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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

America’s True Covid Toll Already Exceeds 100,000

America’s True Covid Toll Already Exceeds 100,000

The reported numbers leave out thousands of deaths clearly resulting from the pandemic.

Stephanie Keith for The New York Times

Many supporters of President Trump believe that the figures for coronavirus fatalities are inflated, and Trump himself shared a tweet doubting the accuracy of some virus figures.

He’s right that the death toll seems off — but not in the direction he would suggest. We’ve crunched the numbers, state by state, and it appears that somewhere around 100,000 to 110,000 Americans have already died as a result of the pandemic, rather than the 83,000 whose deaths have been attributed to the disease, Covid-19.

That’s my estimate reached with the help of a Harvard statistician, Rafael Irizarry, based on a comparison of death rates this spring with those in previous years. Some states have been largely unaffected — death rates in some even appear to have dropped, perhaps because of less driving and fewer car accidents — but others have seen huge surges in deaths.

Over all, in a bit more than two months, the United States lost more Americans to the coronavirus than died over seven decades in the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

Here’s how we reached our estimates; they are not definitive, for they are based on preliminary data, and I invite discussion.

More Than 100,000 Deaths

These estimates include excess deaths calculated by comparing death rates this spring with those in previous years.“

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