COVID-19 Deaths — It’s Different from the Flu

Total deaths in the 56 weeks from the week ending January 5, 2019 to the week ending July 11:

  • Influenza and pneumonia: 63
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 1019
  • Other diseases of the respiratory system: 0


Total deaths in the first 28 weeks of 2019 vs. the first 28 weeks of 2020:
Total deaths in 28 weeks of 2019: 6,655
Influenza and pneumonia: 41
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 338

Total deaths in 28 weeks of 2020: 7,179 (includes COVID)
Influenza and pneumonia: 22
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 351

There are 19 fewer influenza/pneumonia cases in 2020 than in 2019. Too low to be relevant.

Do I trust these numbers? No. It’s how the death certificates are written. There has been a lot of discussion about how these deaths have been reported, especially in the early days. We see a lot of adjustments, both up and down, in various areas. So no, these aren’t totally accurate. But these numbers give us an approximation. I believe that the CDC has linked these categories together in their info, presumably for some purpose.

Observation: NH had 11% fewer infectious respiratory disease deaths than the average of the rest of the country.

Summary: In the US, 481,647 people died from a contagious respiratory disease in this time period. That’s 37.7% of all US deaths,  more than 1/3 of all US Deaths.

If you pull out the deaths that were reported as “Just Flu” or “Just Pneumonia,” (presuming these are reported correctly!), you get 353,580 cases, or 27.6% of all deaths. That’s more than 1 out of 4 deaths in the US during this time period that has been associated with COVID-19.

And don’t forget the potential impacts on long-term health, and the short and long-term impact on the finances of those who don’t die.