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article imageWednesday was our deadliest COVID-19 day in months

By Karen Graham     Aug 13, 2020 in Health
As the United States reported its highest number of deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day since mid-May, President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued to press for children to return to school, and for athletes to fill stadiums.
“We’ve got to open up our schools and open up our businesses,” Trump said at an evening news conference at the White House, adding that he wanted to see a college football season this fall. “Let them play,” he said. Trump also revived his threat to divert federal funds from schools that don't reopen.
All this occurred while the nation was compiling its highest number of deaths in a single day since mid-May, at nearly 1,500. The country has now seen its seven-day average of newly reported deaths remain above 1,000 for 17 consecutive days, reports the Washington Post.
According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, as of Thursday morning, the U.S. now has 5, 201,233 coronavirus cases and 166,118 deaths.
Excess deaths by week in the U.S.
Excess deaths by week in the U.S.
The true coronavirus death toll
The true coronavirus death toll in the US, however, may have already passed 200,000, according to a New York Times analysis of what are referred to as "excess deaths."
The NYT numbers are based on an analysis of estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on the CDC's estimates, the death toll from COVID-19 is more like 200,000 or about 60,000 higher than what is being reported.
The CDC defines "excess deaths" as "the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods and expected numbers of deaths in the same time periods. This visualization provides weekly estimates of excess deaths by the jurisdiction in which the death occurred."
What does this mean? As the pandemic has moved to the west and south - so have the usual patterns of deaths, not just from the coronavirus, but all deaths. This means the official death counts may be underestimating the overall effects of the virus, as people die from the virus as well as by other causes linked to the pandemic.
The CDC points out that estimates of excess deaths reported may not be due to COVID-19, either directly or indirectly. The pandemic may have changed mortality patterns for other causes of death. Upward trends in other causes of death - like suicide, drug overdose, or heart disease need to be taken into account on a state-by-state basis, along with other parameters.
More about coronavirus, US deaths, one day total, hot spots, Covid19
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