flu

Excess Deaths


Excess death is what happens when a virulent killer arrives at civilization’s door. It’s the number of people who have died over and above the number who would have died in the absence of, say, bubonic plague, the Spanish Flu or Covid-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that there were 15 million excess deaths worldwide over the first two years of Covid. The Economist has done an exacting study of this issue and concludes the number is 18 million additional dead people.

We just passed the dreadful mark of 1 million Americans dead from Covid in just two years and we know that’s a low number for reasons identified below. For now, let’s put that into perspective by comparing that number to our battlefield war dead.

Here’s a chart from Statista – you can click the chart for details and to read the labels more easily.

For a more thorough comparison, have a look at this WaPo analysis.

Simple addition tells us that our total battlefield war dead from all major conflicts since 1775 is 1,284,702. In all cases the deaths from our wars were horrific and a tragedy and we were shocked by the losses.

It’s crazy that we’re well on our way to surpassing that number solely due to Covid and in just two years. In fact, we could surpass that number this year; certainly by next year. How strange that we continue to mourn our war dead but seem to have accommodated the ongoing massacre of our countrymen from Covid and have relegated their deaths to background noise.

One of the fascinating denials in the early days of our pandemic was the claim that Covid was far less of a threat than the flu, so what’s the big deal? I heard claims that the flu kills “only” 65,000 Americans every year and that Covid’s reach was far less, Eat, drink and be merry.

Turns out it hasn’t been that merry.

The CDC shows us that, depending on the flu variant, between 12,000 and 52,000 Americans die each year from influenza. That’s between 39 and 142 deaths from flu per day.

Here’s a chart of new daily Covid deaths through May 12:

 

As you can see, we’re now at 445 deaths from Covid per day – that’s a rate of 162,425 for the year. That’s more death from Covid than from the flu this year or in any recent year – at least 3 times more. And that math doesn’t take into consideration the escalating number of deaths from Covid expected as this year progresses.

Here’s a STAT chart of our 1 million Covid deaths through March:

Click the chart for the story of wonderful scientific achievement and horrible systemic failures, some willful. Indeed, read Politico’s assessment of the ongoing, conscientious Republican insanity to promote the death of Americans. Key point: “It was a deliberate effort by members of the House Freedom Caucus, in the House, some U.S. senators, amplified nightly on Fox News.”

Yes, it’s true that vaccinated people can contract Covid and a few can die – see the blue lines at the bottom of the chart. The difference is that most don’t die from it. They just need medical help for a while and then they go home and resume their normal lives.

This chart only reflects the officially reported Covid deaths since vaccines became available. They don’t count the people who died without a diagnosis or who died away from a medical facility that tallies the numbers, two of the reasons that the total Covid death count is almost certainly much higher than 1 million.

This chart also doesn’t count those who died because they couldn’t get help for an unrelated affliction, and if the present trend continues we are going to have lots more excess deaths like that. These people will be, for example, heart attack, stroke, cancer and car crash victims who were unable to access the medical care they needed in time to save them because their medical facility was overrun by Covid patients.

Think: Dad died from a heart attack while waiting in his car in the Emergency Room parking lot. He was there because unvaccinated Uncle Bubba had Covid and was in the bed that dad needed and was taking the time, attention and energy of the doctors and nurses who could have saved Dad.

So, don’t imagine that you’re safe from Covid because you’re vaccinated and boosted and you’re a good little mask wearer. You might one day require medical help that you can’t get because of all the unvaccinated people who are sure that Covid isn’t as bad as the flu, or because they think that vaccines cause all manner of imaginary symptoms or are loaded with Bill Gates’ nanobots or because their freedom is more important than anything, including your life – and who are in hospital beds needed by others.

These are the numbers. Factual, empirical data. Again, the current daily Covid corpse count is 445 and that number is expected to rise. Making that worse is that we don’t know how many more people will die because the unvaccinated are clogging hospitals. I sure don’t want the people I love or me to be among those excess deaths. Just guessing you feel the same.

Video of the Week

If you paid attention during the Democratic primary season of 2020 you learned that Pete Buttigieg is a really smart fellow. He’s clear, articulate and is a no drama presenter. Take a listen to his discussion of the implications of the Supreme Court’s likely smack down of Roe during his visit to the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago last week. Note especially his metaphor that now might be the last high water mark for rights and freedom in America. Brian Tyler Cohen’s commentary following Buttigieg is well worth the watch, too.

For the full Buttigieg session, click here.

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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

An Historical Perspective


Join the Disambiguation Gang right over there (scroll down just a bit) →

Reading time – 3:18 .  .  .

COVID-19 has at last caught up to our science-denying President. Of course, it was inevitable, given his flaunting of all protections, other than getting tested, which isn’t protection at all. By the time someone tests positive they’re already both sick and contagious.

In President Trump’s case, he did what he always does: He thought only of himself and managed to knowingly infect many others, including hundreds at his Bedminster club. The next episode of his contagion spreading happened Sunday at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He went for a joyride to greet the crowds lining Rockville Pike at the western edge of the hospital campus. He rode in the President’s armored, hermetically sealed SUV, along with his Secret Service detail of 2 agents.

In a sealed vehicle.

As he exhaled clouds of coronavirus containing droplets.

They were all wearing masks, but that isn’t complete protection for the Secret Service agents from Trump’s viral fog in that sealed space. The extra bad news is that whatever infection was passed from Trump to those agents they’re going to take home to their families.

On the other hand, I’m sure Trump appeared to be the strong warrior to his fans on the sidewalk. Being a tough guy is very important to all of them, Trump included. Knowing that helps to explain the schoolyard bully behavior of demeaning others and name calling. For them, putting others down is a strength of character thing. King of the mountain. Manly man. Macho. Puff-up stuff.

When Trump arrived back at the White House on Monday evening he stood on the Truman balcony and saluted Mussolini-style. The last thing he did before turning and walking inside was to strip off his mask, heedless of the infection he was almost certain to spread to others in the always heavily-peopled White House.

From the New York Times Tuesday morning newsletter,

“’Don’t be afraid of Covid,’ President Trump tweeted, on the same day that the White House outbreak spread further and another several hundred Americans died from virus complications.”

This is just the latest series of incidents to generate this question: What would the hair-on-fire Republicans be saying if instead it had been President Obama going for that joyride and entering the White House mask-less?

They’d be apoplectic. They’d be maniacally blurting and frothing. They would be all over cable news and on the Sunday talk shows with their eyes bulging and the veins in their necks throbbing in self-righteous indignation and rage. We know that because we saw that almost weekly for the 8 years of the Obama administration. They even went berserk over Obama wearing a tan suit.

If you close your eyes and listen carefully, you can almost hear their wailing today:

“O’ the fecklessness!” (They liked to use that word when speaking about President Obama.)*

“O’ the betrayal of our brave Secret Service agents!”

“O’ the abandoning of our national security!”

“Woe be unto us from this reckless, feckless Black president!” They’d leave out “Black” but everyone would hear the dog whistle just the same.

That’s not what’s happening in reaction to President Trump’s joyride and his restarted campaign to infect White House staff. The Republicans are absolutely silent about what Trump has done. I guess fecklessness, the lives of Secret Service agents and the White House staff and Trump’s ditching of our national security just don’t matter as much now as they did back in the Obama years.

Or perhaps this is just another Republican spineless moment. Time for an additional Jellyfish Award. And time to vote these invertebrates out of office before they do yet more damage.

Numbers of Note

7.4 million Americans have been infected by the coronavirus. That’s 2.2% of our total population. Of those infected, over 211,000 have died.** That’s a COVID-19 mortality rate of 2.8%. Roughly 200,000 more are predicted to die by the end of the year.

The seasonal flu is not a reportable disease, so the CDC doesn’t have perfect numbers for it. Their best estimates are that in 2019-2020 between 39 – 56 million Americans became sick from seasonal flu (that’s between 11.8% and 17% of our total population) and between 24 – 62 thousand died. That’s a seasonal flu mortality rate of 0.06% – 0.11%.

That means the mortality rate of COVID-19 is at least 25 times worse than seasonal flu.

This pandemic  is not “no worse than the seasonal flu.” It’s deadlier. And it hasn’t and it won’t “miraculously disappear,” especially if we continue to refuse to do what is necessary to beat it.

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*Feckless: lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible.

**It’s likely that approximately 80,000 additional people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S., based on several analyses. Precise reporting is quite difficult in the middle of a pandemic; plus, there have been many deaths at home or otherwise away from reporting centers due largely to an overwhelmed medical system.

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Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

  1. Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe and pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) Use the simple form above on the right.
  2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. That’s what the Comments section is for.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

American Death Rates For Your Consideration


Reading time – 2:14  .  .  .

There continue to be comparisons made between the seasonal flu and COVID-19, with the apparent goal of decreasing our perception of the danger of this pandemic. After all, we suffer thousands of deaths every year from the seasonal flu and we don’t shut down the country. To put this into perspective, I did some research to compare various high body count episodes of our history, which resulted in the chart below. Decide for yourself what you should do in this pandemic.

Sources:

    • War stats: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war
    • *CDC, as reported at https://www.health.com/condition/cold-flu-sinus/how-many-people-die-of-the-flu-every-year and
      https://www.statnews.com/2020/04/09/its-difficult-to-grasp-the-projected-deaths-from-covid-19-heres-how-they-compare-to-other-causes-of-death/
    • **With no social distancing, masks or other protective gear, testing or extensive use of disinfectants and hand washing.
    • #CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html

Some comments are in order.

  1. The war deaths per year are skewed because there were vastly different rates of deaths depending on the year. For example, for the first 7 or 8 years of the Vietnam War there were relatively few deaths, while there were many thousands per year following that. The same issue of variation applies to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
  2. Deaths from seasonal flu depend on the strain of influenza and other factors, so the number of annual deaths varies greatly.
  3. The total deaths from the 1918 Spanish Flu is a CDC estimate.
  4. The actual annual deaths per year from COVID-19 is yet to be determined because we’re only 3 months into the pandemic in the U.S. and only 4 months into the calendar year. Experts believe the rate of illness and death will decrease in the warmer months and may increase substantially in the coming fall and winter months. In other words, we may bend the curve in summer, but that won’t eliminate the threat. Consequently, the actual deaths per year may turn out to be substantially different from that shown. Or this calculated number of deaths per year might prove to be frightfully accurate.
  5. Not shown is the death rate, which is approximately 0.6% for seasonal flu and 6% for COVID-19. That is to say, 6 people of every 100 who contract COVID-19 will die. As more cases are identified due to expanded testing, that calculated rate will decrease due to the method used to determine the rate – simple division.
  6. Disease transmission rates were not found, so they are not included. However, the medical professionals have consistently said that COVID-19 transfers from human to human with remarkable and perilous efficiency.
  7. Many experts have said that the strongest predictors of both contracting and succumbing to COVID-19 are, 1. underlying or existing conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other infirmities, and, 2. a weakened immune system. A primary cause of a weakened immune system is lifestyle choices, including food choices, exercise, smoking, stress, etc. Translation: Make better lifestyle choices and you’ll have a much better chance of surviving this pandemic.
  8. For more on our COVID-19 testing efforts, have a look at this from STAT. Looks like we’ll be ramping up our testing capabilities soon to the point that we may have 1/3 to 1/2 of the capacity we need. Maybe.
  9. We Americans love to set records, so this should be a time of celebration, because we passed not one but two landmark numbers: 1. We now have over 1 million cases of COVID-19, and 2. We now have more Americans dead from COVID-19 than the number of names on the somber black granite Vietnam War Memorial on the Mall in DC. We’re number one.
  10. Leonard Pitts’ article, I Will Not Die of Stupid is a must-read. And if you like parodies, click here.

Like I said: Decide for yourself what you should do.

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Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so

    1. Pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe (IT’S A FREEBIE!).
    2. Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

    1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
    2. Sometimes I change my opinions because I’ve learned more about an issue. So, educate me. That’s what the Comments section is for.
    3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections. Refreshing when someone wants to get the facts right, eh?
    4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA

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Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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