On July 4th 254 people died of the coronavirus nationwide. That number went even lower on Sunday because today, on July 5th just 209 people died nationwide of the coronavirus. These 254 deaths on Saturday and 209 deaths on Sunday represent a remarkable death rate decline of 92.4% from the peak daily death total of 2,749 set on April 21st. Saturday and Sunday were also the two lowest days for number of deaths in the country from the coronavirus since March 23rd. (Yes, it’s a holiday weekend, but the overall trend lines have been straightforward for months, deaths decline on Saturday, Sunday and Monday every weekend, so there’s nothing that abnormal about these numbers. Deaths generally peak every Tuesday so if you enjoy reading fear porn, there will likely be a series of fear porn laden articles come Tuesday and Wednesday when deaths climb back up after a weekend decline).
As if that were not enough, yesterday also marked the tenth straight week of declining deaths from the coronavirus in this country, we have gone from 14,813 deaths in the week of April 20-26, an average of 2116 a day to 3611, an average of just 516 a day from June 28th to July 4th. That’s a decline of 76% in the death rate over the past ten weeks.
While I’d prefer no one ever died at all — no one hates death more than me, I wish we were all immortal — at 516 deaths a day we’re talking about roughly 7000 people dying every day in this country of something other than the coronavirus. That is, over the past week coronavirus deaths represented roughly 6% of all deaths in this country. Meaning 94% of all people in this country are dying of something other than the coronavirus. (It’s also important to note that there’s a difference between dying WITH the coronavirus and dying OF the coronavirus. Virtually every person is dying with the coronavirus in this country. Meaning those that are dying today have comorbidities, generally multiple comorbidities. So if you’re dying with, say, stage four lung cancer and you also have the coronavirus, you are counted as a coronavirus death.)
Put simply, 7500 people die in the United States every day, 2.8 million every year. Even assuming the coronavirus death tallies in this country are accurate, which they clearly are not, right now the coronavirus would represent around 4.6% of all deaths in this country in a year. Again, no one hates death more than me, but can you really justify shutting down the entire country for something that increases the national mortality rate by under 5% in a year? (And this is assuming the national mortality rate in the country is even increasing at all, which might not be the case as I’ll discuss below.)
Remember we won’t truly know how many people actually died of the coronavirus until all the CDC data for the year 2020 is compiled and we can compare the overall national death rate for 2020 with 2019, 2018 and 2017, for instance. That data probably won’t arrive until several months into 2021, but in the mean time it’s worth noting weekly CDC death tallies are now below average in this country. That means less people nationwide are now dying in a week than would have been predicted based on past year’s mortality tables.
Furthermore, and I can’t believe this isn’t getting more attention, the average age of those dying of the coronavirus is older than the average age of those dying from all causes of death in this country, at least if Florida, which has some of the best public data out there, is a reliable indicator of our national trends.
Amazing graph. Look at data here. https://t.co/JGITkl0OZf
Which is why there’s even an argument to be made that our death rate won’t be much different at all in 2020 than in past years. What would that argument look like? You could argue the coronavirus accelerated the death of the very ill by a month or two. If that’s true then we’ll likely see less deaths in the remainder of the year, since the very ill, who might have died in the summer, died in the late spring instead. If that thesis were true then death rates for the remainder of the year would be lower, producing final year death tallies are virtually indistinguishable from past years.
Again, we won’t know for sure until we get all this data in 2021, but in the meantime, regardless of your politics, if the media was doing an honest job, shouldn’t the lead story on Monday morning be that daily coronavirus deaths have declined by over 90% since the peak and that we’ve now gone ten straight weeks with declining death totals in this country?
Of course it should.
But instead the media will feed you fear porn. The mainstream media will continue to focus on the absolute worst case stories in an effort to terrify all of you. (People who are terrified watch far more news than those who aren’t terrified.) So my prediction? We’ll hear a great deal about the total number of cases of the coronavirus and very little about the death rate.
But the vast majority of those cases are in people in their twenties and thirties. And people in their twenties and thirties are far more likely to die in car accidents driving to work than they are of the coronavirus. Indeed, as you can see from the above graph in Florida, if you are under the age of 50, which over two-thirds of the United States population is, you have almost zero risk of dying from the coronavirus, even if you’re infected.
Now people who are already old and infirm are in danger from the coronavirus — that’s why nursing homes represent over half of all deaths in most states, despite having a tiny percentage of the overall United States population — .6 of the population living in nursing homes. (In Canada a whopping 82% of all coronavirus deaths are from nursing homes.) Indeed if New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo and the other governors in New Jersey, Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania hadn’t all bought into the fear porn models of overloaded hospitals and hadn’t sent infected patients back into nursing homes from hospitals, we’d probably be talking about fewer coronavirus deaths right now than occurred in the 2018 flu season. The disastrous decision to send infected patients back to nursing homes remains the number one story of the coronavirus outbreak despite the media’s refusal to cover that story aggressively.
Even the “surge” in cases which has provoked much media fear porn over the past couple of weeks has, as of yet, produced no increase in overall nationwide deaths. That’s potentially because deaths lag infections by a couple of weeks, but it could also be something else — because the people testing positive are much younger on average and have limited danger from this virus. But it’s indisputably also at least partly this: we’re catching far more infections than we were several months ago. Look at this graphic if you standardize testing at 600,000 tests per day.
Good graphic here. https://t.co/qJNkZCvREQ
Is there an increase in overall cases here? Sure, but in context it looks like a blip on the radar compared to where we were back in March and April. Remember, the CDC, in a conservative forecast, says over 25 million people have been infected already in this country. That’s an average of over 200,000 infections a day since the beginning of March. Dr. Fauci said we might end up with 100,000 infections a day in his testimony before Congress and the media freaked out because it sounded terrifying. But based on the CDC’s own data we’ve been averaging over twice that number every day since the beginning of March.
Heck, you can even argue that this surge is exactly what we should be doing since without a vaccine the only way to end this virus is by herd immunity. What’s the most ideal way to get herd immunity with the lowest loss of life possible? By having young people, who have insanely low rates of hospitalizations and death, becoming infected.
The people becoming infected now are the most healthy in the country, people who want to go out to bars and live their lives. Most of them experience the coronavirus as little more than a cold or flu and will be fine in a few days. The majority of young people, according to some studies, may well be asymptomatic with their infections. As long as we keep these young people from infecting nursing homes, the death rate is unlikely to surge in concert with the infection rate.
Finally, while there’s much obsession in the media with denigrating America over our response to the coronavirus, there’s very little discussion of our per capita death rates compared to the rest of the world. Right now the United States has a lower per capita coronavirus death rate than England, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, and Sweden. And roughly the equivalent death rate of Ireland and the Netherlands. Soon Chile, Peru, Mexico and Brazil may surge past us on a per capita basis and we aren’t that far away from Canada either, which is supposedly the paragon of liberal responsiveness.
Put simply, our national response has been better than many European democracies and on par with much of the rest of the Western world, especially if you consider that our total number of tests is higher than any country in the world other than China. (And do we really believe China on anything at this point? Plus, again, our death rate is wildly higher than it should be based on the disastrous decisions of New York governor Andrew Cuomo — and other governors who followed his lead — to send patients back into nursing homes.)
Now I’m not predicting what the national death rate will be next week or next month or the month after — if there’s anything we’ve learned it’s that predicting anything in 2020 is nearly impossible — but what we do know is the death rate has plummeted since late April in this country, declining by 92.4% on a daily basis and declining by 76% for ten straight weeks since late April. And what we also know is that the national death rate from the coronavirus has declined to such an extent that it’s now a tiny percentage of the overall deaths occurring in this country.
It’s possible we’ve hit a death floor — after all the virus isn’t going away — and we can’t drive down the death rate any lower than to 250ish deaths a day or to roughly 3,000 a week, both of which we’ve presently reached. But even if that’s the case and we’re going to stay at this death rate — or even bounce back up a bit higher — we’ve effectively ended the national danger of the coronavirus in this country for the vast majority of Americans over the past ten weeks.
Shouldn’t that be a pretty big story, one that is being covered everywhere by the mainstream media?
The national death rate from the coronavirus collapsing seems like a pretty massive story that the general public, which is overwhelmed with anxiety and fear, deserves to know. It especially seems like an important story given the national debate over whether kids should return to schools and colleges and when workers should return to work. How can we make intelligent public policy decisions without the best possible data? We can’t. Which means the media in this country are failing at their most basic responsibility, informing the general public with the facts.
That’s why my prediction is you won’t see this tremendous coronavirus success story almost anywhere in the country come Monday.
Why is that?
Because most in the media don’t share facts any more, they share emotional terror, fear porn on steroids.
And that’s the scariest thing of all, much more terrifying than the coronavirus.