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As official toll mounts, true COVID death figure elusive

21 Comments
By Amélie BOTTOLLIER-DEPOIS and Nina LARSON

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In others, there "may be some official policy to be very restrictive in the definition of a COVID death", he said.

Where could that possibly be???

19 ( +21 / -2 )

That’s a tragically stunning photo.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

So the death figure is more horrendous than we were led to believe. This will be the last pandemic to affect us in this way. Science will be quicker out of the gate next time.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

https://covid19.healthdata.org/japan?view=cumulative-deaths&tab=trend

IHME's Japan modeling. That's one logarithmic difference in reporting than the official number here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"This is going to keep demographers and epidemiologists occupied for several years," he said.

Well, I hope they give us some meaningful figures soon. The normal daily death rate in India is 27,000. Has that changed since Corona, or not? Nobody is telling us, instead we get emotional pictures and sensational headlines.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

"The figure for India -- 736,000 deaths -- was nearly three times higher than the official COVID-19 death toll there"

Even this may be an under count.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTHIBTwgLaQ

This lady estimated that between 1 to 2 million Indians are dead already, and more are going to die.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

"The IHME calculated that the United States had seen 912,000 COVID-19 deaths, as opposed to the official toll of around 578,000."

and in Japan ?

Japan recorded fewer deaths in 2020 for first time in 11 years

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/23/national/coronavirus-japan-deaths-2020/

That say it all.

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

Eisenach

"The IHME calculated that the United States had seen 912,000 COVID-19 deaths, as opposed to the official toll of around 578,000."

Normal yearly death rate in the US is about 2,8 million/year. According to that claim it should have gone up to about 3,7 million last year. Has it?

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

No doubt a lot LESS than the “official” number

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The cause of covid-related death is far from well-defined especially for very old deads. On statistic record, the criteria have remained varied from country to country despite calls for official guideline or effort to standardize the criteria).

More reliable and relevant figures for public policy are excess deaths. I believe that the state should protect its people from all types of life-threats, whether it is covid or not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan recorded fewer deaths in 2020 for first time in 11 years

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/23/national/coronavirus-japan-deaths-2020/

That say it all.

Where do these figures come from ?

Oh yes, J-Gov, same as the covid ones ...

7 ( +9 / -2 )

noriahojanen

More reliable and relevant figures for public policy are excess deaths. I believe that the state should protect its people from all types of life-threats, whether it is covid or not.

My point exactly. If these massive Covid death data the media reports (which some people think are undercounted) are true, we should see a corresponding spike in excess mortality. I have not yet seen any data that show that.

If there is no corresponding spike in excess mortality, we are obviously talking about deaths WITH Covid, and not deaths FROM Covid, aka a classification issue.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I predict that the overall global death toll will turn out to remain almost the same as ones in the pre-pandemic, as many lives have been saved from other death causes by accident or side-effects of the covid response measures.

On the other hand, the global health divide could become an issue (but again it was already addressed prior to the current virus crisis).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That’s a tragically stunning photo.

Yes, nothing humbles mankind more than a pandemic as the invisible virus cuts a swathe through humanity grimly reaping millions of lives and leaving behind a trail of tears before it eventually subsides and retires into the dark recesses of Nature's mysterious matrix. As always, and even with the modern tools of technology at our disposal, calculating the mortality figures will take some time, but the real number of Covid-19 victims will never be known for certain, even were governments more honest in their accounting.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

noriahojanen

On the other hand, the global health divide could become an issue (but again it was already addressed prior to the current virus crisis).

,,,it is already. 37% obesity rate in the US alone is a disaster. Without an expensive health care system to compensate for that, most "developed" nations would look worse than poor ones.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

and in Japan ?

Japan recorded fewer deaths in 2020 for first time in 11 years

My point exactly. If these massive Covid death data the media reports (which some people think are undercounted) are true, we should see a corresponding spike in excess mortality. I have not yet seen any data that show that.

These are included in the analysis, measures against the pandemic have reduced deaths for a wide variety of causes, (from traffic accidents and violence to the rest of the respiratory infections that were completely stopped in their tracks) that would mean a very important lower number of deaths would be expected and then failed to be observed.

On the other hand a percentage of the deaths would have been observed even if the pandemic was not present so they have to be deducted from the COVID deaths, it is part of the difficulty of the calculations that is mentioned in the article.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"Normal yearly death rate in the US is about 2,8 million/year. According to that claim it should have gone up to about 3,7 million last year. Has it?"

Yes it has:

Preliminary US death statistics show over 3.4 million total deaths in 2020 — 20% more deaths than in 2019

https://usafacts.org/articles/preliminary-us-death-statistics-more-deaths-in-2020-than-2019-coronavirus-age-flu/

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The UK just reported the fewest number of deaths, ever. Sadly COVID caused premature death in a lot of old folks and people with other conditions which is now showing up as lower than expected deaths as the people who would have died now, died 6 months ago.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Eisenach

and in Japan ?

more than 65000

More than 5 times the official amount ; when in the US, it is less than 2 times. So even if they sucked at handling the pandemic, they were not so bad at keeping record of it.

Thanks to Nepalibabufor the link.

https://covid19.healthdata.org/japan?view=cumulative-deaths&tab=compare

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Proxy- in the U.S., COVID caused directly only 5% of COVID deaths according to the CDC. However, it was a factor in many of the other COVID deaths, e.g., patients dying of COPD, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. We should see a lower death rate in the U.S. in the next few years.

I think this is instructive in determining the proper way to deal with COVID. COVID alone does not kill. However, it accelerates morbidity of already-sick people, most with multiple ailments. Young and healthy people are not impacted.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The UK figures are likely to be iffy, possibly overstating the deaths. They include anyone who had a positive test result for Covid and died within 28 days of the first positive test. That includes people who died of something else, but tested positive. It excludes those who clung on for a bit longer.

There is also the issue of what 'Long Covid' does to some folk who suffer on-going health problems as a result.

It may be better to let the statisticians worry about this later, and just focus absolutely all we have on maximising the vaccination process. At the current rate, Japan and Australasia will lose an additional year to Europe and North America, as their vaccination roll-outs are going so slowly. Not authorising AZ jabs, if only for older folk, will hamper the roll-out further in rural areas. If Japan isn't going to use its AZ jabs it should pass them on to India, Africa, South America or North Korea and not try to barter with them for diplomatic points. The Covax roll-out has been badly delayed by Indian production facilities being unable to export due to the high number of domestic cases. Areas with surges produce variants. None have been major concerns yet as the vaccines cover all of them. But our luck could run out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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