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Excess Deaths in the United States

By January 30, 2023Commentary

This is the first in a series for Dave’s analysis of US deaths in the same manner as we examined Minnesota deaths.  In this case we began by looking back ten years.  What is particularly alarming is the trends among adolescent and young adult males.  Deaths took a step up in 2015/2016, sort of plateaued and then shot up during the epidemic.  Note that the seasonal peak of these deaths is in the summer, the opposite of what we see in the elderly where CV-19 hit very hard, particularly in the winter.  I believe these are fentanyl and homicide deaths.

Dave’s notes:

  • We recently estimated Minnesota excess deaths during the Covid pandemic hears, culminating in an estimate of excess deaths by sex and by age group in 6-month time periods (here: Today we are beginning the same analysis for United States deaths, starting with raw deaths counts.
  • US national deaths data is obtained from the CDC Wonder data base (
  • Fig. 1A and 1B, United States Total Deaths From All Causes: In these two charts we simply display the total month deaths from all causes (Fig. 1A) and the total monthly deaths from all causes in 6 month intervals (Fig. 1B). There is a definite appearance of seasonality in the number of deaths, peaking every winter. For this reason, when we get to the point of actually calculating excess deaths, we will analyze Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter death trends separately. We can see that there were abnormally high peaks in the number of deaths in the winter of 2020 and 2021. It is unclear yet if deaths returned to the prevailing trend in the summer of 2021 and 2022, or even if there was a ‘pull-forward effect’, meaning the number of deaths following the peaks were below normal. This is a question we will explore later.
  • Fig. 2A and 2B, United States Total Deaths From All Causes by Sex: We repeat the charts from Fig. 1A and 1B, this time with deaths sorted by sex. The same seasonality is present, of course, that we saw for overall deaths in Fig. 1A and 1B. We can also plainly see that there are higher numbers of male deaths on both a monthly and 6-month basis since roughly 2014, which greatly accelerated during the Covid pandemic.
  • Fig. 3A and 3B, United States Deaths From All Causes by Sex and by 10-Year Age Group, 0-29 Years Old: The higher number of deaths for males in each of these age groups is really quite alarming, Notably, the deaths for the 20-29 age group, both males and females, increased dramatically during the pandemic despite this age group not being at great risk of dying from Covid. We can see the seasonality pattern in the number of deaths as well, especially for the 6 month intervals in Fig. 3B.
  • Fig. 4A and 4B, United States Deaths From All Causes by Sex and by 10-Year Age Group, 30-59 Years Old: The pattern of higher deaths for males in each age group continues, especially the 50-59 age group. The seasonality pattern also becomes more pronounced as the age groups get older.
  • Fig. 5A and 5B, United States Deaths From All Causes by Sex and by 10-Year Age Groups, 60-80+ Years Old: Finally, we have the older age groups. For the 80+ age group the number of female deaths exceeds male deaths, the only age group in which this occurs. This is because the female 80+ age group is much larger than the male 80+ age group, due to the much higher number of male deaths in younger age groups. As for the younger age groups, the Covid pandemic peaks and seasonality patterns are readily apparent.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • D says:

    “I believe these are fentanyl and homicide deaths.”
    If true, that means we are killing each other or killing ourselves. Tragical. Do you think the summer delay could be due to heart-related problems which would not be immediate like the elderly killed by/with/related to COVID?

    • Kevin Roche says:

      could be, but that summer death peak is only apparent in the younger age groups. In the old it is still winter

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