Q&A of the Day – What are the real COVID-19 #’s?

Q&A of the Day – What are the real COVID-19 #’s?

Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

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Today’s entries: Re your covid update: But so many of the covid #'s are lies! How can we trust the death count? Thanks!

In any given year aprox 8k people die every day from all causes. That’s 960k for Feb, March, April and May. How many have died this year in those same months?

Bottom Line: Facts should always be established rather than politicized. Unfortunately, everything seems to be politicized these days so it’s understandable that many question the daily reporting of coronavirus cases and deaths. I first addressed this topic a few weeks ago but with the focus on crossing 100,000 COVID-19 deaths this week amid questionable reporting practices by many states it’s worth digging down a little deeper. Yes,the numbers are real. And here’s the basis for how we know.

The term excess deaths applies to deadly events like pandemics and is generally the most effective way to know what the true impact is on society. The “excess deaths” metric uses a five-year average of death rates and adjusts for population changes.The CDC keeps up to date records of excess deaths. The week of March 22nd was the first week the United States recorded excess deaths since January of 2018. Since then every week has resulted in excess deaths. 

The most recent date CDC has excess death information available for is the May 8th. From March 22nd through May 8th the United States recorded 87,979 excess deaths. Using the officially recognized COVID-19 death totals 78,615 deaths had been reported as of May 8th. In other words,not only are the numbers you’re hearing about – now in excess of 100,000 deaths accurate. They’re actually under reported by approximately 12%. Logic also lines up with the data. We all know not all people with COVID-19 have been diagnosed with the virus. Thus,not all people who’ve died from it are going to be known. 

This highlights the danger of narratives over data. Because this became politicized different camps of belief over these numbers and those who feed on partisanship over pragmatism have played on those narratives to attempt to convince people the problem is either worse or not as bad as what’s been reported. What’s helpful about using the excess death method is that it doesn’t matter who was diagnosed and who wasn’t. When we learned that the virus was active in Florida or the United States compared to when it was first here. It adjusts for all of it.

As always there are two sides to stories but one side to facts. Here’s the truth based on facts. Approximately 12,400 more Americans have died from COVID-19 than have been reported. It’s yet another reminder not to take the risks for granted. The threat of the virus has been and remains real. 

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