Alameda County Updates COVID-19 Death Calculation to Align with State Definitions

Link: https://covid-19.acgov.org/covid19-assets/docs/press/press-release-2021.06.04.pdf

Excerpt:

Today, June 4, Alameda County’s COVID-19 dashboard will be updated to reflect
the total number of COVID-19 deaths using the State’s death reporting definition. Alameda County previously included any person who died while infected with the virus in the total COVID-19 deaths for the County. Aligning with the State’s definition will require Alameda County to report as COVID-19 deaths only those people who died as a direct result of COVID-19, with COVID-19 as a contributing cause of death, or in whom death caused by COVID-19 could not be ruled out. Based on data available as of May 23, 2021, this update will decrease the overall number of deaths from 1,634 to 1,223.

….

This update does not disproportionally impact reported deaths for any specific race or ethnic group or zip code.

Close observers of Alameda County’s dashboard may have noticed a substantial increase in the COVID-19 death totals prior to this update, during the week of May 17. This increase was due to a separate quality assurance process intended to correct previously incomplete data; adjustments were made based on additional information that became available regarding date of death and county of residence. These corrections are unrelated to the current alignment with the State’s definition of death due to COVID-19, and some of the deaths will be removed from the updated totals because COVID-19 was not a contributing cause.

Author(s): Neetu Balram

Publication Date: 4 June 2021

Publication Site: Alameda County Health Care Services Agency

California county cuts COVID-19 death toll by 25% after finding some deaths ‘clearly not’ caused by virus

Link: https://news.yahoo.com/california-county-cuts-covid-19-151921394.html

Excerpt:

California county cut its COVID-19 death toll by around 25% after determining that some deaths were not a “direct result” of the virus.

Alameda County revised the total number of deaths caused by the coronavirus to 1,223, down from 1,634.

County officials decided to revise the numbers to align with the California Department of Public Health’s guidance on how to classify deaths. The county previously included deaths of anyone infected with the virus, regardless of whether COVID-19 was a direct or contributing cause of death.

Author(s): Peter Aitken

Publication Date: 6 June 2021

Publication Site: Yahoo News

Covid: Peru more than doubles death toll after review

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-57307861

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Excerpt:

Peru has more than doubled its Covid death toll following a review, making it the country with the world’s highest death rate per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The official death toll is now more than 180,000, up from 69,342, in a country of about 33 million people.

Prime Minister Violeta Bermudez said the number was increased on the advice of Peruvian and international experts.

This was in line with so-called excess deaths figures.

Publication Date: 1 June 2021

Publication Site: BBC News

U.S. Population Mortality Observations Preview of 2020 Experience

Report Link: https://www.soa.org/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2021/us-population-observations-preview.pdf

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2021/us-population-observations-preview/

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Excerpt:

The overall age-adjusted mortality rate for 2020 was 828.7 deaths per 100,000 of population. This rate was 15.9% greater than the 2019 overall age-adjusted mortality rate. This high level of mortality has not been experienced in the U.S. since 2003.

If deaths coded as COVID (COVID deaths)3 were excluded, the overall age-adjusted 2020 mortality rate would have been 737.2 per 100,000 or 3.1% higher than the 2019 rate. This increase excluding COVID deaths is also noteworthy because it reverses the two previous calendar years of decreasing mortality; however, some or all of this may be due to the misclassification of CODs as discussed in Section 6.

2020 mortality rates increased in both sexes, with the male rates increasing more than the female rates. The differences in the increases between males and females were about 3% when all causes of death (CODs) are included and about 1% when COVID deaths are excluded.

The slope of the 2020 COVID mortality curve by age group is not as steep as the slope of the non-COVID deaths, indicating that COVID impacts younger ages more evenly across age groups that all other non-COVID CODs combined.

In the review of the 2020 mortality rates by age group, it is interesting to see that the highest percentage increases were in the younger adult ages, not at the very old ages. When COVID deaths were removed, ages 15-44 saw the largest increases in mortality rates.

Author(s): Cynthia MacDonald, FSA, MAAA

Publication Date: 20 May 2021

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

Mortality Charts by Country and Cause, Karl Pettersson

Link: https://mortchart-en.klpn.se/sexesyrs.html

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Excerpt:

The aim of this site is to give comprehensible information about trends for cause-specific mortality in different population. Charts may be viewed or downloaded after choice of population, age group and cause of death group. The measures shown in the charts have been calculated using open data from WHO (2017), but the WHO are not responsible for any content on the site. For some countries where population is not available from WHO (2017) for recent years, estimates from United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015) is used instead.

There are several other websites with visualizations of mortality trends. One of the most advanced is IHME (2015), which contains data for all countries in the world, and uses complicated algorithms to adjust for uncertainties in the underlying data. On this website, the charts are generated dynamically, and the sites may sometimes be slow. Moreover, the visualizations do not go further back in time than 1980, while WHO (2017) has data available from 1950, for several populations. Whitlock (2012) is a website with a great number of static charts based on WHO (2017). This website is no longer maintained, however, because its creator has died.

Author(s): Karl Pettersson

Date Accessed: 17 May 2021

Publication Site: Mortality Charts

Provisional Mortality Data — United States, 2020

Link: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7014e1.htm

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Excerpt:

During January–December 2020, the estimated 2020 age-adjusted death rate increased for the first time since 2017, with an increase of 15.9% compared with 2019, from 715.2 to 828.7 deaths per 100,000 population. COVID-19 was the underlying or a contributing cause of 377,883 deaths (91.5 deaths per 100,000). COVID-19 death rates were highest among males, older adults, and AI/AN and Hispanic persons. The highest numbers of overall deaths and COVID-19 deaths occurred during April and December. COVID-19 was the third leading underlying cause of death in 2020, replacing suicide as one of the top 10 leading causes of death (6).

The findings in this report are subject to at least four limitations. First, data are provisional, and numbers and rates might change as additional information is received. Second, timeliness of death certificate submission can vary by jurisdiction. As a result, the national distribution of deaths might be affected by the distribution of deaths from jurisdictions reporting later, which might differ from those in the United States overall. Third, certain categories of race (i.e., AI/AN and Asian) and Hispanic ethnicity reported on death certificates might have been misclassified (7), possibly resulting in underestimates of death rates for some groups. Finally, the cause of death for certain persons might have been misclassified. Limited availability of testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic might have resulted in an underestimation of COVID-19–associated deaths.

This report provides an overview of provisional U.S. mortality data for 2020. Provisional death estimates can give researchers and policymakers an early indication of shifts in mortality trends and provide actionable information sooner than the final mortality data that are released approximately 11 months after the end of the data year. These data can guide public health policies and interventions aimed at reducing numbers of deaths that are directly or indirectly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and among persons most affected, including those who are older, male, or from disproportionately affected racial/ethnic minority groups.

Author(s): Farida B. Ahmad, Jodi A. Cisewski, Arialdi Miniño, Robert N. Anderson

Publication Date: 31 March 2021

Publication Site: CDC

The Leading Causes of Death in the US for 2020

Link: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2778234

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Excerpt:

The provisional number of deaths occurring in the US among US residents in 2020 was 3 358 814, an increase of 503 976 (17.7%) from 2 854 838 in 2019 (Table). Historic trends in mortality show seasonality in the number of deaths throughout the year, with the number of deaths higher in the winter and lower in the summer. The eFigure in the Supplement shows that death counts by week from 2015 to 2019 followed a normal seasonal pattern, with higher average death counts in weeks 1 through 10 (n = 58 366) and weeks 35 through 52 (n = 52 892) than in weeks 25 through 34 (n = 50 227). In contrast, increased deaths in 2020 occurred in 3 distinct waves that peaked during weeks 15 (n = 78 917), 30 (n = 64 057), and 52 (n = 80 656), with only the latter wave aligning with historic seasonal patterns.

Author(s): Farida B. Ahmad, Robert N. Anderson

Publication Date: 31 March 2021

Publication Site: JAMA

Temporal dynamics in total excess mortality and COVID-19 deaths in Italian cities

Link: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-020-09335-8

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Abstract:

COVID-19 had a greater impact in northern Italian cities among subjects aged 75–84 and 85+ years. COVID-19 deaths accounted for half of total excess mortality in both areas, with differences by age: almost all excess deaths were from COVID-19 among adults, while among the elderly only one third of the excess was coded as COVID-19. When taking into account the mortality deficit in the pre-pandemic period, different trends were observed by area: all excess mortality during COVID-19 was explained by deficit mortality in the centre and south, while only a 16% overlap was estimated in northern cities, with quotas decreasing by age, from 67% in the 15–64 years old to 1% only among subjects 85+ years old.

Author(s): Paola Michelozzi, Francesca de’Donato, Matteo Scortichini, Patrizio Pezzotti, Massimo Stafoggia, Manuela De Sario, Giuseppe Costa, Fiammetta Noccioli, Flavia Riccardo, Antonino Bella, Moreno Demaria, Pasqualino Rossi, Silvio Brusaferro, Giovanni Rezza & Marina Davoli

Publication Date: 27 August 2020

Publication Site: BMC Public Health

Ranking of COVID-19 among the leading causes of mortality this week, assuming uniform deaths of non-COVID causes throughout the year

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:share:6768145136149913600/

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Excerpt:

1 – COVID-19 2,728
2 – Ischemic heart disease 1,945
3 – Stroke 1,294
4 – Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias 938
5- Tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer 711
6 – Hypertensive heart disease 542
7 – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 540
8 – Colon and rectum cancer 478
9 – Diabetes mellitus 415
10 – Chronic kidney disease 318

Author(s): Federica Gazzelloni

Publication Date: 18 February 2021

Publication Site: LinkedIn

Ohio has underreported coronavirus deaths by 4,000, state discloses

Link: https://www.toledoblade.com/local/Coronavirus/2021/02/10/ohio-new-coronavirus-cases-still-below-average/stories/20210210105

Excerpt:

Ohio reported 3,281 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, which is below the 21-day average of 4,105, while also disclosing that statistics from late last year appeared to have underreported coronavirus deaths by as many as 4,000 people.

The state has reached a total of 928,631 cases and 11,856 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Sixty-three of those deaths were reported Wednesday, which is below the 21-day average of 69.

But that death toll does not yet include deaths from October, November, and December that were omitted and “will be added to the state’s death count during the coming week,” the health department said in a statement.

Publication Date: 10 February 2021

Publication Site: Toledo Blade

Covid-19 Is Speeding Up How Deaths Are Recorded

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-is-speeding-up-how-deaths-are-recorded-11611397800

Excerpt:

When governments realized death tolls were too low, they revamped the way they counted them

….

Weeks after the virus hit Italy last year, doctors, funeral homes and officials realized that government Covid-19 death tolls were too low and many victims weren’t getting included. Informal tallies quickly revealed that thousands of deaths most likely caused by the virus had been omitted. Limited testing left the number of infections unknown, and many people had died outside hospitals, which were the initial source of fatality figures.

Italy’s statistical agency, Istat, scrambled to assemble more reliable information, collecting data from towns and cities faster than ever before. In May, it revealed what people at the front lines had suspected: a 39% jump in nationwide deaths between Feb. 21 and March 31 compared with previous years.

“Normally, they [the data] would have arrived six months later,” said Istat President Gian Carlo Blangiardo in May. “We made an extraordinary effort.”

Author: Daniel Michaels

Publication Date: 23 January 2021

Publication Site: WSJ

Report: Death certificate analysis shows Washington state’s COVID death count inflated

Link: https://amp.thepostmillennial.com/revealed-death-certificate-analysis-shows-washington-states-covid-death-count-inflated/?_

Excerpt:

Washington State’s COVID death numbers could be inflated as much as twenty percent according to a new study by the Freedom Foundation, based on an analysis of death certificates.

In May, The Freedom Foundation, an Olympia based think tank, released a report which revealed that the Washington Department of Health was recording every death in which the deceased previously tested positive for the virus as a COVID death. At the time, the Freedom Foundation estimated that COVID deaths in the state were being inflated by as much as thirteen percent by deaths from other causes including even gun shots victims. After a review of the death certificates, that number could now be as high as twenty percent of all COVID deaths in Washington through September.

Author: Ari Hoffman

Publication Date: 22 December 2020

Publication Site: The Post Millennial