Over the weekend I have been thinking about reference points for the current COVID19 pandemic and how that has compared to other periods in modern history. I’m talking here about the pure mortality rates from COIVD19, not the economic impacts.
We have all heard horrific things like convention centers turning into morgues in NYC and Italy, and I wanted to flesh out how true that would be on the surface. My thought was to find how many people die on an average non-COIVD day, so any given day in 2019, for example. Here are the numbers I came up with presented without commentary. Commentary to follow the images.
First, an explanation of these four tables and then commentary.
Table 1 shows the causes of death in the state of New York. Currently in 2020 the CIA estimates the mortality rate of the USA to be 830 per 100,000 — meaning that in the year 2020 if you take a group of 100,000 Americans 830 will die at some point in the year (the 830 was a pre-COIVD rate). So using the state population of New York of 20 million, you can see the number of New Yorkers that die in any given day to heart disease (69) or road injury (10). Total daily NY non-COIVD deaths equal 455. On Easter the NY COVID deaths was 755. Meaning COIVD caused a 150% jump in the daily deaths.
What other event caused around a 150% jump in daily deaths? How about Germany during WW2. Using the same logic, in Germany in the early 1940s you should have had about 3,500 Germans dying each day, but the WW2 deaths were another 5,000 daily on top of that.
So in that light New York’s current outbreak is similar in daily magnitude to Germany’s experience in WW2 (not good).
Now, take another place that is not a current epicenter like Italy and NYC have been — take Texas. In table 3 we see daily expected deaths in Texas are 659, and there were 11 COIVD deaths on Easter 2020 in Texas, so the total went from about 660 to about 670, or a 2% increase (unlike NY’s 150% increase). What else has about a 2% increase? The USA’s daily death total in WW2. In the US each day in 1940 about 8,000 people died, and an additional 500 died from the war for about a 2% increase.