Covid-19 Weekly Fatalities and Excess Fatalities, as of December 30

Weekly Covid-19 fatalities are falling according to CDC estimates, although CDC determined fatalities are consistently below alternatively sourced estimates in recent weeks; excess fatalities have been revised upward.

Figure 1:  Weekly fatalities due to Covid-19 as reported to CDC for weeks ending on indicated dates (black), excess fatalities calculated as actual minus expected (teal), fatalities as tabulated by Our World in Data (dark red). Note excess fatalities differ from CDC series which are bounded below at zero. Light green shading denotes CDC data that are likely to be revised. Source: CDC  12/30/2020 vintage, OurWorldinData version of 12/29 accessed 12/30/2020 and author’s calculations.

In this post from end-November, I predicted a rise in fatalities — not a controversial point among those who were connected with reality. That prediction has come to pass. The recent decline in administratively reported Covid-19 related fatalities could be associated with reporting lags surrounding the holidays. Hence, the recent observations should be interpreted with special care.

My experience with these series is that the CDC excess count series moves upward toward a line parallel to, and shifted upward from, the Our World in Data series (see this post). In other words, excess fatalities could be rising. Upward revision of excess deaths (calculated as actual minus expected) going from 11/17 vintage to 12/30 vintage for the week ending 11/07 is about 8900 (that’s a 7 day total).

Figure 2: Excess fatalities per week, as calculated as reported minus expected, from 11/6 release (green), 11/17 release (red) and 12/30 release (blue). Source: CDC.

As hospitalization rates continue to climb, and in the wake of the massive travel surrounding Christmas holidays, I expect another surge in deaths.

Question: Where is Bruce Hall?