More on Excess Death

A useful graph from WaPo

To continue an ongoing area of discussion, an illustrative graph from WaPo:

Read the whole piece: Excess U.S. deaths hit estimated 37,100 in pandemic’s early days, far more than previously known.

Just file it under more evidence of “not the flu.”

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. An Interested Party says:

    Perhaps others have already seen this and commented on it, but it is devastating in what it shows…this president has blood on his hands, the incompetence of the federal government is on full display for all to see…I wonder about all those people who voted for this trash because they wanted to send a giant “fuck you”…I also wonder how many of them are pleased with the results of their votes…

  2. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party:

    “When history looks back on this, they’ll say, man, the federal government acted really quickly and creatively, they threw a lot at the problem and saved a lot of lives.”

    -Jared Kushner

  3. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @An Interested Party: I would guess that as long as they can convince themselves that Covid-19 is affecting people who “aren’t like them” more, they’re probably still more pleased with their votes than you would prefer. My prediction is that Trump will probably get roughly the same percentage of the electorate that he did last time.

    We, as a society, really are that stupid and self-absorbed.

  4. steve says:

    If it is available it is also good to look at longer graph for this stat. What you see is the absence of any similar spike. IOW we go through flu seasons and never see a spike like this.

    Agree this probably wont affect much. The right wing disinformation effort is under full steam an dit is thorough. It starts with the more obvious attempts to redo the narrative and claim that Trump responded early and blame any problems on FDA, CDC, WHO or someone else. (Blaming others is one of Trump’s superpowers after all.) But the effort goes way beyond this to obvious and less obvious ways to discredit the “experts”. My current pet peeve is the claim that ventilators are killing people and the “experts” dont know that.


  5. Gustopher says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I also wonder how many of them are pleased with the results of their votes…

    I’ll ask my brother when he gets out of the hospital.


    My current pet peeve is the claim that ventilators are killing people and the “experts” dont know that.

    That’s a new one to me. I’m just going to hope they don’t put my brother on one of those ventilator death machines.

  6. de stijl says:

    We are undercounting everything.

    Infected. Deaths. Recoveries.

    Some infrastructural. Some systemic. Some by diktat – see Florida.

    The numbers you see on CNN are the really conservative, are totally tested and ascribed to C-19 numbers.

    Data wonks have looked at death totals year over year and strongly assert we are undercounting deaths by about .6 very likely due to C-19.

    If on average 1000 people die in your county every month, and you report 600 C-19 deaths but there are actually 1960 deaths, what accounts for the 360 deaths above what one could expect?

    We are vastly undercounting deaths, and we have no frigging clue as to how many of us are infected because we only test overtly symptomatic people if there is a test available.

    We are blind.

    The test to positive ratio is hopelessly skewed because we only have the capability to test a portion that already present as infected.

    We are sooo blind.

  7. de stijl says:

    We have no clue how many people are infected, many asymptomatic. We lack the ability to test which is the key to the follow on track, treat, and contain measures.

    We are trading lives for machismo strutting. Awesomez!

  8. CSK says:

    Kushner is a self-satisfied imbecile.

  9. Jax says:

    @steve: I swear to God, if I have to see one more shared video of those “YouTube doctors” that all the Trumpies are sharing on my Facebook feed as “proof positive” that this is all a hoax, I’m gonna need some of that good sedation stuff. Just wake me up when this is over.

  10. steve says:

    I assume you mean the two urgent center docs. The “tell” in their video is all of the lies they need to tell to get across their message. It starts early and doesn’t stop. They aren’t really experts in microbiology. They went to medical school. So did I and I know that I am not an expert. I know more than most people but i never did any research or did any advanced graduate studies. They then lied about the Ferguson model (another pet peeve). They then go on to cite a lot of questionable statistics.

    There is not clear answer on when we should start to open back up. It is a difficult decision. But, while it is a debate we should have it should not be based upon lies.


  11. Richard Gardner says:

    The death rate change is quite complicated and some may be indirectly caused by COVID-19 (i.e., due to the shutdown). While traffic accidents are down, extreme high speed crashes are up. Suicides and domestic violence are up. Ban on “elective” surgeries and folks not going to the doctor are causing additional deaths. We’re living in an experiment right now and the final write ups will take years.

  12. de stijl says:

    I was a data person for decades.

    How this mess played out hurts on multiple levels.

  13. steve says:

    Richard- Not that every other system is like ours, but our number of trauma cases is down. We are still being strokes and MIs but puts are coming in after they are complete, meaning some probably did die. In California many years ago they had a doctors strike. Deaths actually dropped for a while. Stopping elective surgeries probably should cause a temporary drop in deaths. Most hospitals have continued to do cancer and urgent surgeries.


  14. de stijl says:


    After this is new normal, I have to get an obvious melanoma removed off the cheekbone directly below my right eye.

    It’s cool. Chicks dig scars.

    The risk of spreading metasiziation is really low. But I look forward to the day it can be addressed.

    I want it gone, but a scalpel that close to my dominant eye will be freaky.

    Btw, if you have a skin thing that looks like blackheads on steroids and is bumpy, see your doc.

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl: …but a scalpel that close to my dominant eye will be freaky.

    I have had cataract surgery in both eyes. Several years apart.
    One of the smarter decisions I’ve made over the years.

  16. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    A guy I know was a short haul truck driver. New Ulm and back. Eau Claire and back.

    He was working on his truck, slipped and impaled himself on a bolt. In his eye.

    His eye is still whole and there, but he doesn’t have an iris anymore. Actually he does now, but it was fabricated in Germany and surgically affixed under the cornea. So it is better, but not by much.

    For months I had just assumed that he was battling darkness, but his problem was too much light entering and no way to focus or control that. Which makes total sense.

    So white blindness is a thing I learned about.

    The replacement iris thing didn’t work out so he could see and focus again. It does totally match his eye color.

    He usually just wears an eye-patch now which is bad-ass.

    Chicks dig the eye-patch, well at least his wife doesn’t seem to mind too much. She is a bad-ass herself.