CDC Excess Deaths 50% More than Confirmed Coronavirus Deaths

The CDC has evaluated Excess Deaths up to October 3 from January 16.  Those account for the complete casualties from the Coronavirus pandemic attack on the US.  The Excess is over the average deaths in the last five years, 2015-2019.  Their main conclusion is that while confirmed COVID-19 cases were about 200,000, the Excess Deaths over the past year’s average were 50% greater than those Confirmed Coronavirus Deaths making almost 300,000 in Excess Deaths .  This is the same conclusion found in an earlier study through July.  They also project 400,000 Excess Deaths over past year averages by the end of the year.

CNN just announced that over 2.5 million years of life have been lost to the Coronavirus.  Dividing by the 224,000 confirmed Coronavirus deaths, this come down to 11.2 years per death.

A few days ago, Economist Larry Summers published in JAMA that if the Coronavirus ends next year, the US would have lost 16 trillion dollars, including the costs of lives lost.  The 2019 GDP was 21 trillion dollars, for comparison.

We present here the ratios of Excess Deaths to the past years average deaths by age category and racial identity, from the paper in the MMWR, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of October 20 by Lauren Rosen, et al.

The increases of Excess Deaths over passed year deaths for the same period are given in the table below.

Age Interval Excess Deaths Over Past Years
< 25 -2.0%
25 – 44 26.5%
45 – 64 14.4%
65 – 74 24.1%
75 – 84 21.5%
> 85 14.7%

We present the increases in Excess Deaths over Past Year’s Deaths in the table below.  AI/AN is American Indian and Alaska Native.

Race Excess Deaths over Passed Year’s
Whites 11.9%
Latinos 53.6%
Blacks 32.9%
Asians 36.6%
AI/AN 28.9%


While Whites have the smallest Excess Deaths over previous year’s, their numbers are 57.4% of the total Excess Deaths, at 171,491.  The large increases for minority deaths is not explained, but health conditions and essential workers are mentioned.

We could add that the IHME projection of Confirmed Coronavirus Deaths to January 20, when the next Administration is sworn in, is 361,000.  If we add 50% to that for Excess Deaths over past years, we get 540,000 Excess Deaths over past years.

Here is the summary of Larry Summer’s analysis of what the Pandemic will cost us.

The loss for a family of four will be $200,000, or per capita, $64,000.

The 50% ratio of Excess Deaths to Confirmed Coronavirus Deaths varies in different locations and at different times.  Nevertheless, it is large and has not come down.  Rates of testing have increased, which should have brought down the ratio.  Normal health care is being restored, and this also should bring down this rate.

Another question is what is the factor of daily Coronavirus cases to those confirmed by tests.  The IHME has a factor of 4.3 for this, but their fits are closer to 3.  Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN said that this could be a factor of 5 to 10.  But if Excess Deaths are only 50% higher than Confirmed Coronavirus Deaths, there is no room for such large numbers.


About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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