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Covid Deaths Numbers and Related Updates

By Gary F. Zeolla

 

This article is a follow-up to A Fraud and a Quack (Two Beloved Covid Antivax Doctors).

 

      This is the last in my series of four articles that I began to write at the beginning of this year (2023) but never got around to finishing. As with the others, now, at the end of 2023, I think the information in it is still relevant. But I have updated some of the numbers to reflect Covid deaths since then. It also includes a note about where the left and the authorities got it wrong about Covid.

 

Holiday Surge/ Updated Numbers

 

      Just as I feared, there was a surge in Covid over the holidays into the new year (2022-23), made worse with the flu and RSV also surging.  It started after Thanksgiving then ramped up even more after Christmas and New Year’s Day.

 

289 deaths, 11/23/22 (day before Thanksgiving)

358 deaths,  12/8/22

468 deaths, 12/13/22

422 deaths, 12/23/22

388 deaths, 12/28/22

317 deaths, 1/1/23

474 deaths, 1/6/23

514 deaths, 1/8/23

580 deaths, 1/11/23

564 deaths, 1/16/23

498 deaths, 1/22/23

521 deaths, 1/28/23

462 deaths, 2/3/23

460 deaths, 2/9/23

398 deaths, 2/17/23

381 deaths, 2/20/23

327 deaths, 2/27/23

538 deaths, 3/5/23

334 deaths, 3/20/23

255 deaths, 3/26/23

 

      It can be seen that sadly, the death numbers did rise after Thanksgiving and remained elevated until well into the New Year. It was not until near the end of March that they dropped down below where they were the day before Thanksgiving. All of that was as expected, as it often takes weeks for someone to die from Covid.

      I had been getting these numbers from the  New York Times’ Covid page throughout the pandemic. But on March 23, 2023, they posted a message saying that page would no longer be updated. That made it difficult for me to continue to track Covid deaths.

      However, I heard some good news on Newsmax on April 27th. On Greta Van Susteren’s show, a clip was shown of Dr. Fauci saying we were averaging about 150 deaths per day. That was well down from the numbers I quote above for Thanksgiving to the end of March. However,  Dr. Deborah Birx was also quoted as saying we were nearing 1.2 million Covid deaths overall.

      Then during the summer of 2023, I saw a comment on a news board that we were averaging 500 deaths per week. That would be a significant drop if it were true, but the commentor did not indicate where he got that number from. But then I saw the following on December 1, 2023:

 

      Covid-19, though, continues to cause the most hospitalizations and deaths among respiratory illnesses — about 15,000 hospitalizations and about 1,000 deaths every week, said Dr. Mandy Cohen, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (AP. Flu)

 

      I heard these same statistics reported on my local CBS radio affiliate of KDKA at this same time. That same report indicated that Covid, the flu, and RSV were all expected to spike over the coming weeks, but that hospitalizations and deaths from Covid were predicted to equal that of the flu and  RSV combined.

      Though both the 500 per week and the 1,000 per week numbers represent a significant drop from a year ago, both still represent a very significant number of deaths. Over the course of a year, that would be 26,000 to 52,000 deaths. That would put Covid in line with the number of deaths from traffic accidents each year of about 40,.000.

      As a previous article in this series indicated, 92% of these deaths are among the elderly. And the sad part is, most all of those deaths could be prevented if senior citizens would get the latest booster shot.

 

2020 vs. 2021 vs. 2022 Covid Deaths

 

      On January 1, 2023, the NYT’s Covid ticker put the number of cases at 100,479,104 and deaths at 1,099,837 total for the pandemic, or about 1.1 million over all three years of the pandemic.

      That is a 1.09% case fatality rate (CFR). I’ve talked much about the CFR throughout the pandemic, by way of showing Covid is far more deadly than the flu. Even now, at this late stage, that is still true, with the flu having at best a 0.1% CFR. That means, Covid is still almost 11x as deadly as the flu.

      That is important as there are still conservatives how claim Covid is “just the flu” or even worse” just a cold.” That is clearly not the  case.
      That said, I previously documented there were about 400,000 Covid deaths in 2020 and another 400,000 in 2021. That means, there were about 300,000 Covid deaths in 2022. That the number is trending down is a very good thing. But 300k deaths is still ghastly and almost totally avoidable.

      As documented previously, the initial vaccines and especially the undated Covid shots are working very well. Thus, most of these 2022 deaths could have been avoided if at-risk people had gotten vaccinated and boosted as needed. That could have been many saved lives. In that case, the death count for 2022 would have been much lower.

      This is important, as Covid antivaxxer will say that the lack of drop from 2020 to 2021 and the not very great drop from 2021 to 2022 shows the vaccines are not working. But that claim misses the mark for three reasons.

      First, in 2020, we were dealing exclusively with the original Wuhan virus. But in the summer of 2021, Delta emerged. It was more deadly and transmissible than the original virus. Then in the fall of 2021, Omicron emerged. It was somewhat less deadly but far more transmissible than both the original virus and Delta. That meant more people would get infected. And that greater infection rate would inevitably lead to a greater number of deaths. That became even more the case as Omicron subvariants emerged in 2022, with each new variant being even more transmissible than the previous one.

      Second, the vaccines did not become widely available until May of 2021. That means, the first third of the year, the situation was the same as it was in 2020, with few being vaccinated.

      Third, the vast majority of those who died after the vaccines became available in both 2021 and 2022 were unvaccinated. If more had gotten vaccinated and boosted as needed, the death count would have been far lower in both years.

 

      A new study by four Harvard epidemiologists estimates that 135,000 unvaccinated Americans died unnecessarily in the last six months of last year [2021] (NYT. Red Covid).

 

      135k lives that could have been saved in just the second half of 202. Multiply that by three for that second half of 2021 and all of 2022, and that is 405,000 lives that could have been saved. In other words, that 300k deaths in 2022 could have been just 130,000 if more Americans had gotten vaccinated.

      That elevated death count is on the Covid antivaxxers. Their false rhetoric scared off even those in high-risk groups from getting vaccinated and especially boosted as needed. That led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

 

Excess Deaths in 2022 in the USA and the UK

 

      The “excess deaths” for 2020, 2021, and 2022 parallel perfectly the recorded number of Covid deaths. That is strong proof the Covid deaths counts were accurate, against right-wing claims to the contrary.

      However, Covid antivaxxers claim the reason the excess death count in 2022 was only a quarter lower than in 2021 was due to the vaccines killing 100,000s of people, not Covid. But that claim is disproven by looking at where those deaths occurred.

      If in fact the vaccines were killing people in large numbers, then the areas with the largest percentage of vaccinated people would have the highest number of excess deaths; and conversely, the areas with the lowest vaccination rates would have the lowest number of excess deaths. However, the date is exactly the opposite. The following is based on data gathered from both the USA and the UK.

 

      To begin with, COVID-19 vaccines have been extensively tested, both during clinical trials and in real-world settings, without showing any significant vaccine-associated deaths that would explain the persistent excess mortality we’re seeing now.

      Furthermore, the comparison of vaccine coverage and excess mortality numbers doesn’t suggest an association between them. If vaccination caused mortality to increase, we would expect to observe two correlations. The first is that the higher the vaccination coverage, the higher the excess mortality; the second is an increase in the number of all-cause deaths as the vaccination campaign progresses….

      The website pandem-ic.com, run by Philipp Schellekens, an economic advisor at the World Bank, compared the vaccination coverage of world countries with their excess mortality. As shown in Figure 6, there was no correlation between vaccination coverage and excess mortality over the period between August and October 2022….

      Altogether, the data contradict the claim that COVID-19 vaccines are responsible for excess mortality. So far, proponents of this claim have failed to bring forth any supporting evidence. As such, this claim is baseless….

      But one thing we do know isn’t contributing to excess mortality is COVID-19 vaccines, contrary to claims by some. As we demonstrated earlier, there’s no correlation between vaccination coverage and the amount of excess mortality, nor is excess mortality positively correlated with the deployment of public COVID-19 vaccination campaigns. Therefore, the evidence available contradicts this claim (Health Feedback. What).

 

      However, there is a correlation between vaccination rates and lower mortality rates, showing the vaccines are in fact effective at lowering Covid death rates:

 

      For starters, this analysis by ABC News correlated the percentage of fully vaccinated people in each U.S. state or territory with death rates, using CDC data. The chart shows clearly that, by and large, death rates are lower in states with a greater proportion of fully vaccinated people compared to those with a smaller proportion. This is inconsistent with the claim that the COVID-19 vaccines are causing people to die at an unusually high rate….

      Figure 5. A chart showing the death rates per 100,000 people in U.S states and territories, based on the proportion of fully vaccinated people. Also shown are the candidates for whom the state/territory voted for in the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. Source: ABC News….

      Overall, these observations are inconsistent with the claim that COVID-19 vaccines are responsible for excess deaths in the young. Instead, the evidence points to COVID-19 as the main cause of excess deaths in the U.S. Rather than contributing to excess deaths, COVID-19 vaccines can instead help to minimize such deaths, given that they are highly effective at reducing a person’s risk of severe disease (Health Feedback. CDC data shows).

 

Excess Deaths in 2023 in the USA

 

      As indicated, Covid deaths have dropped dramatically in 2023, so much so that Covid should no longer be significantly contributing to excess deaths. However, if the vaccines are in fact killing 100,000s of people, then 2023 should have still seen a significant number of excess deaths. But that was not the case.

 

The New York Times reported the following on July 17, 2023:

      During Covid’s worst phases, the total number of Americans dying each day was more than 30 percent higher than normal, a shocking increase. For long stretches of the past three years, the excess was above 10 percent. But during the past few months, excess deaths have fallen almost to zero, according to three different measures….

      After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness….

      Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths….

      Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately Republican and white (NYT. A Positive).

 

      This quote brings out several important points. First, Covid is now “an ordinary illness.” That means we are now in the endemic phase of Covid. It is still a thing, people are still getting sick and dying from it, but we are no longer seeing the surges of Covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths like we did during the pandemic phase.

      Second, 80 Covid deaths per day is 560 per week. That verifies that 500 per week number I saw on the news board back in the summer was accurate.

      Third, most who are dying are unvaccinated. That has been the case since the vaccines became widely available in the spring of 2021. Add in boosted, and that difference becomes even more striking, as I have documented previously.

 

More Republicans than Democrats Died from Covid Revisited

 

      The fourth point requires its own section. Also as I have documented previously, far more Republicans than Democrats have died from Covid.

 

From February 18, 2022:

      Only after the vaccines became widely available, in early 2021 — and liberals were much more willing to get shots than conservatives — did Covid become a disproportionately Republican illness. By the summer of 2021, the gap was soaring…

      As the chart makes clear, the toll has been even worse in counties where Trump won by a landslide than in counties that he won narrowly….

      During the Omicron wave, deaths have risen less in red counties than in blue or purple counties. The most likely explanation seems to be that the number of Trump voters vulnerable to severe illness — which was still very large earlier last year — has declined, because more of them have built up some immunity to Covid from a previous infection.

      But don’t make the mistake of confusing a gap that’s no longer growing as rapidly as it was with a gap that is shrinking. The gap between red and blue America — in terms of cumulative Covid deaths — is still growing. The red line in that second chart is higher than the blue line, which is a sign that more Republicans than Democrats or independents have needlessly died of Covid in recent weeks (NYT. Red Covid).

     For further details and documentation, see One Million Covid Deaths in the USA and Update on Covid Deaths (Refuting Covid Lies by the Right) Part One.

 

Contrary Data

 

      For the sake of complete honesty, there is some data to suggest that excess deaths have remained elevated for younger Americans. And Covid antivaxxers will point to this phenomenon and say those excess deaths are due to the vaccines. But other factors are more likely at play.

 

      Life insurance actuaries are reporting that many more people are dying – still – than in the years before the pandemic. And while deaths during COVID-19 had largely occurred among the old and infirm, this new wave is hitting prime-of-life people hard….

      Deaths among young Americans documented in employee life insurance claims should alone set off alarms. Among working people 35 to 44 years old, a stunning 34% more died than expected in the last quarter of 2022, with above-average rates in other working-age groups, too.

      “COVID-19 claims do not fully explain the increase,” a Society of Actuaries report says (USA Today. More young).

 

      If not Covid, then is it the vaccines? That can hardly be the case, since the rise in deaths among younger Americans has been occurring since the 1970s.

 

      Compared to about 20 other high-income countries, since around the mid-1970s the US life expectancy has been slipping from about the middle, or median, to the lowest rungs of life expectancy. So the relative stagnation in life expectancy in the US compared with other countries is directly related to the fact that death rates have also declined more slowly in the US.

      The US has higher death rates than its peer countries due to a variety of causes.

      Cardiovascular disease prevalence has been an important driver of life expectancy changes across the globe in recent decades. But while death rates from cardiovascular disease have continued to decline in other parts of the world, those rates have stagnated in the US.

      A key reason for this trend is the rise in obesity, as research shows that obesity increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. High prevalence of obesity in the US also likely contributed to the relatively high death rates from COVID-19.

      Another cause is that the US has disproportionately high death rates from intentional injuries in the form of homicides, in particular those caused by firearms. Moreover, it also has high death rates from unintentional injuries, in particular drug overdoses (Science Alert. Unexpected).

 

      Americans are unhealthy due to our poor diets, lack of exercise, poor sleep and stress control habits, illicit drug usage, and other factors.  I’ve discussed all of this previously. It is in fact why I started my Fitness for One and All website and wrote my two books on nutrition and the Bible (God-given Foods Eating Plan and Creationist Diet: Second Edition).

      This sad trend of unhealthy Americans began long before the vaccines became available. In fact, my fitness website was begun in 2003, and the books were written in 2007 and 2017, respectively.

      All of this will enable me to mention once again a point I have harped on throughout the pandemic but which the authorities have completely ignored.

 

Healthy Lifestyle for All

 

      It was apparent to me at the start of the pandemic that obesity was a risk factor for serious illness from a Covid infection. And not just obesity, but one’s overall state of health in general, with diabetes being the most important contributing comorbidity. But I never heard a single authority ever mention this fact at any point in the pandemic. No one in government, no one in the medical field. No one.

      Going back to the person who was in the car accident about whom I mentioned in a previous article, she had been obese since early in her adult life. If she had lost weight and kept it off years earlier, she might not have died from that car accident. And if she had in fact contracted Covid rather than been in a car accident, that also would not have killed her if she had previously lost weight.

      That reasoning of course applies to every overweight American, of which there are many. If at the start of the pandemic, health authorities used Covid as an extra incentive to advise overweight Americans to lose weight, maybe some would have heeded that advice, and many lives would have been saved.

      Instead, the authorities closed down gyms, parks, golf courses, beaches, even playgrounds. All of the places where Americans exercise. Those closures contributed to the “quarantine 15” I discussed previously. Those excess pounds raised the risk from Covid for those now even more overweight people. That risk included the risk of suffering from long Covid.

 

      People who have a healthy lifestyle before COVID-19 infection may have a lower risk of long COVID than their peers, a new study says….

      The researchers looked at six modifiable lifestyle factors that they defined as healthy: a body-mass index between 18.5 and 24.7, never smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, a high-quality diet, seven to nine hours of sleep per night and at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

      They found that a healthy pre-infection lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of COVID-19 symptoms that lasted four weeks or longer. Women who met five or six of the criteria for a healthy lifestyle had almost half the risk of long COVID as women who met none of the criteria.

      “These associations were mainly driven by healthy body weight and adequate sleep,” the researchers wrote in the study….

      Previous research has linked lifestyle factors with the risk of severe COVID-19 infection, hospitalization or death, they noted, as well as overall disease and mortality.

      “In the past decades, scientists have accumulated evidence that healthy lifestyle is good for overall health. However, in the U.S. for example, 70% of the population do not have a healthy body weight and 30% do not sleep enough. Findings from this study suggest that simple lifestyle changes, such as having adequate sleep, may be beneficial for the prevention of long COVID,” lead study author Siwen Wang, a research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a statement (CNN. Healthy lifestyle).

 

      Being overweight was the second greatest Covid risk factor, with increasing age being the greatest. Again, the former was worsened by the lockdowns. That approach was wrongheaded, but I was correct on the need for all Americans to follow a healthy lifestyle to reduce their risk from Covid.

 

Another Anecdote

 

       Let me close this series of article with another anecdote.

      The entire family of a female friend got infected with Covid at Christmas 2021. She told me everyone in her family experienced different symptoms and different severity of symptoms. Her father (the oldest in the family) got it worse. He ended up in the hospital on a ventilator for a week. But thank God he pulled through.

      However, two members of the family did not experience any symptoms, her brother and his wife. And they were the only two who were vaccinated. Her brother tested positive but was asymptomatic, while his wife never even tested positive.

      Therefore, based on this very small sample, the vaccines were 50% effective at preventing infection and 100% effective at preventing symptomatic infection. That leads to the  conclusion to this article and series of articles.

 

 

References:

    AP. Flu on the rise, while RSV infections might be peaking (via Trib Live).

    CNN. Healthy lifestyle may mean lower risk of long COVID, study says (via WTAE).

    Health Feedback. CDC data shows that COVID-19 is a major cause of excess deaths in the U.S., contrary to Exposť article ascribing deaths to COVID-19 vaccines.

    Health Feedback. What can explain the excess mortality in the U.S. and Europe in 2022?

    Politico. ‘On track’: 3 percent of Americans have gotten the new Covid shot, but the CDC director remains confident (via Yahoo! News).

    NYT. A Positive Covid Milestone.

    NYT. Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count.

    NYT. Red Covid, an Update.

    Science Alert. Unexpected Deaths in The US Are Rising at an Alarming Rate.

    USA Today. More young Americans are dying – and it's not COVID.

Covid Deaths Numbers and Related Updates. Copyright © 2023 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org).


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The above article was posted on this website December 11, 2023.

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