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Death tolls could be 60% higher than official numbers

Posted By Jo Nova On April 30, 2020 @ 1:44 am In Health,Microbiology,Mortality | Comments Disabled

Mortality rates show that this is a medical situation we have not seen since WWII

All statistics are suspect but some numbers still tell us something important. In the early fog of a global pandemic, a proper diagnoses is difficult if not impossible. People are dying of heart attacks because they are too scared to go to hospital, but equally, Covid is causing heart attacks and strokes that might never have happened. It’s fair to ask how many deaths are due to Coronavirus and how many are due to the lockdown, but it’s not realistic to expect that we can do an autopsy on every single patient. And as the Financial Times team points out, the excess deaths also occur in the regions of the UK with the highest infection rates — which suggests they are due to the virus, not just collateral damage. Though people will also be less willing to visit a hospital in a zone where there are more cases. On the other hand, in areas with lockdowns but no major outbreaks, the mortality rates are 10% below normal (see many US states). So these peaks could have been even higher but the lockdown saved some people from catching the normal flu or dying in a car accident.

We saw the spike in excess deaths in New York already. These graphs compiled by the Financial Times of the UK, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Belgium, show that this is not remotely a normal flu season, and can not be ascribed to “relabeling” deaths that are not due to Coronavirus. The bodies in icerinks, and freezer trucks are real.

Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported

Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across 14 countries analysed by the FT

Posted free to read at the Financial Times, and see also John-Burn Murdoch on Twitter. @jburn-murdoch.

In 13 countries and cities people are dying at rates far higher than normal and hundreds of thousands of people (at least) have died that we can assume would not have died if the CCP virus, or whatever we want to call it, had not spread around the world.

Mortality stats, Coronavirus, graphs.

Deaths are far higher than the normal yearly peaks in midwinter.   See the full set of graphs here.

The official tallies of deaths probably underestimate the deaths — even if we accept that some normal heart attacks and strokes have been mislabelled as “coronavirus deaths”, both autopsies and medical papers show that Coronavirus is also causing heart attacks and strokes that would not have happened.

 

Twitter, Death rates, coronavirus

So many spikes, thousands of deaths above even the worst winters in most of Europe.

This is not true of all nations. In Denmark there are only 100 or so unexplained deaths. It’s not above the normal range. In Portugul and Austria deaths are only up 10% or 12%. In Sweden it’s 18% (so far, but the curve is not slowing). In the UK, it’s up 37% , Spain, 50% and in Italy an awful 90%. We’ve already discussed New York where deaths are up 100%. But of course, in some areas, deaths are down, below average, the lockdown means less flu, less car accidents and over all lower mortality where the lockdown was started early enough, or where some other variable saved the day (climate, geography, demographics, population density).

The solution to both medical and economic fears is to get rid of the virus if we can, and it looks like we can.

John Burn-MurdochValentina Romei and Chris Giles in London 

Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across these locations, considerably higher than the 77,000 official Covid-19 deaths reported for the same places and time periods. If the same level of under-reporting observed in these countries was happening worldwide, the global Covid-19 death toll would rise from the current official total of 201,000 to as high as 318,000. To calculate excess deaths, the FT has compared deaths from all causes in the weeks of a location’s outbreak in March and April 2020 to the average for the same period between 2015 and 2019. The total of 122,000 amounts to a 50 per cent rise in overall mortality relative to the historical average for the locations studied.

Some of these deaths may be the result of causes other than Covid-19, as people avoid hospitals for other ailments. But excess mortality has risen most steeply in places suffering the worst Covid-19 outbreaks, suggesting most of these deaths are directly related to the virus rather than simply side-effects of lockdowns.

The most useful comparison we can make between different countries is all cause mortality.

In places like Ecuador, the official numbers hopelessly underestimate the true medical onslaught:

In Ecuador’s Guayas province, just 245 official Covid-related deaths were reported between March 1 and April 15, but data on total deaths show that about 10,200 more people died during this period than in a typical year — an increase of 350 per cent.

 Something awful is going on in Ecuador:

Ecuador, Lond, Death rates, coronavirus

We don’t solve the economic crisis without first solving the medical one

We all want the lockdown lifted as soon as possible. For those of us in a democracy, where the voters en masse, want action to stop this virus, the choices are to get rid of the virus (see New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and other nations crushing the curve) or to convince fellow voters to accept death rates that are far higher than usual, and that a significant proportion of the population will have to be “protected” which is a soft form of imprisonment.

Unless a treatment appears soon, the countries that try option two (which is not as good for business or for lives), will end up doing option one — Especially once voters see other nations beating the virus.  The long run costs of living with the virus, losing hospitals periodically, suffering repeat lockdowns, and “managing the death rate” will be far more painful than the cost maintaining borders and two week quarantines with countries that fail to control this virus..

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