In a Gateway Pundit exclusive, a study shows that when looking at the mortality rates for all causes this flu season, things aren’t much worse than a bad flu.
Dr. Richard Cross, PhD, provided us the following information related to the China coronavirus. We have been given his permission to share sections of his report:
When it comes to the COVID-19 event, we have been experiencing a serious case of tunnel vision. As we focus on the day to day increase of COVID-19 things could look pretty grim, but as we take a step back and look at the comparative total mortality here in the US, things aren’t much worse than a bad seasonal flu, like that last seen in 2017-18. If you take the New York City region out of the mix, the rest of the country is cumulatively well within the expected mortality.
The estimated death toll from COVID-19 is on track to exceed 120,000 US deaths in the next few weeks. Yet, the majority of COVID-19 related deaths have been concentrated in the New York/New England region which to date includes nearly 50 percent of all COVID-19 deaths nationwide; the hospitals in this region were strained but not overwhelmed in the middle of April. The coronavirus’ effect on New York City has been especially telling if you examine the departure from expected cumulative mortality trends over the last four years in the CDC fluseason cycle.
We avoid looking at the COVID-19 counts, and rather focus on total mortality (by all causes) since this perspective avoids the diagnostic uncertainty of determining the exact cause of death, and does not rely on sampling problems associated with COVID-19 testing or potentially inflated death estimates from the virus.
This study is brilliant because it takes out the CDC’s confusing directive that stated that all deaths should be counted as coronavirus deaths, even if the cause may have been another condition. By counting all deaths, no matter the cause, we can clearly see the impact of the coronavirus on the nation and based on these results we see that the coronavirus was ‘not much worse than a bad seasonal flu’.
The study goes on to report on the New York situation:
The NYC/NJ contributions to total mortality have been so high that if they are removed from the current total mortality and replaced with levels proportional to those found in the rest of the US, the current total US death toll would be equivalent to the death toll from the 2018 seasonal flu. Even including the NYC/NJ mortality, throughout the entire US, the CDC seasonal cumulative total mortality (death by all causes) for the week 30 of the 2019-2020 flu season is 1,750,703, contrasted with the nearest ‘moderately bad’ CDC flu season of 2017-18 which came in at 1,711,357 total deaths at the same point (week 30) two years earlier. This constitutes a 39k mortality increase, most of which can be accounted for by the New York City area. If the annual mortality inflation of 2 percent per annum is taken into account, total mortality for the current flu season will be marginally beyond the normal expected increase, but well within increases that have been seen in previous flu seasons.
Apart from the New England region, there appear no evident effects/deviations from the main expected increase line for states that locked down early and with more stringent requirements, compared to those who had few lockdown restrictions (e.g., AR, IA, NB, SD, ND, WY.) States who opened sooner, (e.g., FL, TX, and GA) are all similarly situated somewhat beneath the prediction line. By this metric, there is little obvious difference across the entire country except for the Northeast.
The relative impact on total mortality of the COVID-19 event in the New York City region was in a class by itself… NYC is so far outside the mortality space of the other regions that it inhabited a different mortality universe altogether. It is well known that New Jersey experienced a high level of excess mortality, by a factor of 8 times its own expected increase, but yet it was still far below NYC, which is over 6 times greater than anywhere in the country.
The NYC mortality outcome is a strong indicator that powerful additional hazards were operating in New York City region, and it also suggests that the actions by the government on confinement contributed to this “perfect storm.” One of the documented government actions that appears to be a major factor is the forced admission of COVID positive patients into high risk facilities with extreme confinement regimens.
Dr. Cross’s study goes on to suggest that the mortality rates across the nation are not much different in normal years because “the vast majority of COVID-19-related deaths occur in people who from an actuarial perspective would have died this year or soon thereafter from a pre-existing morbidity.” This makes sense because the elderly by a large percent were the ones who died from the coronavirus. If the elderly are proportionally expected to die anyways, the fact that they died from the coronavirus rather than another cause, kept the overall mortality rates similar to other years.
The Mainstream Media
The study concludes that the media was responsible for the fear caused during this time period:
Much of the COVID-19 fear was sustained by media repetition and focus on daily and weekly COVID-19 infection rates and putative COVID-19 mortality that spiked in April. Daily and weekly mortality changes are quite variable, and the COVID-19 mortality estimates are partially confounded with total mortality, whereas cumulative weekly estimates of total mortality are highly regular. The growth pattern for COVID-19 mortality was shown day after day, but it was never placed within the context of the total cumulative mortality, and this gave rise to the impression that all the COVID-19 deaths were in fact directly caused by the disease, along with an additional false impression that the COVID-19 mortality was pushing the total mortality well above average for the year. These impressions turn out to be false.
Overall, these numbers are not surprising. The China coronavirus impacted the US little, when taken into context with the nation’s overall mortality rates.
Social distancing doesn’t appear to have much of an impact on overall mortality. Finally, the actions of the governor and health officials in New York caused that area to explode with cases and death, especially when compared to the rest of the country.
(Dr. Rick Cross is a retired university professor, consulting psychologist, and research director in test development.)