Excess Deaths Due To COVID-19 In United States Far More Than Thought According to Two New Studies, Real Toll Could Be In Excess Of 440,000 Deaths!
COVID-19 Excess Deaths
in the United States from March to July 2020 compared to historic norms could be in excess of more than 225,000 deaths with approximately two thirds directly attributable to COVID-19 while additional deaths were indirectly related because individuals avoided emergency care during the pandemic according to a new study by researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine-Richmond and Yale School of Public Health-Connecticut.
The study findings were published in the journal: JAMA https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2771761
When combined with existing reported American COVID-19 deaths as reflected on the John Hopkins dashboard which is now more than 215,000, the total number of Americans who have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is a shocking 440,000 or more in the last 8 months!
According to the researchers deaths linked to COVID-19 varied by state and phase of the pandemic.
The 10 states with the highest per capita rate of excess deaths were New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Arizona, Mississippi, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Michigan. The states with the highest per capita rate of excess deaths changed from week to week. The increase in absolute deaths in these states relative to expected values ranged from 22% in Rhode Island and Michigan to 65% in New York .Three states with the highest death rates (New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts) accounted for 30% of US excess deaths but had the shortest epidemics (ED90 < 10 weeks). States that experienced acute surges in April (and reopened later) had shorter epidemics that returned to baseline in May, whereas states that reopened earlier experienced more protracted increases in excess deaths that extended into the summer
Significantly another study published simultaneously in the JAMA
journal took a more international perspective. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2771841
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University found that in America, there were more excess deaths and there was higher all-cause mortality during the pandemic than in 18 other countries.
Despite the ongoing number of deaths attributable to COVID-19 continues to garner attention, there can be a lag of weeks or months in how long it takes some public health agencies to update their figures.
Lead researcher for the first study, Dr Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH, director Emeritus and senior advisor at the Center on Society and Health and professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health from the Center on Society and Health, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine told Thailand Medical News, "For the common American citizens, the take-home message is twofold: that the number of deaths caused by the pandemic exceeds publicly reported COVID-19 death counts by 20%, and that states that reopened or lifted restrictions early suffered a protracted surge in excess deaths that extended into the summer."
However he said that the take-away for doctors and healthcare professionals in the bigger picture ie it is likely that the COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for deaths from other conditions as well.
Dr Woollf added, "Surges in COVID-19 were accompanied by an increase in deaths attributed to other causes, such as heart disease and Alzheimer's disease and dementia.”
The study team from Virginia and Yale identified 225,530 excess US deaths in the 5 months from March to July. The team said that 67% were directly attributable to COVID-19.
Reported deaths linked to COVID-19 included those in which the disease was listed as an underlying or contributing cause. US total death rates are "remarkably consistent" year after year, and the researchers calculated a 20% overall jump in mortality
The research included data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the US Census Bureau for 48 states and the District of Columbia. Connecticut and North Carolina were excluded because of missing data.
The study from Virginia and Yale also found statistically higher rates of deaths from two other causes, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease/dementia.
Significantly New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Arizona, Mississippi, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Michigan had the highest per capita excess death rates.
The three states that experienced the shortest epidemics during the study period were New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
Certain key lessons could be learned by looking at how individual states managed large numbers of people with COVID-19.
Dr Woolf commented, "Although we suspected that states that reopened early might have put themselves at risk of a pandemic surge, the consistency with which that occurred and the devastating numbers of deaths they suffered was a surprise."
Dr Woolf further added, "The aim of this research was not to look in the rearview mirror and lament what happened months ago but to learn the lesson going forward, Amercia will be unable to take control of this pandemic without more robust efforts to control community spread. This study found that states that did this well, such as New York and New Jersey, experienced large surges but bent the curve and were back to baseline in less than 10 weeks. If we could do this as a country, countless lives could be saved."
Meanwhile the study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University showed that embarrassingly the United States experienced a high mortality linked to COVID-19, as well as high all-cause mortality, compared to 18 other countries.
America ranked third, with 72 deaths per 100,000 people, among countries with moderate or high mortality.
Though perhaps not surprising given the state of SARS-CoV-2 infection across the United States, a question remains as to what extent the relatively high mortality rate is linked to early outbreaks versus "poor long-term response," the study team notes.
Dr Alyssa Bilinski and lead author Dr Ezekiel J. Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, calculated the difference in COVID-19 deaths among countries through Sepember 19, 2020.
Based on a cut-off date in the study, the United States reported a total 198,589 COVID-19 deaths.
The study team calculated that if the US death rates were similar to those in Australia, the United States would have experienced 187,661 fewer COVID-19 deaths. If similar to those of Canada, there would have been 117,622 fewer deaths in the United States.
It was observed that the US death rate was lower than six other countries with high COVID-19 mortality in the early spring, including Belgium, Spain, and the United Kingdom. However, after May 10, the per capita mortality rate in the United States exceeded the others.
It was seen that between May 10 and September 19, the death rate in Italy was 9.1 per 100,000, vs 36.9 per 100,000.
Dr Emanuel added, "After the first peak in early spring, US death rates from COVID-19 and from all causes remained higher than even than countries with high COVID-19 mortality. This may have been a result of several factors, including weak public health infrastructure and a decentralized, inconsistent US response to the pandemic."
Dr Woolf and colleagues estimate that more than 225,000 excess deaths occurred in recent months; this represents a 20% increase over expected deaths, noted Dr Harvey V. Fineberg, MD, PhD, of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, in an accompanying editorial in JAMA. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2771759
Dr Fineberg added, "Importantly, a condition such as COVID-19 can contribute both directly and indirectly to excess mortality.”
Despite the direct contribution to the mortality rates by those infected is straightforward, "the indirect contribution may relate to circumstances or choices due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, a patient who develops symptoms of a stroke is too concerned about COVID-19 to go to the emergency department, and a potentially reversible condition becomes fatal."
Dr Fineberg stresses that "a general indication of the death toll from COVID-19 and the excess deaths related to the pandemic, as presented by Woolf et al, are sufficiently mortifying and motivating."
Dr Howard Bauchner, MD, editor-in-chief of JAMA
, and Dr Phil B. Fontanarosa, MD, MBA, executive editor of JAMA,
in another accompanying editorial commented, "The importance of the estimate by Woolf et al which suggests that for the entirety of 2020, more than 400,000 excess deaths will occur cannot be overstated, because it accounts for what could be declines in some causes of death, like motor vehicle crashes, but increases in others, like myocardial infarction. These deaths reflect a true measure of the human cost of the Great Pandemic of 2020.” https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2771758
On the study by researchers from University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, in another accompanying editorial, both Dr Bauchner and Dr Fontanarosa said, “The study was notable for calculating the excess COVID-19 and all-cause mortality to September 2020. After the initial peak in early spring, US death rates from COVID-19 and from all causes remained higher than rates in countries with high COVID-19 mortality. Few individuals will forget the Great Pandemic of 2020, where and how they lived, how it substantially changed their lives, and for many, the profound human toll it has taken.” https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2771758
The research by Dr Woolf and colleagues was supported by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The study by Dr Bilinski and Dr Emanuel was partially funded by the Colton Foundation. Dr Woolf, Dr Emanuel, Dr Fineberg, Dr Bauchner, and Dr Fontanarosa have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Dr Bilinski and Dr Emanuel concluded, “Compared with other countries, the United States experienced among the highest COVID-19–associated mortality and excess all-cause mortality into September 2020. After the first peak in early spring, US death rates from COVID-19 and from all causes remained higher than even countries with high COVID-19 mortality. This may have been a result of several factors, including weak public health infrastructure and a decentralized, inconsistent US response to the pandemic. Limitations of this analysis include differences in mortality risk: the US population is younger but has more comorbidities compared with the other countries. In addition, since late August death rates have increased in several countries, and how mortality will compare with the US throughout fall remains unknown.”
Both studies shockingly reveal that in actual reality, the incompetent Trump administration and “Lying Loony DumbTrump” is responsible for almost half a million or over 440,000 Americans dying as a result of the COVID-19 crisis in America so far and not just the reported 215,000 over American COVID-19 deaths as displayed on the John Hopkins Dashboard
For more on COVID-19 Excess Deaths
, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.