It’s Only the Flu …?
UPDATE: This story was published originally at the beginning of 2021. The count of excess deaths by now, on October 21, 2021, has increased from 300,000 to 735,055. Excess deaths are defined as deaths over and above what would be expected based on historical death counts from known causes of death. Since approximately the beginning of 2020, 735,055 people have died of something other than all the causes of death we knew about at the beginning of 2020.
Today, I read in the news that “300,000 more deaths have occurred this year in our country than would have been expected, likely due to COVID-19.” Last week, I heard some Trump supporters on TV arguing that COVID-19 is no big deal and that the additional 300,000 deaths are mostly due to flu or pneumonia. Some were even saying that “Covid is a hoax.”
I spent a while wondering if the Trump supporters could be right. But they’re not right. Here’s why:
1) Covid-19 is a new illness, so it stands to reason it would kill more often than other illnesses humans are more used to and have antibodies against.
2) There are more than 328,000,000 people in the United States, so it is not unreasonable to think that a particularly virulent illness could kill 300,000 of them.
3) There is no evidence for 300,000 more people than usual this year dying of flu or pneumonia. In a non-pandemic year, these illnesses kill about 30,000 of us. This is a non-pandemic year for flu and pneumonia, and in any case, this 30,000 is included in the usual deaths, not the 300,000 excess deaths.
4) One could argue that hospital records are falsified to indicate that deaths actually due to flu or pneumonia are due to COVID-19. It boggles the mind, however, to think that all those exhausted doctors and nurses working 12-hour shifts have had the energy, much less the desire, to falsify records.
5) Death certificates are being falsified now per CDC requirements dictated by the Trump administration: Cause of death due to COVID-19 is now listed, for example, as “acute respiratory failure.” The actual culprit is listed in a different area where it may be confusing enough to result in excluding some actual COVID-19 deaths from the official death count.
6) During the early months of this COVID-19 pandemic, before much information about it was widely available, death certificates sometimes mistakenly listed cause of death as flu or pneumonia when it actually was COVID-19.
7) Since violent incidences resulting in death this year are up by about 20,000, it could be argued that increased violence is the cause of some of the 300,000 additional deaths. However, I cannot find anything that suggests that these deaths are included in the 300,000 additional deaths likely due to COVID-19.
Given all this, it would seem the official COVID-19 death count of 230,000 is less than the actual death count, and is either 300,000 or close to it.
COVID-19 is a big deal.