Excess Deaths and Coronavirus

One of the issues with evaluating the impact of Coronavirus is that determining the cause of death is at best uncertain, and varies depending on who is counting and what the rules are. The example I have used several times is the difference between Belgium (pop. 11.5 million), which has 181,511 reported cases and 10,278 deaths compared to Germany (pop. 83.1 million) which was 344,487 cases and 9,724 deaths. The coronavirus statistics are even more confusing for those countries will poor reporting systems or who deliberately manipulate the statistics. In the end, it will be an analysis of “excess deaths” that may really explain what has happened.

There is an excess death study done by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC). The links to that are here:
ttps://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

Also see the article summarizing a study at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) that indicates that the number of deaths from coronavirus may be 50% higher: 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/10/12/us-covid-deaths-75-k-more-americans-died-than-previously-recorded-excess-deaths/5935813002/

Study is here: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2771761?guestAccessKey=92828e1e-363a-491b-83af-ec3ce0cde3f6&utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_content=tfl&utm_term=101220

The actual number of reported cases for the U.S. (as of this morning) is 216,933. These studies strongly indicates that the U.S. reporting of deaths of somewhat close to reality. It is not an inflated count. It may be underreporting the extent of the tragedy.

I assume similar studies have been done for Belgium and Germany. An article addressing excess deaths in both countries is here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2020/10/15/how-excess-mortality-in-2020-compares-infographic/#5ed4902f67a2


They report that excess mortality for Belgium is +67.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, while for Germany it is +10.0. I gather that means for Belgium, with a population of 11.5 million, has 7,797 excess deaths (vice 10,728 reported coronavirus deaths). For Germany, with a population of 83.1 million, this is 8,310 excess deaths (vice 9,724 reported coronavirus deaths). 

Excess mortality for the U.S. is given as +71.6. With a population of 330.5 million, this is 236,638 compared to 216,933 reported coronavirus deaths.

 

 

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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2 Comments

  1. “I gather that means for Belgium, with a population of 11.5 million, has 7,797 excess deaths (vice 10,728 reported coronavirus deaths). For Germany, with a population of 83.1 million, this is 8,310 excess deaths (vice 9,724 reported coronavirus deaths). ”

    Is my interpretation too. That the reported cov-19 deaths are HIGHER than the excess mortality in 2020 can have two reasons IMHO:

    1) The excess mortality without cov-10 was in 2020 lower than the 5-years average, no heat wave in summer …..

    2) The positive aspects of a lock down decrease the mortality, lower number of traffic or work accidents, lower number of heart attacks…

  2. “I gather that means for Belgium, with a population of 11.5 million, has 7,797 excess deaths (vice 10,728 reported coronavirus deaths). For Germany, with a population of 83.1 million, this is 8,310 excess deaths (vice 9,724 reported coronavirus deaths). ”

    Is my interpretation too. That the reported cov-19 deaths are HIGHER than the excess mortality in 2020 can have two reasons IMHO:

    1) The excess mortality without cov-10 was in 2020 lower than the 5-years average, no heat wave in summer …..

    2) The positive aspects of a lock down decrease the mortality, lower number of traffic or work accidents, lower number of heart attacks…

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