U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Is Inflated

“Meanwhile, the Washington Post, New York Times, and others claim that we are undercounting the true number of deaths. They reach that conclusion by showing that the total number of deaths from all causes is about 30% greater than we would typically expect from March through early May. They then conclude that the excess is due to deaths not being accurately labeled as due to the coronavirus.

But these are not normal times. Many people with heart problems aren’t going to the hospital for fear of the virus. Delaying cancer surgeries and other serious medical treatments for months has real impacts on life expectancies. The stress of the situation is almost certainly increasing suicides and other illnesses. Which is not to minimize the threat: Even if the true death toll is now closer to 50,000 than 100,000, this pandemic is a big deal. But we need some perspective. During the 2017-18 flu season, 61,000 Americans died from the flu.”

Timothy Allen & John Lott, “U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Is Inflated,” Real Clear Politics, 5/29/2020.

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