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Excess Deaths Associated With COVID-19: 
The True Toll in the U.S.

Last update: January 03, 2021 at 03:17:29 A.M. ET

As cases of COVID-19 are being reported, epidemiologists are state officials are collecting and interpreting the data as it comes in. Counting deaths takes awhile, thus, many U.S. states are weeks or months behind in reporting cases. The calculations in this page are based on how mortality data has lagged in previous years, pulled from the CDC National Center for Health Statistics.

According to The New York Times, it will take several months before all these numbers are finalized. From March 15 through Dec. 5, the most recent date with reliable statistics estimated excess deaths were 34 percent higher than the official coronavirus fatality count. If this pattern held through Dec. 16, the total death toll would be about 410,000. Public health researchers use such methods to measure the impact of catastrophic events when official measures of mortality are flawed. Measuring excess deaths does not tell us precisely how each person died.

Most of the excess deaths in this period are because of the coronavirus itself. But it is also possible that deaths from other causes have risen too, as hospitals in some hot spots have become overwhelmed and people have been scared to seek care for ailments that are typically survivable. Some causes of death may be declining, as people stay inside more, drive less, and limit their contact with others.

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