Mortality Estimates Now In Line With Average

A previous Investigative Economics story highlighted how Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates showed total mortality rate in 2020 being substantially far below recent averages even as thousands of deaths are attributed to the COVID-19 virus.

The numbers were based on the CDC’s provisional death counts, which come with a caveat that:

Data during this period are incomplete because of the lag in time between when the death occurred and when the death certificate is completed, submitted to NCHS and processed for reporting purposes. This delay can range from 1 week to 8 weeks or more, depending on the jurisdiction, age, and cause of death.

Since then the data has been updated substantially. Rather than a potential mortality rate 15 percent less than the average, the mortality rate for 2020 is now 1 percent higher than the 2017-2019 average following the peak of COVID-19 deaths.

An increase in the death rate of 1 percent would not be significant as the death rate has increased by an average of 1.1 percent each year since 2010 with a standard deviation of .8 percent.

Over 67,000 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19, not including deaths due to pneumonia potentially caused by the virus. Full mortality data by all causes for 2020 has not been released yet—only 2018 data is currently available—so determining the source of the decline in deaths that might be offsetting the death rate will take more time.