US Death Toll

Beginning a new feature.  Just to keep track of the nonsense that has wrecked our economy and generally made our politicians run around as if their fool heads were on fire, each day I will publish the corona virus total death toll in the US based upon the latest data I can find.  A single death is an immense tragedy if you love the person.  However, we are not talking about love, but rather public policy, which should always involve a sober analysis of risk and cost.  Please recall that in a bad normal flu year our death toll in the US can be as high as 90,000.


Note this will be a total death toll since the beginning of this bad farce, and not a daily toll.  Currently, drum roll please maestro, the death toll is 258.

More to explorer


  1. I will play devil’s advocate. If we hadn’t taken the measure that we did take, then what would be the death toll? My neighbor (in addition to my step-daughter and my sister) is a nurse. She told me that people’s panicky reaction is overkill. But she also said that with just 900K hospital beds in the US (actually 924,107 according to the American Hospital Association), a large COVID-19 breakout – even a non-fatal one – would overwhelm hospital resources, hence the govt’s reaction. Steve Skojec of 1P5 posted the following on FB and gave the following link to Italy’s News in English:

    “Since there are still people acting like this is just the flu, a comparison for Italy. The following report, from January, lays out some numbers:”

    ‘Since the start of flu season in October 2019, 2,768,000 cases across the country have been confirmed by laboratory tests, according to data from InfluNet published on January 19.

    A total of 488,000 cases were reported last week alone, signalling that flu season is hitting its peak in January as predicted.

    240 deaths have so far been reported, slightly lower than the expected 258. Most of the fatal cases are elderly patients who suffered complications after contracting the virus.’

    “Between October and January, nearly 3 MILLION PEOPLE were infected with the flu in Italy, but only 240 died.

    Compare that to (checks the daily tally) only 47,000 documented cases of Coronavirus in Italy between February and March and 4,000 deaths.

  2. Interesting. The CDC website shows 150. They update it every weekday. I keep seeing double # everywhere else, and wonder where those numbers come from.
    Also, I looked at the Wikipedia swine flu page. That opened my eyes more too. People are yammering on about hospital beds now, but the Wikipedia page talks about hospital beds and it didn’t seem to be an issue with 60 million US people infected.
    The thing that most makes me feel like this is a manufactured crisis is the newly invented catch-phrase: social distancing. Why would you need a catch phrase unless you were purposely trying to get people to comply with ridiculous rules?
    Lastly, I don’t see how people can not get paid for more than 1-2 weeks, yet I keep hearing April 18 or something.

  3. “Not only is it clear that corporate media can’t be trusted to provide accurate information about an issue of public concern, it’s clear they don’t care about public health or the economy.” I think the Wuhan virus is a real threat. I also think the press is trying to use it politically against Trump. Both can be true at the same time. Joy Pullmann and Glenn REYNOLDS

    Seen elsewhere: ‘a friend forwarded an abstract of a study from the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine estimating that the CFR (case fatality rate–the number of reported deaths per number of reported cases) is only .1%, i.e., one out of a thousand.’

    A Tale Of Two Pandemics: Media downplayed Swine Flu/H1N1 for Obama.

    Look also at past viral illnesses, far more lethal than coronavirus. The fatality rate for MERS and SARS was 34.4% and 9.5% respectively. Neither illness generated as much media hysteria as coronavirus.

    Swine flu, also known as H1N1, happened on Obama’s watch. With over 60 million cases in the U.S., and over 12,000 deaths, where was the vitriol hurled at Obama, compared to what we are seeing directed toward Trump?

  4. LQC-
    What they don’t mention for Italy’s overwhelmed hospital system is that it happens every flu season. Big difference being, they usually don’t take having the flu as a reason to refuse treatment to everyone that is expensive to have alive.

    I got to digging around for the sources of the numbers– the US hospital beds aren’t counted like anywhere else. We use a survey, the nationalized healthcare (obviously) has it under their control. Our numbers don’t include any hospitals that aren’t general access, and they don’t include things like the day-operation clinic where my mom got her knee done.

    As I just posted on the likely total death costs– we may have already spiked:

  5. Thank you, Foxfier. I am still skeptical of both sides of the argument: (a) this is the apocalypse, and (b) this is overblown hysteria. I think the truth is in between the two extremes. Time will tell. But as a nuke, I know what happens when there are no controls on the spread of radioactive contamination. Contagion is even worse.

  6. It occurred to me–has anyone asked the funeral homes if their business is booming? Are they having to reject clients because they have no storage capacity for the deceased?
    I am in a somewhat vulnerable demographic–in my 50’s, hypertensive. My husband is mid 60’s and gets sick easily.
    Our children though are fairly young (college age on down) and have been very negatively impacted by the shut downs. Their friends have been thrown out of work, as have my acquaintances the coffee shops/wineries/restaurant business.

  7. In Massachusetts one person at a (Biogen) conference contributed to half the known infections in the state through conference contact and subsequent household contacts.

    Geometric progression, logarithms, exponential growth are hard for the human mind to understand, especially after 10 days of home confinement with seemingly nothing much to show for it.
    Distinguish between a corrupt media feeding hysteria and a rate of infection without confinement 10, 1000 times greater. Understanding that 10 to 1000 are not 910 apart, they’re adjacent numbers on a logarithmic 10^scale. Imagine hospitals totally overwhelmed. Bidden elected.

    “15 days to slow the spread.”
    This will be over for most of us next weekend, maybe sooner.

  8. Recently many rural hospitals have closed. I live in a rural area where a large non-profit hospital in an adjacent county managed to acquire several county hospitals. Services were then shifted to the larger complex and the rural county hospitals closed.

    Then any competition for new hospitals was blocked when the large non-profit system used its influence to keep the local government from issuing a certificate of need.

    The reasoning behind using a certificate of need is to avoid duplication and increase efficiency. It seems to me that increased competition and having a surge capacity would be a better strategy.

  9. LQC, use the same “reason” used in the coronavirus hype and apply it to your field. So, just to be sure, to prevent a possible calamity and possible deaths of innocents, we better shut down All nuclear reactors and power plants. Existing safety records don’t matter, if it means we can save one person from a radioactive firey death and or harm it will be worth it.

    Hysterical “preventive” measures of “possible” problems seldom make sense when reviewed long afterwards.

  10. In defense of Donald’s POV, the following article ( states this at the end:

    “Health and the economy are closely linked. The correlation between per-capita GDP and health (life expectancy) is essentially perfect. If the covid-19 pandemic leads to a global economy collapse, many more lives will be lost than covid-19 would ever be able to claim. (12/12)”

    I remain skeptical of all POVs at this point.

  11. Good point, JFK. You’re absolutely right. And we in nuclear energy take great pains to contain and clean any radioactive contamination. The limits on permissible contamination levels and radiation exposure are absurdly low, based on the fallacious “Linear No Threshold” model which we seem to be mis-applying to COVID-19. Am I arguing against myself? Yes. Because this whole thing confuses me. I don’t have any answers, and a whole lot of questions. In the meantime, my wife has had a nasty cold for two plus weeks. Her sore throat now demands a visit to Urgent Care (after having seen the physician last week and have been assured she is NOT infected with COVID-19). You can easily see, however, my concern. Numbers are dispassionate things about which to talk. Illness of one’s wife isn’t so dispassionate. 🙁 But to Donald’s point, making public policy because of an underwhelming minority of fatal cases is itself fatal.

  12. Total Recovered next to Total Deaths is a better indicator and more hopeful. Granted the numbers aren’t absolutely accurate but the site listed below is interactive: e.g. as of today 712 Cruise ship Confirmed, 8 Total Diamond Princes Deaths, Total 325 Diamond Princess Recovered.. Search for: Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering. The address should start with

  13. The “death count” would be more useful if we had some other causes of death to compare it to. A number I’ve seen (and used) is 3000 automobile fatalities every month.
    The point isn’t to say it’s more hazardous to your health to get in a car than it is to be exposed to Wuhan flu. The point is we understand and accept risk, period. It’s fear of the unknown that’s driving this.

  14. “No one batted an eye.” Correct, because it wasn’t on the news cycle everyday.
    Remember every night on the evening news shows they announced the death count of our servicemen fighting in Viet-Nam? I always thought it was done to boost anti war sentiment. McNeil Lehrer had a roll call of the deceased. I couldn’t decide then if they were honoring the dead or using it as anti war. A name makes it more real.

  15. WARNING!! MATH!!! What I’d like to see would be a day by day account of deaths, a graph. I would take differences (that approximates first derivative or slope) and then differences of the differences (i.e. second differences, that approximates 2nd derivative or curvature). As soon as the second differences are negative, that means slope is decreasing and we’re turning the corner…anybody know where the day-by-day data can be procured?

  16. Ernst, thanks…I’ve got the numbers for today. I was looking for previous days.. I’ve set up my own spread sheet and will begin to chart this. should have done it sooner. And do you have a cold? (God forbid!)

  17. According to one of the graphs at the web link that Ernst provided, about every 10 days the number of COVID-19 cases increases by an order of magnitude. That alone in 20 days will swamp our medical system. And that was one of my previous points.

  18. And 20 days after that we’ll all be zombies.
    Except we know we won’t be, because the rate of infection will start to drop.
    But the projections are why some people think everybody is going to get sick with the Wuhan Flu, and 3% of us are going to die.

    We’re saving Millions! The cost is worth it!

    Except we’re not, so it isn’t. I’m not even sure we’re saving tens of thousands, let alone hundreds if thousands.

  19. This looks like an interesting read, but I’m not a numbers guy, so, confirmation bias and all that.

    Found it on Instapundit. Saw there’s over 300 comments on the post linking the essay. I’m guessing a third of the comments agree with the conclusions and think it’s great news, a third of the comments dispute the conclusions and think the first third is in denial about our dire circumstances, and the remaining third are the two sides insulting each other.

  20. Ernst, thanks for the link. I’m glad your thirds added up to one so maybe you aren’t so bad at math after all. I haven’t digested all this, but one interesting graph seems to indicate for countries except china and s.korea, the growth is linear after a certain point…or maybe I don’t understand it… further word after a few days. I’m doing a spread sheet (NUMBERS–Mac’s Excel) for # of confirmed cases (US, PA, some PA Counties, S.Korea–control) , deaths. will take difference (approximate slope) differences of differences (approximate curvature) to see if flattening out will start.

  21. I have friends on facebook that post things like “Please, for the health of everybody… just stay home.”.

    Imagine that – friendships being eroded because one person isn’t as whipped up into a health frenzy like someone else is.

  22. “The thing that most makes me feel like this is a manufactured crisis is the newly invented catch-phrase: social distancing.”
    Try Self-quarantined.
    Covid 19 strikes in the lungs. The lungs fill with fluid and the patient drowns. The lungs must be drained every two hours for the patient to survive. The fluid is a bio-hazard for nurses and doctors. New York, New Jersey and California are three hot spots.

  23. Mary, COvid 19 doesn’t do that in all instances and not even in most.
    Influenza, at its worst, can do the same thing.
    Just getting either does not immediately mean “lungs will fill with fluid”.

  24. “What defines this “hot spot” that New York, New Jersey and California have become?”
    Sky-is-falling Democrats and RINO Dewine in Ohio?

  25. Hot spots correlate with population density? Frequency of foreign travel? Presence of International airports?

  26. The article to which Ernst Screiber linked has been removed–just after I completed reading it.
    I hope it will be re-instated or published elsewhere.

  27. eyebrows go up
    Well, I am skeptical of the claimed ‘debunking’ already, since they describe the guy as a biologist– but from his upcoming book blurb, he is:
    Carl Bergstrom is an evolutionary biologist and professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington, where he studies how information flows through biological and social systems at scales from intracellular control of gene expression to the spread of misinformation on social media.

    Strike two in that he decided to keep it on twitter, while complaining about how long the response would take.

    Strike three, he flat out lies about what the author said– in fact, inverted the guy’s meaning.

    Another ‘point’ that is repeating the ‘debunker’s’ false claim.

    Ko, the twitter-idiot is the exact quality I would expect of Washington State’s college system.
    He is either an idiot, or thinks other people are. He’s directly quoting things, and interpreting them very oddly, for NFR.

    Rarely have I seen an attempt at debunking that did a better job of making me support an argument I was ‘meh’ on.

  28. Note: NFR is a sailor phrase, if you don’t know what it means, spare your mind and just translate as ‘insufficient justification’.

  29. You’ve lost me m’lady.
    Are we debunking the linked article medium pulled and zerohedge reposted, or are we debunking this Bergstrom debunked who’s debunking…?

  30. Ernst-
    I’m responding to the “debunking” that Zerohenge put on top of the article you and Nate linked. It wasn’t a debunking, it was…well, sadly, pretty much what I’d expect from a paid educator these days. (Not to be confused with a teacher. My go to example is the science educator who sent my brother to the office because the teacher said snakes are invertebrates, and my brother raised his hand to ask if he’d mean t to say vertebrates. His only job was teaching science, by the way.)

    I give them points for making it so the thing didn’t vanish, but still.

  31. One thing that’s quite anxiety provoking is that the number of new deaths has exploded in the last day, and the number of serious / critical cases has as well. The latter has been a two digit number for some days, and now suddenly the number approaches 800. New deaths stood at 46 yesterday, 112 so far today. They’ve been updating every few hours.

  32. I saw a very interesting video on YouTube titled: “Holding China’s Communist Party Responsible for the Global Spread of Coronavirus—Maura Moynihan” The link is:

    Her comments about the Chinese propaganda offensive and its acceptance by Western media are very interesting.

  33. Oh! I figured out where the boost is!

    New York announced today that they’ve had a total of 114 Wuhan flu deaths, so the program had to work that in vs the prior confirmed deaths.

    Assuming that you and Worldometers are using the same sources, anyways.

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