A Covid-19 Death Discrepancy that Raises Questions

At this link, CDC reports 64,282 Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. (as of May 2, 2020).

At this link, CDC reports 37,308 Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. (as of May 1, 2020).

I see the caveats at the second link explaining the “provisional data,” but c’mon. Such a big difference (nearly 27,000 deaths) makes the caveats seem ludicrous. At a minimum we should question why media consistently report the higher number and not the lower one. After all, if Covid-19 deaths are half what we imagine them to be, wouldn’t that affect our approach to public policy?

22 thoughts on “A Covid-19 Death Discrepancy that Raises Questions

  1. It does not take a great deal of imagination to understand that the lower number is purely a function of the paperwork involved in producing and processing Death Certificates. There is ZERO rational reason to believe that the higher number is an exaggeration. It is the product of special reporting organized to produce a more timely view of the progress of the disease. Sorry to disappoint, but this difference is not part of a deep state trick to make Trump look bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The “special reporting” as you call it produces a fantasy death count number. The actual death count is CDC’s “provisional” report, which has a paper trail.

      If you choose to believe fantasy numbers, you are welcome to it. My beef, however, has nothing to do with fantasies, deep state or otherwise. As stated, media reports the fantasy death count as though it were real.

      Like

      1. @Roberts

        Fantasy death count?

        Here is something you may not know. When you die you are actually dead whether the hospital and the county clerk has processed your death certificate or not.

        The numbers reported by CDC, WHO, Johns Hopkins etc. are not a “fantasy.” Calling them that is monumentally dumb.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One is confirmed and probable, the other is based on official death certificate as filed. Filing delays, and well, some may even have wording variances, e.g., “renal failure as a complication of SARS-COV2″… now what?

    For example, I don’t believe that Alzheimer’s is an “official” cause of death. People with it die of various organ failures complicated by Alzheimer’s. And also, Parkinson’s.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. e.g., “renal failure as a complication of SARS-COV2″… now what?“

      That is akin to saying “he died of heart failure” as they removed a bullet from the left ventricle.

      Cardiac arrest or another gunshot victim?

      A recent discovery is the excessive blood clotting caused by COVID 19, and that has led to strokes in younger people with the virus. Yet, the cause should be COVID, not “stroke”.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. RE: “One is confirmed and probable, the other is based on official death certificate as filed.”

      True. The question remains, why does media report only the higher number, which is unverifiable, and not the lower number, which, while time-lagged, is supportable with records?

      Like

    1. RE: “The article outlines the discrepancies and why.”

      The WAPO piece describes lots of different kinds of variances, but not the one in the post. If someone were to ask you how many people have died of Covid-19, would you answer 64,000 or 37,000?

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        1. @Len

          Even the 67K number is understated by at least 20% based on year over year averages.

          Anyone getting hung up on the “verifiable” CDC number is being, at best, pedantic.

          Liked by 2 people

      1. @Roberts
        Your hinting at some sort of conspiracy to hurt Trump based on the fully understood difference between these numbers is ridiculous. And that is putting it kindly.

        Do you really and truly believe that the current number reported by CDC and Johns Hopkins (66000+ dead) is the product of some sort of deep state/ media conspiracy or even that it could be? Yes or no?

        If Yes, then get some help. You need it.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. RE: “Your hinting at some sort of conspiracy to hurt Trump …”

          Only in your mind, but we have already established (above) that you are impervious to knowledge of the discrepancy, even with documentation to demonstrate it.

          RE: “Do you really and truly believe that the current number reported by CDC and Johns Hopkins (66000+ dead) is the product of some sort of deep state/media conspiracy or even that it could be?”

          If I had wanted to say such a thing, I would have. I see the discrepancy as indicative of media bias or selective reporting. That’s as far as I chose to take it. That you see more than that in my post, and even feel compelled to try to force me to select an answer to your binary question, says more about you, I think, than me.

          Like

          1. @Roberts

            As usual you do not even understand the import of your own words, much less what you may read elsewhere. It was CLEAR that the lower number was based only on compilation of death certificates and would naturally lag behind a fast moving disaster.

            It is highly unlikely that you discovered this difference in reporting from two different parts of the CDC yourself. Almost to a certainty one the many “conservative” conspiracy sites that you frequent fed it to you with dark insinuations of deep state malfeasance.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. RE: “It is highly unlikely that you discovered this difference in reporting from two different parts of the CDC yourself.”

            That’s true. I did, however, investigate it on my own. First, I verified that the CDC does, in fact, report two different death counts. Then I reviewed a couple weeks worth of death count reporting in major media, which led to the observations I make in the post.

            Since all of us here are media consumers, I thought it worthwhile to share what I had learned. Should I be flattered that the me of your imagination is so much more interesting than the me of real life?

            I’m not. Your ad hominems are simply tiresome, not to mention violations of the site rules.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. @Murphy

            Trying to reason with people in Jim Jones’ cult was fruitless to the point of children legally disassociating themselves from their mothers and fathers.

            Facts and perspective will be denied and spun to suit the cult world view until the day they die.

            Again, I admire your perseverance and patience…..

            Liked by 2 people

          4. The site with the bigger number has as part of the deaths “COVID with pneumonia” or “COVID with influenza”, etc.

            But here is the explanation:

            A confirmed case or death is defined by meeting confirmatory laboratory evidence for COVID-19.

            A probable case or death is defined by one of the following:

            -Meeting clinical criteria AND epidemiologic evidence with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19

            -Meeting presumptive laboratory evidence AND either clinical criteria OR epidemiologic evidence

            -Meeting vital records criteria with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID19”

            Those unconfirmed by test will not be so after they died. We have been short of tests since day one. So clinical evaluations are the best we can do. And I would say that after doctors have seen hundreds of confirmed cases, they can probably diagnose with good accuracy the rest of them.

            Even more important is that we need to know the scope of this problem. With lack of testing, we have to rely on clinical evaluation. Undercounting is as bad, or worse, than overcounting. Particularly if states are using case and death rates to determined loosening restrictions.

            Liked by 3 people

          5. @Roberts

            Well, thanks for the honesty of your reply.

            I was not disputing the accuracy of the two links. I was disputing your silly implications of asking this question . . .

            “After all, if Covid-19 deaths are half what we imagine them to be, wouldn’t that affect our approach to public policy?”

            . . . when there is ZERO chance that the lagging number is the more accurate of the two.

            Also pretty silly is raising the question of why the media is reporting the actual number. And, I would note that ALL of the media has taken that course not just the “lame stream media” that you despise so much.

            Now, you may take this as an ad hominem response. It is not. It is your ideas that are silly. Time and time again. That is the risk you take when making them known.

            Liked by 2 people

          6. @lenrothman

            I think you are missing the point: Were media being accurate they would at least report that the daily death count, and its cumulative cousin is only an estimate. Media seeking to inform and educate the public should say so. They might even go so far as to note that the documented Covid-19 death count is about half the daily report number.

            When, eventually, the epidemiologists and data scientists start digging into the real course of the disease, they will turn to the documented and verifiable record, the one that isn’t being reported widely at present. Instead of criticizing my post or rationalizing the undeniable discrepancy, you should be thanking me for pointing out a reality that can make you a better-informed consumer of media.

            Like

          7. @Paul Murphy

            RE: “there is ZERO chance that the lagging number is the more accurate of the two.”

            So you say, but without merit. Of the two death count numbers I report from CDC, only the “lagging” or provisional death count is based on verifiable data. The other, twice as high, is unverifiable by nature.

            As I have already mentioned, if you wish to base your reasoning on “facts” that are known to be deficient, be my guest. Personally, I think media could do a better job of reporting what is known and unknown about Covid-19.

            Like

          8. @Roberts

            You think you have found something significant and now cannot give it up. You haven’t. In this environment the tally based on Death Certificates is meaningless. There are countless reasons why that tally is weeks behind. Policy should be based on the best information available and that is produced by the ad hoc procedures for keeping count. That is why they were put in place.

            Liked by 1 person

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