I can’t believe another month has gone by, but here we are! I am back to update state level excess mortality data from the CDC website, pulled on 06OCT21. See previous posts for more details about this data.
First up though, here’s an interesting gif someone made that shows the spread of COVID cases over time by region. Definitely shows some interesting seasonality, and also some interesting data anomalies.
Excess Mortality – How bad has it been?
As I’ve talked to a few people about state level data over the past few months, one of the things I’ve noticed is that some people’s perceptions of the pandemic do not match their individual state. I started wondering if this has anything to do with when the peak excess mortality is, and how long the states spend at high levels of excess mortality. Using the same CDC data I’ve been using, I decided to pull the number of weeks each state has a mortality rate >50% above their average. The data goes back to 2017, so we can see that this phenomena only happened three times between January of 2017 and March 28th, 2020: once to Puerto Rico in September 2017 (Hurricane Maria), and twice in Wyoming (October 2018 and January 2020). I’m not totally clear what happened those weeks.
So this happened 3 times in a little over 3 years. How often has it occurred since the end of March 2020? A total of 363 times in 45 states. The only 5 states that haven’t reached that level since the pandemic began are Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire and Oregon. The US as a whole spent 6 weeks in that range, with 25 states exceeding the national average. Here are those states, and how many weeks they spent at that level (so far):
|State||# of weeks at >50% excess mortality|
|Nevada, North Dakota||13|
|Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee||10|
|Arkansas, California, Florida,||9|
|Indiana, New Mexico, New York City (city only)||8|
|Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York (excluding city||7|
Just a note on NYC vs NY: only one of those weeks wasn’t overlapping. If we raise the bar and look at only states that have at least one week where they had DOUBLE the number of deaths they usually do, we find only 9 states have hit that bar:
|State||# of weeks at >100% excess mortality|
|New York City (city only)||7|
|New Jersey, South Dakota||5|
|California, Connecticut, Massachusetts||3|
|Florida, New York (excluding city), North Dakota||2|
Another note on NYC vs NY: the 2 weeks for NY are also in the 7 week stretch for NYC. Not clear why the CDC reports these separately.
Excess Mortality Over Average Updates
First up, here’s the whole US. It’s worth noting that when I did this graph a month ago, the lowest value was 554 excess deaths/million. Now it’s 739 excess deaths/million. The brightest red a month ago was 4107/million, now it’s 4624/million. The greens and the reds mean more than before:
So who were the top movers this month? Let’s see:
|State||Excess Deaths Above Average/Million 2/1/20-10/6/21 (change from 9/8)||Change from 9/8 rank|
|Mississippi||4624 (+516)||No change|
|Arkansas||3404 (+379)||No change|
|South Carolina||3453 (+326)||No change|
|New York||3177 (+91)||-2|
Note: the NY data here is all of NY, state and city combined. Seems incredible that New York may actually fall out of the top 10 for excess mortality since the pandemic started. To note: there were 4 states that saw substantial gains but are not yet at top 10 level. These were: Georgia (+471, 14th place), Oklahoma (+442, 13th place), Peurto Rico (+407, 37th place) and Kentucky (+390, 17th place).
Excess Mortality Over Upper Bound by State
Okay, here are the states that most exceeded 2 standard deviations from the mean mortality:
|State||Excess Deaths Over Upper Bound (change from 9/8)||Change from 9/8 rank|
|Mississippi||3302 (+443)||No change|
|New York||2646 (+56)||-3|
|Arkansas||2582 (+324)||No change|
|South Carolina||2471 (+280)||-1|
|New Jersey||2452 (+52)||-5|
To note, there are again 4 states who had a top 10 gain in excess mortality, but didn’t make the overall top 10. These are: Tennessee (+483, 11th place), Georgia (+420, 12th place), Oklahoma (+380, 14th place), Kentucky (+327, 21st place).
As always, let me know if there are any questions and I’ll be back in a few weeks! Given seasonality, I’m going to try to keep this up monthly. I’d also ideally like to see if some states start to regress at all. There is a lot of commentary that COVID mostly killed people who were going to die anyway, but so far that is not what we are seeing. If that’s true, at some point some states excess mortality should start to decrease below the norm. So far I’m only seeing slight decreases for Connecticut, Rhode Island and Minnesota, but those are small and could be adjustments.