Quarantine Driving Down All Mortality Numbers

An April 10th New York Times story announced that deaths in New York City were double their expected total. An accompanying graphic showed the number of deaths in the month ending April 4th were at 9,780, far above any other recent peak of morbidity, dwarfing even September 11th.

Yet numbers from the CDC show the opposite trend. In fact, the week ending April 4th may go down as having the fewest number of deaths in the last twenty years.

CDC totals of deaths since January of 1999 vary between 180,000 to 286,000 per month or at least 40,679 deaths a week on average.

According to provisional CDC data, the week ending April 4th, 2020 had only 32,563 deaths, or 4/5th the previous low water mark. If deaths from Coronavirus are removed, then the difference is even more substantial. The data is recent and there is little detail about which causes of death are disappearing during the quarantine.

Compared to 2017-2019 data, the first week of April is 58 percent of the expected deaths of the same time the previous year. That's a significant difference from before most quarantines were in effect. Between the end of January and the middle of March 2020 the percentage difference from 2017-2019 fluctuated between 87 and 95 percent. The CDC data comes with a caveat that the 2020 provisional numbers are incomplete because of a lag time between when death certificates are submitted.

New York's governor Andrew Cuomo announced a quarantine in effect March 17th, and other cities announced similar measures around the same time.

But despite the quarantine and the declining number of total deaths, deaths due to COVID-19 have been growing exponentially. This trend continues despite deaths from a similar viral infection, influenza, dropping substantially during the quarantine.