On Covid, Excess Mortality by Race/Ethnicity, and Geographic Patterns

Link:https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/on-covid-excess-mortality-by-raceethnicity

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And now you can see it — the blue curve for Hispanics has a summer 2020 peak much higher than that for whites, Blacks, and Asians.

I want to note the high peak for Asian deaths in winter 2020-2021.

See that there is a high spike for Asian, Hispanic, and Black in that first NYC-centered wave that we’ve known so well… but a little blip for White. And I want you to think about that a little. Because that really explains a lot of the disproportionate effects on minorities in the U.S. and it goes back to Charles Blow’s question at the top of this post.

The answer to all of this being geographic distribution.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 6 Nov 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Vaccines Reduce Risk: A Look at the Changing Age-Related Mortality Risk of COVID

Link:https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/vaccines-reduce-risk-a-look-at-the

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I will put a few facts in front of you, and you think it through:
– The population age 85+ in the U.S. in 2020 was 6.3 million
– Through July 2021, there were a little over 180K COVID deaths for that group
– That’s about 3% of the age 85+ population

Do you think only 3% of the age 85+ population is vulnerable to COVID?

Pretty much all of them are “vulnerable”. The mortality rate for people age 85 (much less older) was 7.3% for females and 9.5% for males in the most recently available tables. It only goes up from there.

There is a huge difference in mortality by age for just non-pandemic years, and it’s also true for COVID.

There may be a few hardy souls with a base risk similar to the middle-aged without vaccines, but the percentage is not high.

The vaccines have been having an effect in cutting risk.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 18 Oct 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

October 17-23, 1921

Link:https://roaring20s.substack.com/p/october-17-1921

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The prominent German industrialist Hugo Stinnes suggests a fringe dictatorship might seize power because the poorly drawn up armistice extracts too great a toll on the Teutonic nation. He reckons that one of the infant right wing parties could take power some day. Whatever the case, trouble is brewing.

Author(s): Tate

Publication Date: 17 Oct 2021

Publication Site: Roaring 20s

Revisualizing the Financial State of the States: 2021 edition

Link:https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/revisualizing-the-financial-state

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One large benefit of a tile grid map is you can see the geographically small states, which are often more obscured when you a geographically accurate map.

When viewed in this way, with the states colored by their grades, you can see that there’s a Northeastern Rogue’s Gallery, in addition to the expected stinkers of Illinois, Kentucky, and California (also, Hawaii, but many people don’t expect that one.)

But I want to point out that a lot of “red” states, in the political sense, also have crappy finances.

Texas is a particularly bad offender here, with a taxpayer deficit of -$13,100 per taxpayer. It’s not just the “expected” states where pensions are grossly underfunded — mind you, pretty much every single taxpayer sinkhole here has grossly underfunded state-level pensions — but it is a widespread problem.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 29 Sept 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

September 26-October 2, 1921

Link:https://roaring20s.substack.com/p/september-26-1921

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On Thursday, a great article in the WSJ about a relatively new method called “Dow’s theory of indexing” walks readers through the stock market low from one month ago. The writers discuss how the most recent low on the Dow was 60, set in 1915. Because stocks met resistance last month despite awful sentiment, a bottom formed.

Author(s): Tate

Publication Date: 26 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Roaring 20s on substack

Spanish flu v. COVID-19: Comparing the Numbers and Forgetting the Lessons

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/spanish-flu-v-covid-19-comparing

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So, period life expectancy dropped about 12 – 13% in 1918 in the U.S., mainly due to the Spanish flu, because there was an outsized effect from young adults being the main group killed by the disease (also, period life expectancy was relatively short — under 60 years!). That was a drop of about 7 years.

But life expectancy dropped only about 1 year in 2020 due to COVID impacts, and that was a decrease of less than 3% compared to 2019.

So if you want to compare the effect of the Spanish flu vs. COVID-19 on the U.S. population, all of these rates —- percentage change in period life expectancy, age-adjusted death rates, or even crude death rate — are all more reasonable choices than simply number of people who died.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 22 Sept 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Social Security: Benefit Terminations and the Trust Fund Running out

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/social-security-benefit-terminations

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Through the mechanism of the Trust Fund, Congress can put off having to act on the fundamental demographic problem that they can’t do much about. They hope they can run the Magic Money Machine to cover all the goodies they want, and in 2034, the Boomers will mostly be over age 80. Maybe another pandemic will deal with them….

(and nobody cares about us Gen Xers. In 2034, I won’t even be eligible for Social Security old age benefits.)

Nobody expects the Social Security benefits to be cut in 2034, or whatever other magic date when the Trust Fund runs out. The only thing the current Trust Fund mechanism requires is cuts… only if Congress doesn’t actually pass legislation to “fix” the issue.

They have been doing ad hoc “fixes” to Medicare and other parts for years so as to avoid massive cuts.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 6 September 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

A Call for More Proportionality in Pandemic Coverage

Link: https://dicktofel.substack.com/p/a-call-for-more-proportionality-in

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My late wife spent the last two and half years of her life in a nursing home with a form of early onset dementia. While she was in her fifties, almost everyone else there was elderly. In each of the three winters she was in the home, the place was closed to visitors at some point because of flu. This added heartbreak to heartbreak, but it was entirely reasonable. Nearly three in four flu deaths in the last pre-pandemic season occurred among seniors. Someone aged 65 or more who contracted the flu had a chance of dying of it of about one in 120. (By contrast, while more than 85% of the breakthrough deaths are among those over 65, the COVID death rate for fully vaccinated seniors is one in about 25,000.)

That is to say that the risk of death from flu in a nursing home was almost a thousand times as large as the risk of death from COVID to the overall vaccinated population, and the risk of dying from the flu if you caught it as a senior was more than 200 times greater than the risk from COVID if you are currently disease-free, similarly aged and fully vaccinated.

Author(s): Richard J. Tofel

Publication Date: 2 September 2021

Publication Site: Second Rough Draft

August 29-September 4, 1921

Link: https://roaring20s.substack.com/p/august-29-1921

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Pundits, observers, and investors believe the 1920s will be a slow growth decade. High taxes, heavy regulations, wage pressures are the main culprits. (Author note: the consensus in 1921 was incredibly bearish and incorrectly predicted a slow growth decade; the polar opposite consensus circulates today) This editorial cartoon sums up the mood in 1921:

Author(s): Tate

Publication Date: 29 August 2021

Publication Site: Roaring 20s at substack

Every State’s COVID Numbers in Context, August 2021

Link: https://polimath.substack.com/p/every-states-covid-numbers-in-context-cf7

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This region has been the tough one. It looks like we’re on the other side of the case surge in the worst hit states (LA, MS, FL, AL). Daily cases went up much higher than I would have expected, even higher than the winter surge. What has been truly surprising is that Florida is substantially more vaccinated than those other states, about 15-20% higher in adult vaccination and up at 95% vaccinated for seniors. That should shrink their pool of COVID-vulnerable individuals massively and reduce their death rate substantially.

And, while Florida’s death rate is lower than LA and MS, it’s not nearly at the levels we would have hoped or expected. I’m at a loss to explain this. Certain proposals have been tossed around: Florida is an older state, so more of their population is vulnerable. But their vaccination rates (nearly universal coverage among the elderly!) really should suppress this enormously. If a particular age group had +90% vaccination rates, I would expect that group’s COVID deaths to be reduced by at least 70%. Instead, the elderly are still making up the vast majority of COVID deaths in Florida.

Author(s): PoliMath, aka Matt Shapiro

Publication Date: 31 August 2021

Publication Site: Marginally Compelling at substack

COVID and Simpson’s Paradox: Why So Many Vaccinated People are Among the Current Wave of Hospitalizations

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/covid-and-simpsons-paradox-why-so

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There you have it — for this slice of time, the beginning of August 2021, Israel shows that the vaccines reduced risk 80%+, for all age groups.

Yes, if you just do an aggregation at the whole population level, it looks like a 67% reduction. That’s the “magic” of Simpson’s Paradox. For any given age group, the percentage reduction is much larger. But due to the relative risks by age, even with such high reductions, the overall population result shows a smaller improvement.

Takeaway: COVID vaccines greatly reduce risk

This is the main takeaway: the COVID vaccines greatly reduce the risk of adverse outcomes.

By the way, this is also true of the annual flu vaccines, which range in efficacy based on how well the vaccine that year matches up with the strains circulating, and which strains are circulating (some strains, even if you formulated the vaccine perfectly, still infect.) I could give you flu/pneumonia death rates by age groups, and you would see that flu/pneumonia is a big killer of the elderly. Get your flu vaccines, please.

But, we should also expect a lot of people hospitalized with COVID to be vaccinated old folks. Just because of the huge risk slope by age, which will still exist after vaccination.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 19 August 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Mortality Basics with Meep: Age-Adjusted Death Rates v. Crude Death Rates for U.S. 1968-2020

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/mortality-basics-with-meep-age-adjusted

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The crude death rate in 2019, pre-pandemic, was 870 per 100,000 people.

There was a similar crude death rate in 1989 (871 per 100,000) — do we really believe that the mortality experience, across the board, was the same thirty years apart?

This is the reason there is the same crude death rate in the two years: the age structure of the population was very different.

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The main point, though, was that the population skewed younger in 1989 than in 2019. The median age in the U.S. was 38.4 in 2019. It was 32.9 years old in 1989.

In 1989, only 12.4% of the population was age 65 or older. In 2019, we had 16.5% of the population in that age bucket.

The changing age structure means that one can have mortality rates trending down for all ages, but the crude death rate climbs because the population is getting older. It’s definitely driven by people living longer (due to those lower mortality rates), but also driven by fewer babies being born.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 28 July 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack