100,000 Dead From COVID-19

A grim milestone.

A grim milestone has been passed, according to the WorldoMeter data: 100,000 dead worldwide.

That almost certainly understates the actual toll, given that China is downplaying their totals and the US and others are not able to fully test.

The United States has nearly half a million confirmed cases and 17,927 deaths. We’re just below Italy on the latter score, having surpassed Spain for second place.

The silver lining is that the US peak, at least from this round of the virus, is expected to hit this weekend.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. SKI says:

    Double it.

    Those numbers don’t account for anyone who died without being tested – particularly those who died at home. Comparing death rates year over year in numerous countries and in NYC, indicates that about only about half of the deaths related to covid-19 are being counted in the total.

  2. Sleeping Dog says:


    Word yesterday was that NY was going to adjust their numbers to include untested, but presumed C-19 victims. I suspect that any who had “respiratory failure” as a contributing factor to cause of death, will be counted as a C-19 victim. World wide, we’ll never know.

    We also can expect that there will be an effort to suppress the total number of deaths attributed to C-19.

  3. charon says:

    The silver lining is that the US peak, at least from this round of the virus, is expected to hit this weekend.

    A note re the models:

    The published models tend to show a bell curve, with a post-peak decline as rapid as the rise.

    In the real world data, we see very gradual declines post-peak appear more likely.

    And, BTW, new wave of cases in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan:

    Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan — once heralded for early successes in battling the pandemic — are now confronting a new wave of coronavirus cases


  4. Jay L Gischer says:

    I think doubling it looks good as the best estimate for unidentified cases that led to death. I have no idea how to account for unidentified cases that led to recovery. Is it 2X, 4X or 10X? It might be any of these, and that has significant consequences for the state of herd immunity and our estimate of the mortality rate. I’m leaning toward 4X, but it could be 10X. There could be a lot of it out there, it’s hard to say.

    We need to get the testing stuff in gear. I saw today that LA County is beginning randomized tests, 1000/day to try to get a grip on numbers like this. All I can say is it’s quite a state of affairs we have when a county government is leading in matters like this. Even though California’s leadership has been pretty strong.

    But then, politicians are often only as good as their constituency.

  5. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Related, Someone is looking for volunteers to be exposed to the active SAR-COV-2 to evaluate the efficacy of experimental vaccines. I don’t know who these people are, but for those who want to enlist as a volunteer:
    Volunteer here

  6. Jen says:

    @Jay L Gischer: As rapidly as this thing spread, there have to be a bunch of completely asymptomatic cases out there too.

    Question for the epidemiologists in the group–are asymptomatic cases considered “infected and recovered” or “immune”? I’ve been wondering what the difference is, or if there is a difference.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The silver lining is that the US peak, at least from this round of the virus, is expected to hit this weekend.

    In some states? Yes. In other states we have a long ways yet to go.

  8. 95 South says:

    Lefties speculate that coronavirus deaths are being undercounted, righties overcounted. Nobody knows.

    What can we learn from the numbers? Nothing. No more than we already knew: old people are more vulnerable, you should wash your hands, China is primitive. Precautions help, but you can’t prevent or predict diseases. Scientists will be able to learn more when they get better data, but it takes time. None of us can do anything with our spreadsheets.

  9. charon says:
  10. charon says:


    According to the spreadsheet I linked, cases (confirmed) nationwide are up 22% over last 3 days. Deaths are a lagging indicator by 2 weeks or so, up 40%.

  11. Kathy says:


    What I want to know is whether there have been cases of people who get infected but don’t develop any symptoms, or symptoms so mild they don’t even realize they were ill.

    This shows up in accounts, opinion pieces, etc. but I haven’t heard anything official.

  12. SKI says:

    @Kathy: Absolutely. 100%.

    Estimated to be as high at 25% of all cases.

    According to Robert Redfield, the director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of people infected with the new coronavirus don’t present any symptoms or fall ill but can still transmit the illness to others.

    Redfield on Tuesday told NPR that “we have pretty much confirmed” that “a significant number of individuals that are infected actually remain asymptomatic.”

    These asymptomatic carriers, Redfield added, are most likely contributing to the rapid spread of the coronavirus worldwide – the number of confirmed cases passed 1 million this week – and making it challenging for experts to assess the true extent of the pandemic.

    “We don’t know all the unidentified cases out there,” Morse said. “It’s mostly sicker people in hospitals who are being tabulated.”

  13. Jen says:

    @Kathy: SKI is correct, and there’s data out there. The first glimmers of this came from Iceland, which did extensive testing on anyone who had traveled and they were the first to find that nearly half of those who tested positive never showed any symptoms, or had such mild ones that they could very plausibly be written off as allergies or a cold.

    I’ll see if I can track down the pieces I’ve read about this, there have been several.

  14. 95 South says:

    Great example: data about asymptomatic people. It’s impossible and it wouldn’t change anything the layman should do.

  15. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Here’s a piece from Reuters about this, China currently has 657 cases of asymptomatic carriers.

  16. Kathy says:


    Thank you. That was very useful.

    It explains how the disease transmits so easily, and why people have to stay locked down for a long time. The earliest advice, all the way back in February, included staying away from people showing symptoms or cold or flu.

  17. SKI says:

    @95 South:

    Great example: data about asymptomatic people. It’s impossible and it wouldn’t change anything the layman should do.

    Not sure you could be more wrong. I mean maybe but you would have to really work at it. Not sure if you are trying to be an Edgelord here or what but just stop.

    1. It is totally possible to get data on asymptomatic carriers. It is called surveillance testing and it is absolutely something we need to be doing. It is a key towards knowing when it would be safe to begin to resume more normal activities.

    2. Knowing that there are asymptomatic carriers out there not only can change layperson’s behavior – it has. Or to more clear, disbelieving that such a thing exists has impacted peoples behavior in ways that is causing additional misery and death.

  18. 95 South says:

    1) Data on asymptomatic cases isn’t going to be any good. If we had 100% testing, with no false positives, we’d still have to wait until enough time passed to see if symptoms develop. Scientists will be able to use preliminary data, but they have to view it with suspicion. Joe Internet can’t do anything with it.
    2) You should be treating everyone as if they have the disease, and assuming you already have it. If Joe Internet doesn’t know that, he’s a fool.

  19. Kathy says:


    You know, this is starting to feel like the world’s worst casino: you don’t know the odds, the most you can win is nothing, and you don’t get to choose whether or not you play.

  20. Jay L Gischer says:

    @95 South: You know, even if the numbers are too low by half, or too high by half, they are still useful. And they still show a pattern that is dangerous.

    I have to say, it’s good to see an attitude such as yours in its purest form. It’s a classic form of anti-intellectual, anti-math ideology that’s long been part of American life. I suppose that righties think deaths are being overcounted because that’s what the folks in NY and CA do to make the president look bad?

    I’m shaking my head, and thinking, non-ironically, “God help you”. Because it’s going to come to your door. And when it does, it will go off like a bomb. Or are you doing all the things to keep yourself safe while saying “this is fake news?” like lots of business executives in certain places are? Well, that’s better than ignoring it, I guess?

    As to spreadsheets…I’ve spent my life using math to make people’s lives better. It worked. I got paid lots of money. People use spreadsheets to figure out where to put the sewer lines. They use them to figure out lots of useful, valuable stuff. Like which medicine is the best, and so on. And yet folks like yourself like to demean it as “it’s only math”.

    And well, not only may God help you, but I will too. I’ll do what I can, which is to stay at home, wash my hands, and pay my taxes, and keep an eye on the spreadsheets. Stay healthy.

  21. Jay L Gischer says:

    Here is a really well thought out post by Bill McBride on how we go about reopening.

  22. SKI says:


    Double it.

    At least…

    Deaths in New York City Are More Than Double the Usual Total

    Over the 31 days ending April 4, more than twice the typical number of New Yorkers died.

    That total for the city includes deaths directly linked to the novel coronavirus as well as those from other causes, like heart attacks and cancer. Even this is only a partial count; we expect this number to rise as more deaths are counted.

    The numbers for the last two weeks of the period are even more stark: nearly 7,000 dead, more than three times as many deaths as would normally be expected this time of year.

    So ~1400 “official” coronavirus deaths and another ~3500! deaths greater than would normally be expected.

  23. 95 South says:

    @Jay L Gischer: You read my comment backward. I’m very pro-math, pro-expert, and pro-intellectual. My complaint is with the novice expecting that a homemade spreadsheet is going to have the answers. People are comforting themselves playing with numbers they don’t understand, and the way righties and lefties are projecting their politics onto the numbers is proof.

  24. CSK says:

    Just a guess, but I think it would be “infected and recovered,” since you would have had the illness even if asymptomatic.

  25. 95 South says:

    @Jay L Gischer: And you know what, Jay, you should have been able to understand that. I talked about scientists and data integrity, saying that Joe Internet isn’t going to resolve this. If anything I was being a snob. Read better.

  26. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Related to your question (BTW, I am not an epidemiologist, but just FWIW)…

    Coronavirus: low antibody levels raise questions about reinfection risk

  27. Jen says:

    @Kathy: One of the few memes about this virus I’ve actually shared:

    We all have Schrodinger’s virus.
    Because we cannot get tested, we do not know if we have the virus or not.
    We have to act as if we do have the virus, so that we do not spread it to others.
    We also have to act as if we never had the virus, because if we haven’t had it, we’re not immune. Therefore, we both have and don’t have the virus. Thus, Schrodinger’s Virus.

    @Bob@Youngstown: Thank you!

  28. Bob@Youngstown says:

    I hope that you are referring to the article about antibodies and not the volunteer signup sheet!
    Stay safe & healthy my friend

  29. Jen says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Definitely the article!

    I’ve been wondering about reinfection risks for a while. There have been many articles about how lung function is decreased by between 10-30% in many recovered patients. Since prior lung disease/improper lung function is considered a comorbidity risk, I was wondering if those who recover could be hit harder by a reinfection.

    Stay safe and healthy on your end too!

  30. Liberal Capitalist says:


    100,000. Wow. Worldwide deaths typically run 300,00 – 600,000/yr. I was looking, and dammit I just couldn’t find it, your “grim milestone” posts from the past 5 years. Must have slipped your mind.

    Did you have a point? Or are you pointless?

    You know: you were ALMOST there!

    You knew a number, and juxtaposed it against what you believe was a number of “average” deaths.

    And you could have really had a useful, interesting post… But then you veered off.

    So close.

    You could have tried to really look up the actual deaths. In 2015 the number of global deaths was 57 Million.

    So, if you compared 100,000 to 57 million, then you could have actually created the argument that relative to the “average” deaths, this is a drop in the bucket.

    Try to be a bit more curious. Develop an argument. Don’t be a dick.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @95 South:

    China is primitive.

    Speaking from experience, most places in China are more sophisticated and advanced than most Trump states. You can delude yourself with your infantile prejudices, but that doesn’t make it so.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Because it’s going to come to your door. And when it does, it will go off like a bomb.

    In this case it won’t. It will only kill off about two percent of the Trumpers on average and that isn’t enough to get them to change their world view. Sure, it will kill 15-20% of their olds, but they will accept that as the will of god. They don’t understand math, and resent those who do.

  33. Gustopher says:

    @95 South:

    Great example: data about asymptomatic people. It’s impossible and it wouldn’t change anything the layman should do.

    It totally changes what a layperson should do.

    We know that there is a not-insignificant percentage of people who never develop significant symptoms. 5% to 50%, somewhere in there (a vigorous testing regime, particularly once we have an antibody test would narrow that down).

    How does that change what people should do? They need to not assume they don’t have the virus.

    You later say that people who don’t know this already are idiots, but a lot of people are idiots. Yes, the up-to-14-day window between the infection and symptoms should also tell them they need to continue physical distancing, but people are idiots.

    Present multiple true reasons for the same change in behavior and it has a better chance of sinking in.

    After all, the governor of Georgia didn’t know about asymptomatic transmission for months after the rest of the world did, despite having toured the fucking CDC and been briefed about it. What piece of data is needed to get through his head?

    Lefties speculate that coronavirus deaths are being undercounted, righties overcounted. Nobody knows.

    Out of curiosity, do what do righties think the dead people died from? Is there some kind of corpse factory churning out manikins? Is there any reporting on conditions in NYC hospitals on right wing news media?

    We’re all idiots on something, whether it is viruses, economics, or pretty red-heads.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Guys? You can’t fix stupid.

  35. Jen says:


    Out of curiosity, do what do righties think the dead people died from?

    The recent theme of righty nonsense is an implication that all deaths are being attributed to C-19, thus running up the tally, which in reality is much, much lower. It’s a bit surreal, given the numbers abroad and the fact of a pandemic, but they really do believe this is the case. I had one serve up a cartoon that depicted an individual on a gurney being wheeled in to hospital that read “doctor, he went through the windshield, was trampled by a herd of cattle, and was then hit by a tractor” and the doctor responds “so another covid case?”

    They really believe the numbers are inflated and I have zero patience left for this type of nonsense.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    I see @Liberal Capitalist dealt with your first layer of imbecility. Let’s proceed, shall we?

    1) It’s not a question of total number of deaths because a) we don’t have a clue what that number is, yet, and b) it’s always been about overwhelming the system. Or do you think video 0f patients dying in hospital parking lots is going to help your Dear Comatose Leader to be re-elected and avoid prison? Duh doy?

    2) I guarantee you’re sitting at home with a gallon jug of Purelle, just like the germaphobe pathological liar whose feet you worship.

    3) If it’s about your 401K, Drew, I guess you’re not the master of the universe you think you are. Because I’m fine. In fact I was able to earmark 100k for covid-related charity. Next time maybe I can give you a few tips. But even a dummy ought to be able to figure out what happens to bidness and to the flyblown pig’s head on a pole you dance naked around if he opens everything up and we get hit with a resurgence? Can you stretch your imagination that far? Lockdown Round 2, with a new death count directly attributable to the gasping, senile fuckwad you think is your new daddy? Hmm?

  37. 95 South says:

    @Gustopher: I haven’t looked into it, but they’re concerned that the sudden decline in pneumonia deaths is because they’re all being counted as coronavirus deaths. Also that quote from the CDC I passed along yesterday to the effect that people can be listed as likely coronavirus deaths without being tested.

  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    @95 South:
    Social distancing also works on pneumonia and underlying causes. Works on colds. Works on STD’s. It works on any communicable disease. It’s a miracle cure.

  39. DrDaveT says:

    @95 South:

    Also that quote from the CDC I passed along yesterday to the effect that people can be listed as likely coronavirus deaths without being tested.

    You do understand that deaths where the death certificate says “likely coronavirus” are NOT listed as coronavirus deaths in the official statistics, right?

  40. de stijl says:


    Thousands of people died today more so than if this were a “normal” day.

    Your notion of sympathy and empathy is noted.

  41. de stijl says:

    We are failing hard on testing. Still.

    Until that is resolved we are stymied on any restart the economy action.

    Putting millions at risk of sickness or death to boost Trump’s chance of re-election is innovative and craven.

    Trump’s path now is to blame someone else that he was ignorant and stymied and undercut.

    WHO, China, CDC, the Democrats, the press, mayors, governors, whatever.

    That man will blame shift to whoever he can like a coward.

  42. de stijl says:

    Imagine now had Clinton won.

  43. An Interested Party says:

    Imagine now had Clinton won.

    Imagine (especially Bernie diehards) that even with all of this, Trump wins again…