The coronavirus pandemic has caused nearly 300,000 more deaths than expected in a typical year

The coronavirus pandemic has left about 285,000 more people dead in the United States than would be expected in a typical year, two-thirds of them from covid-19 itself and the rest from other causes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

The CDC said the novel coronavirus, which causes covid-19, has taken a disproportionate toll on Latinos and Blacks, as previous analyses have noted. But the CDC also found, surprisingly, that it has struck 25- to 44-year-olds very hard: Their “excess death” rate is up 26.5 percent over previous years, the largest change for any age group.

It is not clear whether that spike is caused by the well-recognized shift in covid-19 deaths toward younger people between May and August, or deaths from other causes, the CDC said.

The report comes with just two weeks left in a presidential campaign whose central issue is President Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Trump has sought at every turn, including in remarks Monday, to minimize the virus’s impact, despite a covid-19 death toll that is likely to be the third-leading cause of mortality in the United States this year, behind heart disease and cancer. That stance has proven to be the president’s enduring weakness as the election looms Nov. 3.

His Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, has made his plans to tackle the pandemic the major focus of his bid to capture the White House.

“The number of people dying from this pandemic is higher than we think,” said Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, who has conducted independent analyses of excess mortality. “This study shows it. Others have as well.”

The data cover the period Feb. 1 to Sept. 16, meaning that excess deaths have almost certainly reached 300,000. Woolf said they are likely to hit 400,000 by the end of the year. The numbers were assembled by the National Center for Health Statistics, a unit of the CDC.

Outside analyses, including some by The Washington Post and researchers at Yale University, have found two main causes for excess deaths. Many probably were the result of covid-19, although they were not recorded that way on death certificates. Others are probably the result of deaths at home or in nursing homes from heart attacks, diabetes, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease, among people afraid to seek care in hospitals or unable to get it.

Overall, the CDC found “that excess deaths have occurred every week since March, 2020,” with a peak during the week of April 11 and another during the week ending Aug. 8. Those dates roughly coincide with the virus’s surge into the New York metro area near the start of the outbreak and a second major rise across the Sun Belt when many states reopened too soon in an effort to revive flagging economies.

The United States is in the midst of another sharp increase in coronavirus infections, this one centered in the upper Midwest and Plains states. The seven-day rolling average of cases, considered the most accurate barometer, is near 60,000 per day. At least 219,000 people have died of covid-19 so far, according to data kept by The Washington Post.

All told, an estimated 285,404 more people died than would be expected in a typical year, the CDC reported.

While the virus continues to prey mainly on older people and, disproportionately, African Americans and Latinos, the rate of excess mortality among 25- to 44-year-olds was less expected. Among 45- to 64-year-olds the increase was 14.6 percent, and among 65- to 74-year-olds it was 24.2 percent.

The unexpected mortality rate of adults in the prime of their lives, from 25 to 65, has been a source of ongoing concern in recent years, especially since a spike in deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide was recognized.

NIH chief: Trump has not met with White House COVID-19 task force in ‘quite some time’

NIH chief: Trump has not met with White House COVID-19 task force in 'quite some time'
© AFP/Pool

President Trump has not met with the White House coronavirus task force in “quite some time,” the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said Tuesday.

NIH Director Francis Collins told NPR’s “Morning Edition” that Trump instead gets his information from Vice President Pence and task force member Scott Atlas, neither of whom are infectious disease experts.

“I think the president primarily is getting his information from the vice president, from Dr. Atlas,” Collins said.

“Obviously, it’s a bit of a chaotic time with the election…There’s not a direct connection between the task force members and the president as there was a few months ago, but this seems to be a different time with different priorities.”

Atlas is a neuroradiologist and a fellow at the Hoover Institute, a conservative think tank. He was added to the task force over the summer after appearing frequently on Fox News.

Atlas has emerged as one of Trump’s most influential advisers, but he has come under fire from public health experts inside and outside the administration who accuse him of feeding the president misinformation.

Like Trump, Atlas has publicly questioned the value of doing more testing, mask wearing, and has said pandemic restrictions amount to “panic.”

Atlas has also argued that even if low-risk people get infected with COVID-19, it won’t lead to more deaths.

Most controversially, he has praised the herd immunity strategy outlined in a document called the “Great Barrington Declaration,” which calls for allowing the virus to spread among lower-risk, younger people to build up immunity while having “focused protection” on older, high-risk people.

In the NPR interview, Collins urged people to “consider the source” of their information about the coronavirus, and listen to public health officials.

Collins also said the surge of COVID-19 infections is “sadly somewhat predictable” because the U.S. has never been willing or able to get the virus under control and drive infections down to a manageable level.

“We have not succeeded in this country in introducing really effective public health measures, those simple things that we all could be doing. Wear your mask, keep that six-foot distance and don’t congregate indoors, whatever you do, and wash your hands. It’s so simple,” Collins said

“People are talking about, is this the second wave? We never got over the first wave, we never really drove the cases down to the baseline,” he added. “Here we are now with 220,000 dead and we’re going straight up again with the number of cases that are happening each day.”

Deborah Birx Reportedly Confronted Pence, Called for Scott Atlas’ Removal From Covid Task Force Amid Conflicts With Health Officials

Deborah Birx Reportedly Confronted Pence, Called for Scott Atlas’ Removal From Covid Task Force Amid Conflicts With Health Officials

The Monday Washington Post report examined how Atlas became one of President Donald Trump’s top advisers despite contradicting numerous health experts with his proposed pandemic strategies. The report said that between his herd immunity advocacy, his dismissal of public safety guidelines, and other conduct, Atlas’ colleagues have taken a negative view of him, generating “discord” on the task force.

Atlas is a radiologist with no training as an epidemiologist, yet sources tell the Post that he frequently uses “junk science” to dispute the analysis of Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn.

This has resulted in conflict between Birx and Atlas, per the report:

Birx recently confronted the office of Vice President Pence, who chairs the task force, about the acrimony, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Birx, whose profile and influence has eroded considerably since Atlas’s arrival, told Pence’s office that she does not trust Atlas, does not believe he is giving Trump sound advice and wants him removed from the task force, the two people said.

In one recent encounter, Pence did not take sides between Atlas and Birx, but rather told them to bring data bolstering their perspectives to the task force and to work out their disagreements themselves, according to two senior administration officials.

Atlas told the Post the article was “another story filled with overt lies and distortions to undermine the President and the expert advice he is being given.” He also denied that he or anyone else at the White House is pushing a herd immunity approach, which contradicts his previous advocacy on the idea, and he previous got in a “fierce debate” with Birx and Fauci on the matter.

The report comes shortly after Twitter scrubbed a tweet Atlas put out claiming masks don’t work at stopping the spread of Covid-19. Previous reports have also indicated that Birx has grown frustrated with the White House’s approach to the pandemic and the misinformation Atlas has been providing to Trump

The important things to notice is the qualified doctors are being sidelined and ignored while the unqualified SPTV doctor has tRump’s ear.   With tRump’s recent claim that Biden will listen to scientists used as an insult, tRump must believe listening to the knowledgeable people is wrong, it is better to listen to quacks who tell you what you want to hear.   

The fact is herd immunity was tried in Sweden, a country much different than the US, and even there it failed and caused a lot of unnecessary deaths.   The ones who pushed for it then, now say they regret doing that.   We do not even know if it is possible with this Covid virus.   

You might wonder why some would push for this policy of herd immunity which will cause a lot of unnecessary death?  Because those people are only worried about their wealth, their investments, their well being.  And yes I have known doctors like this personally.   Their entire reason for doing the medical that they did was to get wealthy and invest it to become really rich.   

The ones pushing herd immunity know it won’t be them on the front line serving people who might have Covid, it won’t be them catching Covid, it won’t be them left with unpayable high medical bills and bankruptcies losing everything if they get hospitalized with Covid, it will be you not them.    They will be safe, if they get it they have access to the best care,, and they can afford that care.   But what they can not do is make more money, lots more money, if the lower class / the workers / the average people do not go back to living as they did before Covid.    That is why they push this.   They need you to make them money, to make them richer.  If you get sick, have no healthcare, even die it means nothing really to them.  They will replace you with someone else who has no choice but to step into the line of fire in your place.  With no help from the government, no unemployment, no stimulus, no food or rent assistance what choice do most have but to accept the risk?   The risk the wealthy are not made to and are not willing to face.   

Other developed countries did not do it this way, did not ask their people to risk sickness and death.   They gave from the government to the people to pay rent and buy food.   The deaths were limited, the peoples healthcare provided.   Yet in the US we love to claim we are #1, and the wealthiest country on earth.   Are we really?   At what cost?   Hugs

Daily morning cartoon / meme roundup: Doomsday if tRump wins

Non Sequitur Comic Strip for October 19, 2020

About to die


Jeff Stahler Comic Strip for October 19, 2020

Over Covid

Thanksgiving 2020

Moderately Confused Comic Strip for October 19, 2020

Drive in

Tim Campbell Comic Strip for October 19, 2020


Brian McFadden Comic Strip for October 19, 2020

Too late


Editorial cartoons from 2016.   Seems really familiar today.