State Level Excess Mortality Updates – November 10th, 2021

Well hello there! Another month has flown right by, and it’s time for another US excess mortality update. I’ve actually spent my week arguing about Portugal’s death counts (substance use related, not COVID related), but that’s a story for another post.

It’s been quite the month, and I was interested to look back and realize that when I first started doing these posts in August, the estimates for excess mortality put us at between 595,688 and 758,749 excess deaths since 2/1/2020. As of the most recent data release earlier this week, the US is now somewhere between 791,202 and 962,125. The 1 million mark is getting pretty close. If you have questions about these numbers, see prior posts.

Excess Mortality in 20-50 year olds

After my last post, bluecat57 left me a few comments about the concerns about excess mortality specifically in the younger adult age ranges. These are concerning deaths because 1. They are on the rise and 2. There is debate where they are coming from. It will be a while until all the data is in, but here’s the US trend for deaths through the end of September:

So basically during the pandemic we gained about 600ish extra deaths in the 25-44 year old age range, with a sudden jump in July of this year that took us to about 1800 extra deaths every week over baseline.

One of the links went to a clip of someone speculating on the reasons for these deaths, with several possible explanations. One explanation is that this is COVID. One is that something else is killing young people. One was that the vaccines were killing younger adults. Now this was an interesting claim, as the timeframe doesn’t entirely match up. July was on the later side for most people getting vaccinated, but perhaps the claim is there’s a delay. I decided to take a look at my 3 states I go back to: Massachusetts, Arizona and Tennessee. These are interesting states because they are in 3 totally different areas of the country, and have very different vaccination rates. In Arizona, 53.7% of the population is fully vaccinated. In Massachusetts, 70.3% and in Tennessee it’s 48.8%. That’s of the total population (kids excluded until recently) so we can assume that translates in to a somewhat higher number for this slice of the population. So how are these states doing? Here you go:

Starting around May of 2020, Arizona and Tennessee show gains here, whereas Massachusetts does not. Per the state report, around 80% of 25-44 year olds in Massachusetts are vaccinated, and we do not see much of a gain (if any) in young person deaths. As someone in that age group, it is of course relieving to see that my risk of death is basically unchanged since 2019. In Arizona and Tennessee, there are points where your risk of death was 1.5-2x as likely.

It seems unlikely the vaccines are causing these deaths, when we see bigger spikes in more unvaccinated populations than in largely vaccinated ones. I wanted to compare these to the overall deaths in each state, so here is that:

Interesting that each spike in overall mortality correlates to a similar spike in 25-44 deaths except the initial Massachusetts spike. This backs up the theory that the very first COVID spike hit nursing homes hard, and that has not been as much of a problem since then. I was also interested to note that despite COVID appearing fairly seasonal, death rates for Arizona and Tennessee exceed those of Massachusetts last winter.

So basically, I think it’s unlikely that vaccines are playing a role. I would speculate many of these are COVID deaths, or something else potentially related to COVID. As far as I’m aware, Massachusetts had the toughest lockdowns/restrictions of the 3 states (though lockdowns have been done in MA for over a year, unless you count mask mandates as lockdowns) so I’d suspect it’s not lockdown related either. Let me know if you have evidence Tennessee or Arizona were tougher though, as I obviously know my own state better than those two.

Excess Mortality Over Average Updates

Okay, so here’s the visual:

Who moved the most this month? Not a lot of major changes

StateExcess Deaths Above Average/Million 2/1/20-11/10/21 (change from 10/6)Change from 10/6 rank
Mississippi4784 (+160)No change
Alabama4325 (+325)No change
Louisiana4086 (+286)No change
Arkansas4086 (+303)No change
DC3946 (+201)No change
Arizona3846 (+251)No change
Tennessee3803 (+422)+1
Florida3655 (+290)+1
South Carolina3588 (+135)-2
Nevada3480(+324)+1

Of note, New York fell off the top ten list entirely, and currently sites at #17. It’s good to see the top states slowing down though, it’s been a tough go of it.

Most of the states with the biggest gains this month actually did not make the top 10. The top 5 gainers were Idaho (#32, +596), Puerto Rico (#31, +563), Montana (#13, +535), Kentucky (#12, +516) and Wyoming (#36, +500).

Excess Mortality Over Upper Bound by State

Graphical representation here:

Okay, here’s the top 10 list:

StateExcess Deaths/Million Over Upper Bound (change from 10/6)Change from 10/6 rank
Mississippi3362 (+60)No change
Alabama3280 (+276)No change
Florida2912 (+265)+1
Arizona2860 (+201)-1
Arkansas2829 (+236)+1
Louisiana2810 (+324)+1
Texas2793 (+244)+1
Tennessee2784 (+361)+3
New York2760 (+60)-4
Georgia2599 (+280)+2

Again, not a lot of motion except for NY running off the list. This seems fairly consistent with a falling peak: states simply aren’t adding huge numbers at the moment. The biggest changes are again (mostly) coming in states that have actually had lower pandemic numbers up until now: Idaho (#29, +521), Puerto Rico (#40, +496), Kentucky (#15, +457), Montana (#23, +396), Tennessee (#8, +361).

Again, given the nature of COVIDs seasonal interaction here, I’m going to continue to keep this updated for at least Dec/Jan/Feb. With acquired immunity and vaccines going on, it’s hard to know if we’ll see a substantial 4th (or 5th, depending how you count) wave of deaths in the US. Stay healthy everyone!

40 thoughts on “State Level Excess Mortality Updates – November 10th, 2021

  1. People still don’t assess relative danger well. Focusing on overall mortality as a reassurance that you are really safe, despite what all these alarmists tell you, is using the wrong denominator. As an example. We all know a few people who tailgate dangerously their whole lives but never cause an accident. that doesn’t mean that tailgating is safe, it just means that driving is in general quite safe per mile. If you counted up all the tailgaters and the people around them, you’d have more dead ones. Because it isn’t safe.

    Similarly, saying “well, it looks like my risk of getting covid is low” does not mean it’s zero. Yet we tend to look at it that way,because we don’t intuitively differentiate between very large or very small numbers well. Even though we know at some level that 1% is not 0%, we are likely to treat it that way. As individuals, that may not be a big deal. But multiplying that over the 1000 kids in the college you are health officer for, or the 1000 customers each of your cashiers in the rapid supermarket lanes has to deal with and the number gets larger – even as we continue to treat it as zero.

    I see this in how folks look at vaccination rates. At one level, Tennessee and Arizona aren’t that different. But over a whole population, it matters.

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    • Over the whole population we all die. I choose to live life as free from the interference of others as possible. And to enjoy it while I live and not be miserable if I can help it.

      Like

  2. What about suicides? Have they increased enough to make a difference in the numbers?

    Since they seem to be reporting a significant increase of veterans committing suicide would that affect the numbers? Are those among a particular age group?

    As for older folks dying, any chance that the decrease simply means that the “herd has been culled” of the most vulnerable? That is not a very diplomatic choice of words but quickly communicates the idea.

    And they are NOT reporting the co-morbidities. What are the ACTUAL demographics of those dying? Age, ethnicity, weight/BMI (Is that PC enough?), chronic disease (diabetes, etc.). I’d be curious about where they are on the political spectrum. We have the Red/Blue State numbers, but what about Red Dot in a Blue State and vice versa?

    I made this comment over in a Telegram group. (FYI A “channel” is one-way, a “group” is a chat.)

    Total US Population – 333,648,943
    Natural Immunity – 146,600,000 per the CDC
    Percent with Natural Immunity – 44%
    As of 6 a.m. EDT Nov. 10, a total of 194,382,921 Americans had been fully vaccinated, or 58.5 percent of the country’s population, according to the CDC’s data. How many of those already had “natural immunity”? Can you tell if someone that is vaccinated has “natural immunity”? If not, do you add those numbers together and get 102.5% of the population has immunity to covid? Sounds like the results they get from elections nowadays.
    How did they find that 146 million HAD covid if they didn’t test 146 million people?
    Confirmed Cases – 47,911,440 those are the people they KNOW “had” covid.
    Percent that have had Covid – 14% that means either 86% haven’t or they just don’t know.
    Does that mean 30% of the population has had a case so mild they didn’t even know they had it?
    And they wonder why we don’t believe a damn thing they report. Those numbers make NO sense. Maybe it is my math.

    “Did you read it? (the CDC article, this is a reply to my comment above) They estimated that 1 in 4 that had covid reported it. Not sure how they got their numbers but the fact they’re admitting that so many have natural immunity is shocking! All the more reason for NO mandates for vax!”

    So then 56% have HAD covid. 4 x the 14% that tested positive. Makes no sense. The 14% is based in the CDC’s own numbers. So 16% acquired natural immunity without having covid?

    The numbers reported make about as much sense as this comment. You seem to be able to figure out what I am suggesting. I appreciate that.

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    • “Does that mean 30% of the population has had a case so mild they didn’t even know they had it?”

      Actually, the CDC said that 124 million people had symptomatic cases. And with several studies reporting 40% innate immunity to covid (being totally asymptomatic), that should bring the immune population up to around 78% of the total population.

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      • OK, so I does one get from 47 million confirmed cases to 124 million symptomatic cases?

        And wasn’t “herd immunity” 60% at some point before they started moving the goal posts?

        Are all these numbers educated guesses? And meaningless since it doesn’t matter as long as the money keeps flowing to hospital systems and that government control over the population is increased?

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    • So I admit I haven’t much followed the acquired immunity numbers. One of the first papers I read on it (May or June 2020) ended up being wildly wrong in their estimates, and I haven’t gotten back in to it since. My personal interest is not in trying to predict what is going to happen next or recommending policy choices (that field is crowded enough), I am mostly interested in what’s already happened.

      I think the suicide question is fascinating because at least in Massachusetts they didn’t go up at all even during our worst lockdown:
      https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.20.20215343v1

      I can’t find a good data file with them to compare across states, but I was interested because it does suggest suicide is not as simple as “tough environment -> suicide”. There are clearly complexities here I think we should look at. As we’ve discussed, the news can find cases of anything it wants to highlight. Numbers (however imperfect) can often give you a sense of what story isn’t getting told.

      As for the rest of it, the lack of specificity in the data is one of the reasons I like to start with the excess mortality (all causes) and work backwards. If we know that Tennessee and Arizona are seeing 25-44 death upticks but Massachusetts isn’t, we can start to tease out what factors are different between the 3 states. We know with a good degree of certainty the deaths occurred, and we’ll start to see more data come in as time goes by.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We now know that covid vaccines wane in preventing severe disease as well as transmission. Some of the statistical numbers are bogus, because not-fully-vaccinated counts as “unvaccinated” in the stats. And the recovered category is missing from the stats. All this lumping of groups that ought to be broken out causes a lot of misinformation.

    Another cause of misinformation is lumping old data and new data. For example, counting unvaccinated covid deaths from before vaccine rollout in a comparison of covid deaths in the unvaccinated and vaccinated is a mistake.

    And failing to note that the summer wave was primarily the rural folk is a similar mistake. (Vermont, which is the most rural state, is a bit late to the table and is being hit hard now.)

    Another mistake is failing to look for data. We see this in the failure of the CDC to publish autopsy reports of the reported covid vaccine deaths in VAERS. VAERS is a very noisy dataset and autopsy reports would be a great filter to apply to generate a high confidence interval. Then we would want to study under-reporting of deaths and morbidities. There was an attempt to use a system to help the CDC study this, but it wasn’t adopted. Here is the published article:

    https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/61/6/864/451758?login=true

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    • I should add that this lack of scientific curiosity about the VAERS data isn’t merely academic, but very real to people who die from covid vaccines and suffer other adverse events.

      The lack of scientific curiosity will be seen as a lack of compassion by the public and historians and the vaccine manufacturers and their menials in the FDA will be seen as monsters.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Umm. the “lack of scientific curiosity” is NOT “very real to people who die from covid vaccines” because they are DEAD.

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      • May I have another point?
        Rural States Are Almost Entirely Ignored Under Current State …https://www.nationalpopularvote.com › rural-states-are-…
        State Total population Urban‑suburban population Rural population Rural percent
        Maine 1,328,361 513,542 814,819 61%
        Vermont 625,741 243,385 382,356 61%
        West Virginia 1,852,994 902,810 950,184 51%

        And one wonders why I don’t trust any statistics.

        Defining Rural Population – HRSAhttps://www.hrsa.gov › about-us › definition
        The Census does not define “rural.” They consider “rural” to include all people, housing, and territory that are not within an urban area.

        And a quick mapping indicates that virtually all of Vermont is within 150 miles of an urban area.

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    • Well, I’d debate that Vermont is the “most rural” state. Nebraska is 91% “farmland”. California is 25.5%, and Vermont 21%.

      As for VAERS. Not worth the effort of even looking at the numbers. The statistics are so random that other than maybe a broad trend they aren’t going to give any facts.

      The FBI crime statistics aren’t any better. One good thing about the pandemic is that we know know that government statistics are nearly worthlyess.

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    • Oh neat, I know the first author on that paper! I note it’s from 2015, if I get a chance I’ll have to ask her what she thinks about VAERS data currently.

      I agree that the way the categories are getting lumped together is confusing things. That’s why I’ve been focusing on all cause mortality. Fewer chances that deaths are simply getting moved around if you’re looking at all deaths. I’m not as interested if the state is calling something a COVID death or not or saying someone is vaccinated or not, but rather how many extra people are dying in that state. I find the broad claims across the whole US less than helpful, and prefer to focus on more local data.

      For the state population numbers, I’m curious if you have a source for 2021 population growth numbers. I’ve been using the 2020 census levels. I can see this impacting Texas, Florida and Arizona. I’m a little more skeptical about it impacting Mississippi, Alabama or Arkansas.

      For reference though, I did some quick math to see how many people Arizona would have to gain before it’s all cause mortality levels equaled Massachusetts. They’d have to go from 7 million to 16 million in the last 18 months. It looks like the biggest year of population growth they’ve had in the last decade was 1.76%. Even doubling that for last year only knocks them down about 100 deaths/million.

      I think the bigger factor that skews reports for most states is age adjustments, which I did here:

      State Level Excess Mortality Updates – Sept 8, 2021

      At the time, doing that put Washington DC at the top of the list. Have done it again since, but it’s something to consider.

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      • I agree about TX, AZ, and FL. My source was tea leaves–news articles about people from New York going to FL and border surges. If people with covid were migrating to AZ and TX to get health care, that could explain increased mortality in those states. But it’s really all a SWAG.

        I could see age adjustments being a factor.

        Do you have any idea why the CDC isn’t doing any samplings of autopsies on the covid vaccine death reports in VAERS? If the cause of death is questionable, surely doing some random samplings of autopsies would make sense.

        Hand-waving about VAERS data being noisy or worthless is wankery when you have a filter like autopsies which you could apply. I see a lot of doctors who are vaccine cultists who think like that.

        And I have a vascular surgeon buddy who says that he sees two or three cases per week which must have come from vaccines. He sees about the same number which came from covid. The covid cases are much older than the vaccine cases, of course. One of the vaccine cases was a young vet who developed massive clotting in his brachial artery with no history of coagulopathy other than the vaccine.

        He told me of a patient he heard of this week who was in brittle health and needing hospitalization for decompensation and some einstein gave the patient a clotshot just because the patient was there and bad things started happening within hours–atrial fib, elevated d-dimer, etc. The clotshot is no joke. If you’re gonna get it, take baby aspirin per diem for a month. With the new paper showing spike protein interfering with DNA repair, we should keep an eye on cancer rates and look for other sources of confirmation of the paper’s findings.

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      • Yeah, I live in New England and people threaten to move to Florida often in good year, mostly because of winter. It’s hard to tell when it’s unusual, though I have seen the same articles you have. Will be interesting to see the shifts.

        I got interested in your VAERS question, as I wasn’t actually aware of the process for monitoring these. I looked through a few papers and this paper at least suggests that the death certificates or autopsies for all deaths are pulled and reviewed if available, but only 18.1% of deaths had one provided:
        https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.10.26.21265261v2

        Big discussion about death reviews starts on page 7. The data here is for the first 6 months so the rates may have changed, but it does give some useful information about what people’s causes of death were.

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      • The following statement from the paper is problematic: “Rates of deaths reported to VAERS were lower than expected background rates by age group.” The paper ignores the URF, which would put the VAERS deaths over the background rate.

        Relying on death certificates amounts to blind opinion. If you want to know cause of death, an autopsy is mandatory. Using death certificates is merely waving hands.

        But there was still some good data in the paper–especially the concentration of deaths around the day of vaccination. Thanks for the link. I’ll pass it along.

        It’s very concerning that the FDA is ignoring people like young Maddie Garay, who suffered paralysis from vaccination. Her case is considered “non-serious” by the FDA.

        https://thecovidblog.com/2021/07/08/maddie-de-garay-ohio-13-year-old-cannot-and-did-not-consent-to-vaccine-clinical-trials/

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      • Sorry, not my field, not sure I know what you mean by URF?

        I agree we should have autopsies for everything. The fact that there’s not even proof the death occurred for 82% of these is a little alarming. Death certificates are certainly problematic (why I like to focus on all cause mortality), but at least they confirm someone died when you say they did.

        I suspect however that it may be families not requesting an autopsy in many of these cases. It looks like the median age at death was 76, and 25% of the deaths were in people 86 or older. I worked in a nursing home for a few years and it is rather rare for families to request one. That might be part of the issue.

        I read through the link you sent and I wasn’t clear where the FDA classified it as non-serious. I do FDA reporting for a different type of drug (not vaccine related) and anything with a hospitalization involved needs an SAE report. I went and looked up the clinical trial data submitted for the EUA, and it looks like her case is discussed at the bottom of page 30? Obviously it’s not identified as her, but appears to match what was said in the link you provided. She was classified as having 2 severe adverse events and 3 concurrent other adverse events:
        https://www.fda.gov/media/148542/download

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      • URF…under-reporting factor…

        I’m sure that most families wouldn’t want an autopsy, but quite a lot would, if only because they hope to sue for damages.

        I’ll check back later to go through the rest of your comment.

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  4. There’s a problem with including some of the southern states. States like Texas and Florida have had a significant population increase over last year, so we would expect an increase in topline mortality, but the old denominator will be used, so results will be spurious.

    Then there’s the problem of a lag in rural mortality because covid is hitting there last, so rural states will be seen as having lower excess mortality for a while.

    Like

    • Or all the demographic information is out of date and the government knows jack sh.. about the numbers.
      The solution is to let people make their OWN choices.
      Until September, I did not know a single person personally that had died with covid. Then 4, not zero again for two months.
      Let me make MY choices based on the information I have. Let me choose if I want to eat donuts and coffee everyday and zero vegetables or fruit. My body, my choice. Right?

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  5. regardless of the data, bluecat keeps the same opinion.

    I stopped reading after the suicide claim. No, there is no increase in suicide that explains nearly a million dead Americans. Suicides were in fact down in 2020. Such consistent poor reasoning is why there are strong movements that people not have freedom to make choices. I am generally in favor of freedom, but I think an exception should be made in your case. You clearly need someone to make your health decisions for you.

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    • What “suicide claim”? I was simply suggesting that based on all the attention given to claims that suicides are skyrocketing that an actual increase in suicides might explain some excess mortality among certain groups.
      “poor reasoning”? You picked an accurate nom de plume. I’m going to recommend you for a promotion.

      Like

    • Well to my credit, not trusting COVID counts was why I started the whole “all cause mortality” posts to begin with.

      BTW, in the next week or two I’m going to put up a post on a different mortality topic that might be impacting the younger age ranges: overdoses. Those are way up. I forgot to mention it earlier, but thought you might be interested!

      Like

      • Wow, that’s a wide age range to lump together. Any time we have a grouping that big with such radically different baseline mortality, we need to make sure the age distributions in both groups are relatively similar. This is critical because in the US, the chances of a 59 year old dying in a give year is about 110 times greater than the chances of a 10 year old dying (Per the SSA):
        https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html

        In looking at the source data here, they actually note the average ages in these cohorts are dramatically different. The UK rolled out their vaccine using an age based model, so people in the “vaccinated” cohort were by definition older. For example, that first spike in April correlates pretty well with the fact that only people age 50+ were in the cohort at that time: they were able to get a first dose March 17th and thus wouldn’t be counted as fully vaccinated until mid-April. Comparing a group of 50 year olds to a group of under 50s will of course lead to different death rates. The rest of the UK rollout: over 40s – April 30th, over 30s -May 26th, all adults – June 18th. Kids under 18 were all unvaccinated until August or September, when they were offered one dose. None of them are counted as “vaccinated” for the purposes of this chart.

        When they age adjust (which they do in table 1 & 2, not table 4) you find that unvaccinated mortality has been outpacing vaccinated mortality since vaccines were rolled out. I can’t post a graph in the comments, but here are the numbers since January (in per 100k). Most recently, we’re at about 5 times the number of deaths in the unvaccinated as the vaccinated:
        Unvaccinated Vaccinated Ratio
        8-Jan-21 14.3 0.0 N/A
        15-Jan-21 24.1 0.3 80
        22-Jan-21 43.9 0.5 88
        29-Jan-21 56.5 0.5 113
        5-Feb-21 53.4 0.4 134
        12-Feb-21 49.3 0.3 164
        19-Feb-21 38.5 0.5 77
        26-Feb-21 25.7 0.0 N/A
        5-Mar-21 18.1 0.0 N/A
        12-Mar-21 10.7 0.7 15
        19-Mar-21 7.4 0.0 N/A
        26-Mar-21 5.4 0.2 27
        2-Apr-21 3.2 0.1 32
        9-Apr-21 3.1 0.1 31
        16-Apr-21 2.1 0.1 21
        23-Apr-21 2.4 0.0 N/A
        30-Apr-21 1.9 0.1 19
        7-May-21 1.0 0.1 10
        14-May-21 0.9 0.1 9
        21-May-21 0.9 0.0 N/A
        28-May-21 0.7 0.1 7
        4-Jun-21 0.9 0.1 9
        11-Jun-21 0.9 0.1 9
        18-Jun-21 0.6 0.1 6
        25-Jun-21 1.2 0.1 12
        2-Jul-21 1.7 0.2 9
        9-Jul-21 1.9 0.2 10
        16-Jul-21 2.8 0.3 9
        23-Jul-21 5.0 0.6 8
        30-Jul-21 6.5 0.6 11
        6-Aug-21 6.9 0.7 10
        13-Aug-21 5.8 0.8 7
        20-Aug-21 6.9 0.9 8
        27-Aug-21 7.9 1.0 8
        3-Sep-21 7.2 1.0 7
        10-Sep-21 8.0 1.3 6
        17-Sep-21 6.9 1.2 6
        24-Sep-21 5.4 1.1 5

        Liked by 1 person

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