Excess Deaths

The topic of excess deaths has been reported by a variety of new sources. This is a fairly recent analysis by the BBC (June 17):

From https://www.bbc.com/news/world-53073046:

A review of preliminary mortality data from 27 countries shows that in many places the number of overall deaths during the pandemic has been higher than normal, even when accounting for the virus.

Excess deaths are calculated by comparing the total number of deaths from all causes in a given period of time in one year to the same period of time in previous years as well as historical averages. It is, arguably, the most accurate way we have at present to assess the true toll of COVID-19 on national and international mortality.

Because testing rates vary so widely around the country and the world, it is very difficult to determine the true meaning of reported daily increases in the number of cases. Because many people nationally and worldwide who die of coronavirus are reported as having died of some other cause, there’s also definitely some underreporting of coronavirus deaths. So, changes in that number also leave a lot to be desired. Hospital capacity and the number of people in the hospitals who are recorded as dying of COVID-19 are both useful pieces of data. However, they also don’t tell the full story.

Excess deaths do not tell you exactly how many people died of the coronavirus infection. However, they do tell you the full toll of the impact of the pandemic on mortality, some (more likely most) of which is due to unreported deaths from the virus. Some of which is due to people with other conditions being unable or unwilling to get the care that they need. The article from the BBC does a pretty deep dive into all of this.