you want. You can also believe in the tooth fairy for all the good it will do you.

          • James

            Interesting article, thanks.

            Looking at the figures for England issued by the office for national statistics, a govt agency, there were some 30000 deaths of which some 1500 were of previously healthy people.

            The remainder had an average age of over 80 with 2.6 ‘co morbidities ‘ each on average. Many of these died in care homes where people were sent when the NHS were ordered to clear beds to make way for tens of thousands of new covid cases and the incomers were not tested and likely brought the virus with them.

            It is sad when anyone dies of course but this pandemic could never have happened 20 years ago as there wre only around half as many over 80’s in England as they are today.

            I wonder if the US figures are precise enough to determine the numbers that died that were previously healthy, that is to say they had no known underlying condition? Thanks

            Tonyb

          • agresric, sure, trust the CDC… 6 months ago “healthy people should NOT wear masks” and today “masks protect you better than vaccine”… forgive those of us with memories for asking what changed and calling BS on the CDC and its “how to classify a covid death” crap guidance

          • Sir, you should not be so affirmative about the CDC correspondence you received recently.
            There is a new 2020 ICD-10-CM code named U07.1 that became effective on October 1, 2019. U07.1 is a billable/specific code that can be used to indicate a diagnosis for reimbursement purposes and its short description is “2019-nCoV Acute Respiratory Disease”.
            CDC expected the pandemic earlier than October 1, 2019, didn’t it?

            Samurai’s 6% is based on CDC update of August 26 and there was a huge backlash against it worldwide.
            The correspondence you received about death cause sounds like the excuse.
            Any virus infection could trigger preexisting conditions to get worse, but it should not be the cause of death.
            It is apparent that the US death toll is manipulated because the US represent only 4% of the world population but does 24% of the world deaths.
            I would be grateful if you explain to me how CDC predicted the pandemic in October last year?

          • You either failed to understand the CDC quote I provided or are deliberately misrepresenting it. Read carefully.

            And you failed to read and comprehend what SAMURAI wrote in response. You lack of ability to rebut anything he wrote is duly noted.

      • agrestic, follow the covid handout $$$ and orange man bad syndrome and you’ll soon understand why covid is listed as the underlying cause of death on so many death certificates… that’s how u make a virus
        that’s not much worse than the flu into a scamdemic… and the sheeple eat it up like ice cream.

      • It is extremely doubtful that U.S. deaths from C-19 are inflated by more 50,000

        I don’t know by how much they are exaggerated, but I do know my very blue-voting county recently lowered their death count by about 5% due to overcounting (one town had an overcount of about 15%!!!). If the rest of the country is similarly overcounting by at least 5%… we’re talking 10K+ easily. Not quite 50k, but not really that far off it either.

        Death certificates list any causes or conditions that contributed to a person’s death. However, each death certificate must identify only one underlying cause of death

        And I’m sure it’s merely a coincidence that “underlying cause of death: COVID-19” brings in more money than any of the other possible choices from causes of death. I’m sure that has absolutely no influence on what gets put down as the underlying cause of death whatsoever.

    • This post is just a guess – but USA Covid-19 stats are just not that credible.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/09/07/covid-19-testing-1000-times-too-sensitive/#comment-3079180

      Scissor wrote: “Take a look at France. Cases are far higher than in the spring and yet no rise in case fatalities. Is this just global idiocy or something more sinister?”

      Open https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/canada/
      Scroll down to “Daily New Deaths in Canada” – typically less than ten/day since mid-July2020 – and PROPORTIONALLY SIMILAR TO FRANCE, UK, GERMANY, ITALY, NETHERLANDS, EVEN NO-LOCKDOWN SWEDEN (since end-July).

      Open https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/
      Scroll down to “Daily Deaths” in USA – deaths bottomed circa 1July2020 at ~700 AND THEN ROSE AGAIN TO ~1400.

      Three anomalies in USA data vs Canada, which has 1/10th the population of the USA:
      1. Adjusted for population, USA Covid deaths in July are almost 10x higher than Canada deaths and total USA Covid deaths (193,699) are proportionally twice total Canada Covid deaths (9,146).
      This difference in data exists notwithstanding that Trump closed the USA to travellers from China several months before Canada did; this fact is countered by the actions of several states (especially New York) to deliberately infect old folks homes.
      2. The reported increase in USA Covid-deaths post-July2020 is UNLIKE ANY OF THE OTHER COUNTRIES CITED ABOVE.
      3. USA hospitals are reportedly financially double-incentivized to report Covid-positive deaths as Covid-caused deaths – even when the person died in a motorcycle accident.

      More comments:
      The fixation of authorities and the media with increasing “New Cases” is wrong:
      4. The Covid-19 flu will only die our when “herd immunity” is reached, and that is being delayed by all the masking and distancing. Forget vaccines, I won’t take a rush-job vaccine (and I take a flu shot every year).
      5. We WANT MORE CASES among the low-risk population because that is how herd immunity is reached.
      6. More cases is typically a function of more tests being run.

      CONCLUSIONS (Probable, not Certain):
      7. I conclude that USA deaths from Covid-19 are hugely over-estimated – total deaths by ~double (should be ~100,000 or less) , and July daily deaths by almost tenfold (should be ~100 or less).
      8. I also conclude that the reported increase in USA Covid-19 deaths post 1July2020 is false – none of the other Western countries cited above show this resurgence of Covid deaths post-July.

      As I published previously, the goalposts have been moved since March 2020:
      The full-Gulag Covid-19 lockdown was originally intended to prevent the “tsunami of cases from swamping our medical system” – A TSUNAMI OF CASES that NEVER HAPPENED! Medical people knew this reality by about mid-March, ~two weeks into the lockdown, but our Alberta hospitals were essentially emptied for over two months!
      Since then, the Covid-19 lockdown has been extended through today, about six months, and has squandered trillions of dollars and harmed billions of people, and for what? The lockdown has NOT saved lives – all it has done is prolong the life of the virus by delaying herd immunity – it may even allow the virus to continue into the next flu season.

      • Hello Allan. I live in Edmonton. Right now there are 44 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19. Alberta has a population of 4, 371 million. This means that 0.001 percent of Albertans are currently in hospital with COVID-19. This means that 99.999 percent of Albertans are not in hospital with COVID-19. When I explain this to people their reaction is, what’s your point?

        Deena Hinshaw (may she be attacked by yetis) just gets up there and gripes about increasing case numbers. A case is anybody with a positive test for antibodies, regardless of age or health status. Case numbers have not correlated with hospitalisations in at least two months. Nobody in the media ever mentions this to Dr. Hinshaw.

        By now it is perfectly obvious that, when protocols to suppress the spread of the virus are relaxed, there is an immediate resurgence in case numbers. Nothing is working. Testing and case tracing are just the latest expensive, cumbersome and certain to fail nonsolution.

        How does this end? Either with the development, manufacture and distribution of a safe, effective vaccine, or a mass rebellion, when millions of people just rise up and say, forget it, we don’t care, we’re going back to our old lifestyles.

        • Good comments Ian.

          All global flu’s end the same way – when herd immunity is reached. The Covid-19 epidemic was essentially over by midsummer- look up Total Deaths in Canada on worldometers/covid – minimal by 31July2020, similar to No-Lockdown Sweden.

          Covid-19 is now a “Casedemic”, where medical authorities have lost their way – they don’t know why they are doing what they are doing. They are just sleepwalking through the lockdown, which was not necessary and should have been cancelled by mid-late March2020 – it was obvious then that Covid-19 was not dangerous to the workforce or schoolchildren – it was only dangerous to the very elderly and infirm.

      • “..Three anomalies in USA data vs Canada, which has 1/10th the population of the USA:
        1. Adjusted for population, USA Covid deaths in July are almost 10x higher than Canada deaths and total USA Covid deaths (193,699) are proportionally twice total Canada Covid deaths (9,146)..”

        OR, take a much more meaningful statistic which I stumbled upon while seeing the Quebec Covid-19 cumulative death toll (half of the number you cite above) scroll by on a sidebar on cbcnewsnet a few weeks ago. I went online and checked the worldwide country score sheet for Covid-19 deaths per 100,000, then calculated the Quebec number. The result?

        The three countries on the podium at that point were Belgium, the UK, and the US. But if Quebec were a country (as it aspires to be), it would have been tied for the silver with the UK.

        Strange that no one has ever mentioned that in all the interminable Canadian “news” conferences about Covid-19. And 90% of Canadians are reportedly afraid of opening the border with the US!

        Talk about having your head in the sand…

        • I understand that Quebec did a terrible job managing their old folk’s homes and had excessively high mortality. It was so bad the army was sent in to supervise.

          Kind of like Britain and New York, where Covid-19 patenits were sent into these old folks homes to kill of the patients. Attaboys all around.

          • Yet, even with their highest-mortality-in-Canada achievement, Quebec’s Covid weekly peak mortality only exceeded the 2018 peak weekly mortality by about 3%, and then of course fell rapidly after that peak. Worth destroying the global economy for?

    • Samurai, all of this was addressed in the post, and some counterpoints were made.
      I am simply suggesting you address those.

  2. Start here before you have any thoughts whatsoever about untangling the death counts

    https://youtu.be/_TECf3xSFbU?t=32

    next understand that once you let the virus get hold ( by doing a half assessed slow lockdown)
    you lost the entire game.
    once you claimed “flu” and 1000+ health workers died, you lost the game.
    whether the final IFR is .3 or .4 or .1 or .05

      • what’s a sweeden? it was everywhere a couple months ago…. now, it’s the country that shall not be named.

    • That’s right Steven. You got to contact trace them. First you develop a test with quite a few false positives and then grab any people that come in contact….and keep grabbing them 😉

    • Like all Viruses in all of the history of viruses. While we have developed vaccines for sever illnesses such as Small Pox, Polio and Measles (especially those that affect children), I find it incomprehensible that this version of the Coronavirus is being treated as if it is similar to or as lethal as Ebola, which it patently isn’t. During the initial outbreak is was perfectly reasonable to take strong measures as if this was a very serious virus, and it definitely looked like that. However, doctors and nurses began to learn the nature of this virus and develop various strategies to help those most affected. Instead of modifying our approaches some are still pushing the first emotional response as if the nature of this virus is unknown. WHO represents collectivist mentality and collectivist mentality is not flexible and is more likely to defend a position however wrong it might be because a collectivist has a group identity to defend. Collectivism is not suited to the scientific method.

      • I’m still open to the possibility that this was a deliberate attack on the world by the CCP. It was most likely incompetence leading to a lab escape, but in any case, their response included great malfeasance.

        It seems that cross-reactive immunity is more prevalent in China, the epicenter of novel virus outbreaks, and Asia in general. However, some pre-existing immunity appears to be global, though centered in Asia.

        • Agreed. At ‘Our World in Data’ there is a chart showing 38 world economies. China is not included by default. There is a link and you can add China to get the full impact of the graphic.
          Link: https://ourworldindata.org/covid-health-economy
          In another section on Coronavirus you will see this aim:
          “Only if we end the pandemic everywhere can we end the pandemic anywhere. The entire world has the same goal: cases of COVID-19 need to go to zero.”
          It ends with this ‘Gang of Four’ type demand:
          “To be safe anywhere, every region in the world needs to make progress against the pandemic – and this means dark blue lines hitting zero.
          Progress is possible – some countries bent the curve of new cases and are monitoring the outbreak well. But globally we are very far from the goal and the global number of confirmed cases is rising extremely fast.”

        • “I’m still open to the possibility that this was a deliberate attack on the world by the CCP. It was most likely incompetence leading to a lab escape, but in any case, their response included great malfeasance.”

          Well, I suppose it is possible that the Chicom’s created the Wuhan virus to attack the rest of the world (mainly the United States). I think that would make sense to a ruthless dictator bent on world domination, with no respect for human life.

          Of course, before you turn the new virus loose, you have your medical people create a workable vaccine, and you should have time, since you are the one in charge of the timing of the release of the Wuhan virus into the population.

          The Chicoms claim they have beaten the disease, although I saw a news report just the other day about how Chinese children were still staying away from school and studying at home, but there don’t seem to be any big outbreaks in China, although that might be hard to nail down considering how you can’t trust anything coming from them to be the truth.

          The Wuhan virus certainly could have been a diabolical plan. We don’t know that it was at this time. A prominent Chinese scientist who was intimately involved early on with the Wuhan virus and is currently in hiding in the United States, claims that the Wuhan virus was engineered and says she has proof of it. Of course, she has been promptly banned from Twitter and I think other social media platforms. Tucker Carlson had her on his show the other day. He says Fox News, unlike Google and Facebook and Twitter, is not beholden to the Chicoms, and will continue to broadcast the truth. The U.S. Congress really should reign in these censoring social media monopolies of information. Who are they to say what we can and can’t see? If they censor people, the people ought to be able to take them to court and sue them over it.

          • So, maybe the ChiMiliary was working on a world busting virus that only they would have the defense against, but they are now’plagued’by a premature release?

            Really, if it’s true that this thing is artificial, a ‘chimera’ it is almost impossible to come up with a non-evil, or sensible reason for it, even in normal military terms?

        • TBH- with the various co-morbidities involved, I expect if it WAS engineered (and I’m skeptical of the CCP’s ability to focus it that well), it was engineered to take out their excess elder population and just got away from them.

          Its easier- and usually more accurate- to blame incompetence and happenstance to deliberate malice.

        • The release may or not be accidental, but it was deliberate when China shut down domestic travel to/from but allowed international flights to/from Wuhan to continue.

          The CCP government knew by that time the virus was transmitted person-to-person. What more do we need to understand how dangerous Red China is to the free world?

    • See this regarding the numbers from actual data – data that isn’t “adjusted” – just reported data.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UvFhIFzaac

      And if you want to argue his data and points, it’s been done and he’s responded here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UvFhIFzaac

      Fact is there are no facts which show lockdowns other than retreat to a cave, collapse the entrance and become a Morlock ala H.G.Wells. Nor masks. Nor much of anything else. The patterns, regardless of how the deaths are counted, all follow the same thing.

      We now have what he calls a “Casedemic”. Reasons are obvious. People playing if for either political or monetary reasons. Follow the money and follow political power.

    • Steven-san:

      Leftists originally said the economic lockdown would only be 15 days—just enough to “flatten the curve”…..

      Then the Leftists said, “even one additional COVID death is too high to end the lockdown, and we must wait for a vaccine.”…

      Now the Leftist say, “don’t take the vaccine because….Orange-Man-Bad…”

      The truth is that a highly contagious virus like this one just needs to run its course until herd immunity is reached. Total deaths don’t vary, lockdowns just postpone when herd immunity is reached.

      Lockdowns just cause complete economic chaos, suicides, drug ODs, undiagnosed cancer/illnesses increase as people stop visiting doctors, life savings get wiped out, increased unemployment, unfathomable national debts are created, currency values plummet, etc., —-Leftists’ “solutions” are invariably worse than the disease….

      • you are correct samuri… we’re on 190 days of 15 days to flatten the curve so hospitals dont get overwhelmed… we’ve never been lied to more than this on a national level. its evil. and yet I look around and most sheeple just “baaahhhhh baaaahhhh”. they must live on twitter and facebook.

    • “half assessed”, I like that.

      If planes are bringing people into your nation, there is no lockdown.

      In March my wife ended my once a week trips to the supermarket. She, who is healthier, went there with a spray painters mask. Few others had masks and few observed a six foot distance at thay time.

      Meanwhile, people sat next to each other on airplane, but restaurants were closed, at least here in Michigan.

      A friend is a stewadress serving meals to people in first class sittong next to each other. Then on a layover in NYC a few werks ago, she could not eat indoors at any restaurant?

      • I guess Greta can see the virus, and thus can avoid them. Anyone that clearly sees CO2 has no trouble dodging massive viruses.

    • Moshy,
      what about your darling South Korea!
      Did these dudes do any lockdown… at all!
      Please can you clarify this, if you can?

      And maybe make some sense, hopefully, of what you being pointing out over this issue, for quite a while now.

    • Steven,

      Following up on the logic in the linked video:

      1) Covid is the cause of the pnumonia (which triggers other stuff) … which leads to the death … so it is the Covid which is the (reasonable) cause of death.

      2) Lack of vitamin D is the cause of 93% of the extreme Covid cases … so being deficient in vitamin D is the responsible for the extreme Covid cases, so the cause of death in approximately 93% of Covid related cases should be noted as Vitamin D deficiency.

      But, you say … the deficient Vitamin D folks would have gone on living happily without the Covid infection.

      Yes, that’s true, but the Covid laden folks that had sufficient Vitamin D levels could have gone on living happily as well had the body not created antibodies to get rid of the Covid.

      Cause of death (per the video logic) POOR HEALTH HABITS & VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY.

  3. Look around you, family and friends. How many got it and how many died and what were their physical condition.
    In my group it were 7 one died age 91 (diabetes) the others are 85, 86(kidney problems), 86, 58(cancer patient),56 and 20.

    • I know several who got it, no one who died or suffered any long term effects. These people range in age from late 20’s to late 80’s. The person in the late 80’s required oxygen but pulled through.

      In Boulder County, CO, only one person under the age of 60 has died of it; no one under the age of 50; and no one under the age of 20 has required hospitalization.

      With university students back, cases (defined as positive tests) are spiking but it appears to me that this is largely an artifact of false positives. The county has no idea what the false positive rate is.

    • A nationally representative survey conducted by Axios/Ipsos in late August 2020 found that 20% of U.S. adults personally know someone in the U.S. who has died from Covid-19. This result is consistent with the facts that (1) the average American knows about 550 people, (2) the C-19 death rate varies widely across the 50 states, and (3) the CDC estimates that one out of every 1,752 Americans has died from C-19 as of September 6th. For comparison, one out of every 116 people in the U.S. die every year.

      https://www.justfactsdaily.com/question-of-the-day/291435

  4. The political reality is that the public appetite for lockdown has largely vanished. In the UK the ‘law’ is being openly flouted, and if the official figures are to be believed, case load is rising massively.

    I know what I would do if I were government. Let chaos ensue and blame the people. If it all goes pear shaped. If it doesn’t well you can take credit for it can’t you?

    We are still operating in almost complete ignorance: And that goes for all factions in the debate, despite all the armchair experts and dodgy data being used with the usual simplistic ignorant modelling skills to show that its much less serious, or much, much, worser than people think, according to which political axe you want to grind. Naturally the Left is delighted at an excuse to practice totalitarian government ‘for your own good’. But that doesn’t mean they invented it.

    I do know from those who have experienced it first or second hand, that it is an order of magnitude worse than flu.

    I do know that the highest death rate post diagnosis comes from the most densely populated urban areas, which suggests there is no constant percentage death rate, and models assuming that are so much toilet paper.

    Both infection rate and death rate are crucially dependent on viral load, and no model I am aware of incorporates those as variable parameters. Also there is no satisfactory explanation as to why the disease is more prevalent and more deadly in what the mealy mouthed government calls the ‘BAME’ (Black/Asian/Minority Ethnic) sector of the population.

    In short no one knows enough to frame policy except by death, and case, rate. And we have no other response than lockdown. If the people choose to disbelieve it, Que sera, sera.

    • It really is quite remarkable how little we know. On BAME, there is quite a bit of evidence that vitamin D deficiency is a factor.

      Severity is subjective. About 80% or more of COVID-19 cases are very mild or even asymptomatic in many places. The percentage of influenza cases that are mild or asymptomatic is typically around 50%. COVID-19 hardly affects children, the young and those without comorbidities. Influenza generally is much harder on children and the young.

    • Hello Zane. One time at a party, when I was much younger than I am now, I said to a doctor that nobody really dies of old age. (I knew everything in those days. Which was a lot of fun, to tell you the truth.) The doctor, who had witnessed the deaths of many people, just snorted and told me I was full of it.

  5. James D. Agresti, thanks for the analyses.
    Your article is still going around in circles. You mention excess mortality to a good extend, but then you sway away from it.

    As you emphasize so clearly, most numbers are biased one way or another, and even “doctored” in some cases, as we know from Climate Change research/policy.

    I would have lowed to see your article more focused on analyses of excess mortality alone.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to see graphs of total mortality over a year for the last five years.
    Having such a graph for every US state, Us as a whole, EU countries and EU as a whole?

    It is strange how difficult it is to gather this information. You have to find who carries out the mortality count, mostly based on information from the tax authorities, for every country.
    I did it for Swede, which shows that the C-19 season was over end of June, but had difficulties finding the “original” sources in other countries.
    Why could worldometers.info not include the total mortality graphs – yes, I know, that would paint a totally different picture. A picture that may reveal that lock-down over more than a few weeks could turn out to be unhealthy.

    • Carl

      I found a comparison of the annual deaths for over a decade in Sweden particularly interesting.
      2019 was the lowest in a decade and over 3400 less deaths than 2018, the highest year.
      Does this means that many elderly, who survived the mild flu season of 2019, being even older would have push up the number of deaths in 2020 – even without COVID-19?

      Every year the numbers were much lower there was substantial increase in deaths the following year:
      deaths in 2011, 89938 with the following year increased by 2000
      deaths in 2014, 88976 with the following year increased by 1931 and creeping up for four years in a row
      deaths in 2019, 88766 with the following year increased by 2000 or 3000 or more?

      With a population growth of around 10% over the past decade, we would expect more deaths.

      I would not be surprised if by September 2021 it will be clear the COVID deaths have been inflated and only increased total 2020 deaths slightly. The damages, sadly, because of political folly will however be enormous for all countries with extended strict or repeated lockdowns.

      https://www.statista.com/statistics/525353/sweden-number-of-deaths/

      • The follow-on from that is that Norway and Denmark did not have a dip in winter deaths the previous year, with the result that their “fuel load” was considerably lower than Sweden’s.

        And the UK’s which also had a below average death rate for 2018-19.

        It’s hard to determine exactly what the impact of these variations might be but it strikes me as a bit glib to heap blame on Sweden and compare it adversely to its neighbours when there are potentially relevant circumstances which might explain the difference.

        I keep getting the impression that the world is full of people who are not interested in facts, merely in having their own opinions justified. And that includes medical researchers, epidemiologists, and above all politicians.

        PS — Many thanks for this article. It puts a lot of things in context. Can anyone explain why US hospitals (and I think UK ones as well) have been “encouraged” to make the CV-19 deaths figures as bad as possible? There is no suggestion that they are doing the same for influenza. In what way does this “distortion of the facts” benefit the general public?

        • Somehow when everyone compares Sweden to their neighbors they leave out Belgium. I wonder why, could it be Belgium is third in the world in deaths per million.

          • Mark,
            Belgium’s situation has much to teach us but we need to be given an insight into what has happened there.

            There is great dissatisfaction among doctors in Belgium with the politicians. The media are however not reporting on their actions.

            Here is the link to the open letter from 200 Belgian doctors and health professionals. https://docs4opendebate.be/en/open-letter/

            I have been really surprised at the anger in various European countries by medical people but the media gives these dissenters little (unfavorable) or no coverage.

  6. People with an agenda are obviously messing with the statistics. It’s harder to mess with excess deaths, but not impossible.

    The problem is how to make decisions in the face of inadequate or conflicting data. Christopher Monckton wrote a good WUWT article on the subject.

    There are usually ‘tells’ that give away the truth. My favorite goes something like the following from a German in WW2:

    I knew we were losing the war because all of our great victories kept getting closer to Berlin.

    The thing that convinced me of the seriousness of the pandemic was that Ecuador had run out of caskets and bodies were being left in the streets and not being collected in a timely manner.
    link

    Taiwan seems to have dealt with the pandemic better than anyone else. They jumped on the problem before anyone even knew the infection wasn’t just pneumonia. They may even have prevented China from deliberately spreading the infection to them.

    It is said that Taiwan managed to keep the economy running. On the other hand, one of the family members who does business with Taiwan tells me the postal service was somewhat disrupted. Like always, it’s good to take everything with a grain of salt.

    The problem is that, faced with uncertainty about the data and many conflicting opinions, we may be paralysed into doing nothing. That can be fatal. It’s worth reading CM’s sage advice in the story linked above.

  7. Here is a public comment by Howard Petterson on YT 3 weeks ago:

    I have a story about herd immunity. Before I was born my father was a rancher in tanganyka/Tanzania and they were getting constant sporadic infection in the cattle herd of BRUCELLOSIS a disease which isn’t always fatal but stops the sale of the milk. The cattle in those days… Early 1950s were mingling with the wild cape buffalo from where they were getting infected.
    So what my father did was get a swab and infect the entire herd with brucellosis and then they all got it and all recovered simultaneously.
    After that the virus receded completely.
    My dad was way ahead of the times.. He’s Swedish stock by the way

  8. In modern times, it doesn’t matter what is true or not.

    What matters is what people THINK is true. Or can be made to think is true….

    • Do we really think puppet governments are behind this? Who really is in power? Who are the wizards behind the curtain? Who centrally controls the economy? Who can print all it needs to corrupt the system. Who needs a constant crisis?

  9. I know quite a few experienced medics who work on the front line, in March they were scared by what they saw.

    The number of cases in UK in March is unknown, as testing was for patients admitted to hospitals only. So any speculative estimation of case fatality rate has very wide error bands.

    Excess deaths over normal, sort of correlates with the estimated Covid 19 deaths, but as to case fatality rates, who knows. Nobody does.

    But the medics were scared in a way they had never been before, and the way things are going, they reckon they will be again.

    • Project Fear never ends.

      Now maybe agitate against the safety of the various vaccines so that people will be afraid to take them. That should render them ineffective and prolong the hysteria.

  10. The CDC is on record saying that only 6% of all fatalities were from cov2 alone. 94% had 2.6 more underlying causes. This is no worse than the seasonal flu.

    • So you imagine that those who die of seasonal flu have no comorbidities? Not very logical.

      Why does it always have to be black or white, 100% or 0%, yes or no? Never a gray area or a doubt?

      Covid-19 is worse than a bad flu season and yet not an apocalypse justifying destruction of the economy. That’s a fair summary of Trump’s position on this. Why do you need to dispute that to make it out like it’s nothing?

      That’s no more reasonable than what we hear from the prospective “Harris Administration featuring Joe Biden”.

        • Covid-19 k!lls people who are too weak to resist it. It k!lls by exacerbating pre-existing conditions. Most of those people would have been able to enjoy a reasonably good life for years if they had not contracted covid. It is not much different from influenza in this, although some flus actually impact hardest on those with the most robust immune systems. In the typical year, it’s the infirm elderly who die.

          More have died from complications arising from contracting covid than die from complications arising from contracting flu in a typical year. It’s no more logical to ignore covid deaths in those who have a co-morbidity than to ignore flu deaths in the elderly and only consider flu deaths that k!ll young people.

  11. Author statement: “The facts show that neither side has an airtight case”. After reading that I stopped.
    Swiss Policy Research swprs.org the only truly scientific assessment that is not censored and not biased suggests that an overall lethality in the general population ranges between 0.1%- 0.5%. Risk comparable to a daily car ride to work.
    As pointed out by Willis and others the lockdown , face masks and social distancing are a dismal failure and are responsible for at least 30% more deaths.
    Read the 30 findings in the above link that are far more trustworthy that any conclusions developed elsewhere.

    • “…overall lethality in the general population ranges between 0.1%- 0.5%. Risk comparable to a daily car ride to work.”

      Bwahahahaha… Oh my God, it’s so stupid it hurts!

      Now tell me again how global warming is a myth!

      Bwahahahaha….

      • Pretty sure nobody says “Global Warming” is a myth. This site is about showing that man-made “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is a myth. Earth is a massive eco-system that is constantly in flux. It’s not really shocking that the planet may be warming (or cooling) at any given time. The shock is that so many people believe that man is changing this with his meager efforts.

        And yes, it can be shown that the lethality rate of C-19 is around .5%. The confirmed cases are always significantly lower than the actual cases because it doesn’t include the people that catch the virus but never actually develop symptoms and thus don’t go to the doctor for a test. You can’t measure that number. As an example… 2019-2020 Influenza season in the US infected 22 million… and killed 7.1% of those. Yet Influenza has a “kill” rate of .15%.

        • “…overall lethality in the general population ranges between 0.1%- 0.5%. Risk comparable to a daily car ride to work.”

          Idiot.

  12. Iatrogenic deaths from mechanical ventilators are the big scandal with this illness. Remove that factor and the total death count due simply to pathogenic virulence would go way down. At best, conventional ventilation exacerbates the pathologies attributed to the covid virus, and at worst it causes them.

    To varying degrees, those in the medical profession know and acknowledge that intubating patients can harm them, but with this particular illness ventilator induced (and associated) lung injury (VILI/VALI) is the elephant in the room that no one ever talks about. It is like the live-in convicted pedophile uncle that the dysfunctional family cannot openly acknowledge, even to themselves, is molesting their daughter. They blame it on the baby sitter, or next door neighbor, instead.

    But some know what’s going on, and some are speaking openly about it, but not with the directness, force and clarity that are needed to understand what is really going on. Things will quietly change (as they already have to some extent) and, consequently, covid mortality will decrease, as covid is enshrined with superpowers in the pantheon of virus mythology.

    • After reading about ventilators it sounds like they need to be done away with and replaced with something far more complex.

      • Maybe just changing ventilator settings is all that’s needed. In the link below notice the remarkable difference in chest x-rays taken just 3 hours apart after the ventilator mode was switched from conventional ventilation (AC/VC) that uses PEEP to APRV that doesn’t use PEEP. It is thought that conventional ventilation with PEEP causes lung inflammation in most covid patients, and the photos seem to indicate that is true.

        https://twitter.com/EPKnott/status/1298406139688779778

        • Wow that makes sense. Instead of inflating the lungs like a balloon regardless of whether the patient is inhaling or exhaling and causing the diaphragm to force air out against an unnatural air pressure, simply assist the patient with breathing.

          • icisil,

            Your comments reminded me of news articles from early on regarding Elon Musk’s donation of “NOT” ventilators to California hospitals.

            I do not agree with his GREEN crap through which he has mined the government for billions of dollars, however it appears that he intuitively knew the correct device to use for the symptoms of China 19. I guess that could be an intuitive jump due to genius, but not being a genius, I don’t know for sure. Please see the following CNN link. I know, generally garbage, however the FIRST to pop up on Google.

            https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/17/tech/elon-musk-ventilators-california/index.html

          • “CPAP machines typically start around $500, while biPAP machines can be had for about $1,200. Ventilators, however, range in price from $20,000-$50,000.”

            I’m confident that this is one reason why mortality is considerably less in less developed countries. They simply don’t have the money to purchase large quantities of expensive medical technologies. So they make do with what they have (e.g., CPAP, BiPAP), and in this case that worked out better for them.

    • The use of ventilators was spurred on by fear of contagion, because once you have someone on a ventilator, all exhaled air is vented out. With O2 supplementation, the person breaths into the room. My daughter spent the last month of a twin pregnancy in isolation in hospital. They would not allow her to use her C-PAP because it might spread her exhaled breath further.

      My other daughter is a nurse. She never saw a C-19 patient, but she was well indoctrinated in how ‘terrible’ and ‘novel’ the disease is. It is impossible to talk to her about how many of the Quebec deaths cut life short by days or weeks – average age of C-19 deaths 83.

      • Yep, fear of virus aerosolization was the driving factor at the administrative and clinical levels, and fear of patients crashing was a driving factor at the clinical level. In both cases it was fear driven, not science driven. Hospitals have since done studies that show there is little to no aerosolization with non-invasive ventilation, and some doctors do know how to treat hypoxemic patients without intubating them. For example:

        When he was diagnosed with COVID-19, Andre Bergmann knew exactly where he wanted to be treated: the Bethanien hospital lung clinic in Moers, near his home in northwestern Germany. The clinic is known for its reluctance to put patients with breathing difficulties on mechanical ventilators – the kind that involve tubes down the throat.

        The 48-year-old physician, father of two and aspiring triathlete worried that an invasive ventilator would be harmful. But soon after entering the clinic, Bergmann said, he struggled to breathe even with an oxygen mask, and felt so sick the ventilator seemed inevitable.

        Even so, his doctors never put him on a machine that would breathe for him. A week later, he was well enough to go home.

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-ventilators-specia-idUSKCN2251PE

      • I just read this in the CNN article directly above.

        On its website, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, said in a statement that health care workers should be cautious when using bilevel or CPAP machines for coronavirus patient treatment because the devices could increase transmission of the virus.
        “In patients with acute respiratory failure, it may be prudent to proceed directly to endotracheal intubation, because non-invasive ventilation (e.g. CPAP or biPAP) may increase the risk of infectious transmission,” it says.

  13. Robert Edgar Hope-Simpson, (1908 to 2005) The general practitioner. who showed that shingles was caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus.

    The Author of “The Transmission of Epidemic Influenza”

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Transmission-Epidemic-Influenza-Clinical-Psychology/dp/0306440733

    “THE PLAGUE YEARS Mankind has always been fascinated by “origins,” and biologists are no exception. Darwin is our most famous example. What is the origin of mankind, of species, of infectious diseases? In the last few years we have seen the emergence and spread of some apparently “new” viruses, such as HIV -1 and the virus causing bovine spongiform encephalomyelopathy. But are these, in fact, entirely new agents, or mutated forms of “old” viruses that have evolved along with us for eons? Edgar Hope-Simpson could not have written this book at a more opportune moment. He is a firm believer in gradual evolution, rather than the sudden arrival of new agents. I suspect that he would also have a naturalist’s Darwinian approach for the origin of AIDS. It has been a source of some amazement to me over the years how even the most innovative scientists conform to a current hypothesis. Pioneer thinking comes more easily to persons outside the scientific mainstream. Edgar Hope­ Simpson has always struck me as a modem-day naturalist of the classic style, observant and perhaps a little maverick in line of thought. Certainly, the central hypothesis propounded in this book will be controversial to many scientists. From his unique citadel, the Epidemiological Research Unit in Cirencester, he has carefully reexamined mortality data from old records as well as new.”………..

    It would appear that scientific research spanning almost 100 years has been discarded.

  14. My son says he agrees that say 5% of what alarmists say is right.
    They argue that he is totally wrong in all his claims and will not consider them.
    This means that they must be wrong about the 5% that he agrees with.
    This also means that they are at least wrong about 5% of what they say.
    Could it be they are wrong about far more – by their own logic – seeing they have proved they are not right about everything?

    Evidently, logical reasoning is not their strong suit.

  15. But, but, but everybody finds and highlights their favorite confounding factors. Any exposition beyond a few lines is also beyond the attention span of victims. The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense.

  16. See @EthicalSkeptic for wimilarly disentangling causes of death with graphs.
    “From these key index charts & the Big 14 NCHS data, we can estimate the true delineation of how Covid is broken up into ‘Died of’ and ‘significant comorbidity/pull-forward’ deaths. Same as last week and matching the CDC numbers 30% Died of and 70% ‘would have died by Apr 3 2020′”
    e.g. See https://twitter.com/EthicalSkeptic/status/1306772028729569280
    Photo
    https://twitter.com/EthicalSkeptic/status/1306772028729569280/photo/1

  17. “Short of scrutinizing every alleged C-19 death or a truly representative sample of them, there is no way to tell how many cases like those above are part of the official tally. However, certain evidence suggests they are not a large portion of the total:”

    Just look at the Weekly deaths by Covid19 as reported by the CDC … the average for the last months was less than 300 per week … on first report … then watch how the CDC ups the pior weeks total and keeps doing that for up to 2 months …

    and example the week ending Aug 29th as reported on:
    on Aug 29 – 141 deaths
    on Sept 5th – 1941 deaths
    on Sept 12th – 3561 deaths

    they are harvesting death certificates that were initially filed with no covid19 coding … and doing so right under our noses …

  18. Why no reference to the recent CDC study that had the widely-quoted stats something like ” 60% of the studied cases Wuflu was incidental to the death, 34% Wuflu contributed to the death, and 6% Wuflu alone caused the death.” This study was front page on CDC’s web for a few days, then it disappeared. I wonder why. Seems like this study should be the basis for the author’s investigation.

    • That’s not what the CDC study actually showed, and it is still on the CDC website. It states:

      “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.” https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

      This correspondence I recently received from the CDC sheds more light on this issue:

      “A physician, medical examiner, or coroner lists the cause or causes of death on the death certificate. Death certificates list any causes or conditions that contributed to a person’s death. However, each death certificate must identify only one underlying cause of death. This cause of death is the condition that began the chain of events that ultimately led to the person’s death. In 92% of all deaths that mention COVID-19, COVID-19 is the underlying cause of death.”

      “In 94% (more than 9 out of 10) of death certificates with COVID-19 listed as a cause of death, other conditions are also listed. These causes may include conditions that occurred as a result of COVID-19, such as pneumonia or respiratory failure, or chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.”

  19. In the begin of the article is stated that there are 170.000 death due to accidents. In the bottom graph is says 13.5 million, resulting in 400 million lost life years. With that many accidents, plus 4 million suicides, the US is out of people within 22 years!

  20. Forgive my ignorance, but why is this so difficult to determine? Shouldn’t there have been a standard for counting deaths? A standard that would be used for all infectious disease and has been in use for decades? How else could we compare COVID-19 against something like seasonal influenza? If there is no standard wouldn’t this be an indicator of poor methods and poor management at the CDC? What am I missing?

    • Per the article: “If someone has another illness, like heart disease, and then had a stroke or other event, it’s not as easy to separate that and say Covid didn’t exacerbate that existing illness.”

      • if you test for covid, but die from a stroke, what goes on death cert as cause of death? is this also the case if u test for flu but die from stroke?

    • I do, your talking about my wife. /sarc Now at my age I don’t expect me or my wife to be alive in 20 years, that is life. I cannot prevent my death hiding at home afraid of what might kill me. COVID is a real slightly greater risk than the flu. In my case I have a clotting problem that a far greater risk than either.
      Sitting around is not going to fix that either. Now the unwarranted fear that young people have over COVID is bad. The fear mongers that got them into that state of fear are criminals the are killing them with fear, far more young people will die form our media beating the fear drum the the CCP did with the virus.

      • “COVID is a real slightly greater risk than the flu.”

        Ummm no, actually it’s in the vicinity of about 20 to 30 times more deadly than your typical flu, particularly if you happen to be old or have a pre-existing medical condition (as many Americans over about 50 or so do). If you let it rip through the US it’s going to cause a million or two deaths easy, overwhelm ICUs which will have flow on effects, and god only knows what sort of sequalae in the folks that survive. No one knows what the long term effects of this thing are, whether we develop long term immunity to it, or whether immunity is going to be useful after it mutates into new strains.

        Most young people I suspect are less afraid of dying than of accidentally passing it on to an elderly relative and being responsible for their death or an extremely unpleasant visit to the ICU. In my country it’s called “not being a selfish asshole”.

        • steve45…. covid is 20-30X worse than flu? that would mean @ 1,000,000 – 1,500,000 covid deaths… millions? you’re crazy and completely unimformed – except maybe br Twitter or facev
          book. hospirals are not overwhelmed… and out side the tristate area and maybe other hotspots, they never were. you are wrong and your ilk was wrong about the deadliness of this virus. worse than flu yes, but 20X worse not even close.
          how long must we put up with you and entertain your delusional thinking? the data is out there. read it. for those who have eyes to see, see.

          • What a silly little man you are.

            Seasonal influenza has a mortality rate typically below 0.1%.

            COVID has a crude mortality ratio of about 3 to 4%. The infection mortality rate is more difficult to estimate but most estimates put it somewhere between one and two percent.

            Funny how those with the least knowledge and no formal training often have the strongest opinions about things they know nothing about.

          • (last comment was in reply to the silly little troll, not to goracle. since the comments are too far nested, wordpress doesn’t allow directly replying under the silly little trolls comment)

          • It’s already killed circa 200,000 of your countrymen and counting- and that’s only with 7 million of the population infected. Even if the true number of cases is twice as high, you’d make the million easy with Trump’s misguided “herd mentality” strategy. PS. It’s not a strategy- he just doesn’t give a crap.

            That’s quite a startling combination of sheer incompetence and psychopathology.

            It almost beggars belief that America has literality reached the stage where the Trump acolytes don’t care if their own countrymen (of any political persuasion for that matter) die so long as “their man” wins an election.

  21. Check out the dust-up in Nashville.
    “Country star John Rich slams Nashville mayor as ‘de Blasio of the South’ over COVID controversy”
    During an appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” Thursday evening, Rich — who owns restaurants in Nashville — addressed reports earlier in the day that leaked emails appear to indicate Cooper’s administration purposely hid low coronavirus numbers steeming from bars and restaurants while ordering them to largely shut down during the pandemic, costing thousands of jobs and untold tens of millions in revenue.

  22. Never believe CDC or any other bureaucrats.

    Prior influenza deaths were computer model wild guesses. Flu was not a cause of death per CDC’s old 100+ causes of death list. In fact , flu is not a cause of death, only major organ failures are a cause of death. Whether a flu infection was mentioned on the death certificate may not be consistent. There were never lists of names and addresses of the people alleged to have died of the flu in past years. You suggest the CDC methodology has changed this year, which is even worse for comparisons with prior flu death wild guesses.

    And now I will tell you why wild guesses of flu deaths, which may have political bias, are not very important:

    Based on preliminary, perhaps overstated, data, it appears that only 1 of 1000 Covid infections leads to death. Why oh why does everyone focus on 1 of 1000 infections and IGNORE roughly 600 of 1000 infections with typical flu symptoms or worse than typical flu systems. Covid sends more infected people to the hospital than typical seasonal influenza, and especially more ICU visits . There’s a lot of pain and suffering that needs to be noticed. Covid is NOT a you lived or you died kind of disease, because 999 of 1000 will live.

    Of the five people I know who were Covid infected, two were extremeley sick for two weeks and three weeks. The 60 something was sicker than at any other time of her life and considered suicide at one low point. She, a retired doctor, received 24 hour a day care from her son at home — he was a doctor reluctant to take his mother to his hospital in March where ventilators seemed to be the wrong answer. He got Covid too. Both survived.

    Two other friends, one young and one old, only lost their sense of smell. Nothibg else.

    Another friend about 70 was very sick and tested positive. I reminded her the tests were not reliable. She then tested negative two times in a row, proving my point. She’s still very sick with flu-like symptoms but not Covid flu. I wonder how many people with other strains of influenza are called COVID? The people I mentioned all tested positive for Covid.

    I’ve read the 1918 flu counts were just everyone who died with pneumonia, rounded up to the nearest million. I lost my grandmother to that flu, in her early 20s, when my mother was only 2 years old. We should be very thankful Covid spares children, in the dawn of their lives. But that would be good news, so we can’t mention that before the election.

    • Thanks for the blathering word salad. And great that you have really strong opinions about things you know absolutely nothing about. Now tell us something about climate science. Moron.

  23. The “official Flu Death ” numbers basically collapsed any reason to have faith in government covid fatality numbers..
    For when the Covid Death numbers failed to reach the annual Flu Death rates,what were we told?
    That we can’t use the Flu Numbers as the government just makes them up.

    So lacking confidence in the bureaus,what numbers can we use?
    Being from a large family,I can state that none of mine have died from covid,that I have heard of?
    If the numbers are fabricated,this would be a real tell.
    The New Terrible Plague,is deadly..just not to anyone I know.

    Very much like how “Climate Change” is warming Canada at twice the rate of anywhere else,but only in regions where no humans go.

    Cynicism is earned,the performance of Bureaucratic Public Health agencies during this “crisis”,has been truly amazing.
    If you are amazed by industrial strength stupid,blatant self contradiction and professional grade incompetence, that is.

    • Hello, Mr. Robinson. My understanding is that the claim that Canada was warming at a rate of twice the global average was technically true. And so what? All land masses warm at twice the rate of the global average, because the global average includes the oceans.

      I take your point that most of the stories we hear in Canada that global warming is having disastrous results cite conditions in places so remote that very few people ever go there. You could tell me a lot of phony stuff about the North Pole, and I’m not going to know anybody who has been there to set me straight.

  24. If Democrat governors had not deliberately infected the elder care facilities because they didn’t want to “waste” their billions of federal COVID funds on paying what Medicare would not cover, the death rate would be far lower than it is. This is the BIG scandal of the epidemic. That governors and their “public health experts” deliberately infected the elder care facilities and the CDC & NIH were completely silent and complicit. Like the line in Fargo, “all this for a little bit of money.”

  25. What a great article, Mr. Agresti! By coincidence I have spent part of my morning trying to get a reasonable measure of what is going on in my University town and state. Our state department of health, to their credit, plots an honest-to-god epidemic curve, with cases assigned as far as is possible to the day of symptom onset. It is not possible to reconcile their figures with those at USAFacts.org which has some relationship to the CDC as a source of data or perhaps just graphics. To their credit, USAFacts.org does spell-out how difficult it is to get consistent data across jurisdictions, and I think they are doing their best. Right now WDH has state-wide1,200 new cases over the past two months while USAFacts.org has 1,500. WHD tries to get to the bottom of cases without symptoms, but it appears they are getting further behind in this category with time.

    The history of the 1918 pandemic is pretty much a guess, as you can tell from the retrospective that A.S. Fauci and Morens wrote some time back. No one, to my knowledge has written anything definitive about the 1957 or 1968 pandemics. I would hope that someone, perhaps Just Facts, can eventually write an objective history of what has occurred here.

    • No one though the 1957 or 1968 pandemics were bad, after all they had just come out of World War II that had killed 70,000,000. The survivors of the Spanish flu were still around and most people had lived pre vaccine and antibiotics. Their perspective on what matter was far more grounded that the snowflakes of today.

  26. Going by the Criteria here in California for lifting the lockdown fully, it will never be lifted…ever. In fact, it may not be possible to achieve the least restrictive level of lockdown (yellow) that allows locked down businesses to open to 50% capacity. The reason it may not be possible to even reach the yellow stage of lockdown is because the positive rate for tests must be at, or below, 1 positive per 100,000 population. In a county like San Diego, that would be, roughly, 33 positive tests as a daily average of a 2 week period, if the local news reports are correct. That number is, effectively, impossible to reach. The false positive rate on daily testing will be higher than 1 positive in 100,000 population.

    Max P

  27. Hands up those who believe only 3000 Chinamen died of the chinese vrirus. The Guardian for one and secondly Cambridge University swiftly follwed by the WHO

    • Hands up who believes the real estate agent over the epidemiologists, doctors, scientists and so called experts? Twelve more years! Twelve more years!

  28. Can we all admit that at this point it is all “armchair quarterbacking”.
    Ventilators may have been a “cure” worse than the disease.
    It has been an exponential learning curve.
    The fact that you can’t trust any of the numbers being touted, reeks of….
    Rant/

  29. For six months we have been promised a Second Coming (er, Wave) of the Evil Virus. Well here in Otawa now, there are more cases being reported and everyone is bowing down to the far-seeing priests of epidemological modelling. Meanwhile deaths remain low to zero.

    But, the truth got out here in Ottawa this week on the radio. Yes, there has been a 30% increase in cases, but there has been a 60% increase in testing. I do not call that a second wave, except as a magician’s distraction of the audience.

    And what is the recommendation of the all-wise government experts and mayor – more of the dsame failed policy of restrictions on the people. Power, it goes to their heads.

  30. Others can argue the with the CDC and other sources.
    The Biggest problem in the handling of this epidemic was the attempted isolation of the healthy, as opposed to the sick. The result was perfectly expectable. Healthy people don’t do well when forced to stay inside, avoid outside contacts, and worry, worry, worry, about getting sick. Meanwhile they many lose their jobs and wages.

    In every previous epidemic in the US that I’m aware of the sick people were isolated either at home or in healthcare facilities(not elderly nursing homes). The people with polio, primarily grade school children, in epidemis from around 1918 to the late 1960’s stayed home. It was a dreadful disease at the time, but the infection rate was similar to the current Covid rate-supposedly ~3%. So were the death rates.

    I can just imagine the future books from doctors and public health officials castigating the huge mishandling of this epidemic. It the government weren’t generally immune to law suits we’d all be broke.

    • Philo
      Isolate sick people?
      That’s anti science.
      Who would ever do that?
      That’s unheard of.
      We must isolate healthy people and let the sick people go free.What could be worse than to be sick AND isolated? Let the sick people go outside and have fun. The are already sick so could not get each other sick. Perhaps I will get another Nobel Prize for this? I already got one for my nuclear powered fans and nuclear powered spotlights that convert wind and solar farms to reliable 24 hours a day producers of electricity!

  31. “the number of Covid-19 deaths”

    Deaths from COVID (the disease caused by a virus) or the deaths from the crisis caused by the politics under the guise of the COVID crisis, aka COVID crisis crisis, aka COVID crisis²?

    Note the death toll of the Fukushima Daiichi crisis is trivial.
    But not one of the Fukushima Daiichi crisis².

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