COVID mortality

Explaining the tile grid map:

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Need to post that gif on

The number of deaths was amazing!

I did.

Please upvote!

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I compiled the questions threads from yesterday’s #SOATalksMortality twitter convo.

I was there for the COVID bit - the SOA & HMD folks talked the longer-term trends in U.S. mortality.

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and my own take:

Okay, I crammed enough into one post…

Not greatly happy with the result of embedding the posts from other threads, but better than not seeing the text at all.

This being meep’s blog seemingly I didn’t want to hijack but recently read COVID has now become the leading cause of death in the US claiming more daily than heart disease and cancer combined. Didn’t see a more appropriate thread to post in.

This would be the appropriate thread… got a link?

Sure - Web MD

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Hm, I wonder how much they’re leaning on “a leading cause” and over 45

Obviously on a YTD basis it is not ahead of HD and Cancer but they are saying the current rate of death as reports is exceeding the average daily death of each one separately for some time and is continuing to accelerate such that reported deaths of 3300+ is excess of the sum each of the other two causes.

I don’t have any reason to suspect it’s a biased source or not credible and checks out with daily reported COVID deaths I’ve been seeing recently.

This seems like a better article:

Note it states “AS,” not “IS.”
This shows that unless there are MAJOR deaths (and maybe there will be) in Nov and Dec, it won’t be higher than third overall, and second in a few age groups.
Not saying it’s bad, because a new cause of death coming in third is unheard of. I think.
But, we’ll be hearing “IS THE Leading Cause of Death” for a few weeks as if it were fact.

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What was the leading cause of death in November? How about October? What’s projected to be the leading cause of death in December?

If it’s heart disease, then it’s misleading to name covid for that honor. But if it’s covid, I’m okay calling it the leading cause of death right now.

p.s. The linked article gives covid deaths march-october, and compares to other causes of death march-october. On that basis, there’s more heart disease. But I wonder what the 4th quarter numbers will look like. I’m betting more covid. I suppose one could assume that heart disease is moderately evenly distributed through the year and look up the covid stats by age, but I’m not motivated to do that much work. Sorry.

p.p.s. Wow, there are a lot of homicides of people under one year of age. That’s kind of depressing.

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I need to refresh my graph of COVID deaths as % of total deaths. For certain localities (NYC), I can believe COVID deaths will outrank all other major causes.

But for the whole U.S.? No.

For 2018, here were deaths by top causes:

  • Heart disease: 655,381.
  • Cancer: 599,274.
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 167,127.
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 159,486.
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 147,810.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 122,019.
  • Diabetes: 84,946.
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 59,120.


Heart disease & cancer will still be on top for 2020. The way you can get COVID to the top for the U.S. is by subdividing out cancer & heart disease to more specific detail, like kind of cancer. Or for specific age groups or specific locations within the U.S. as y’all mention above.

IIRC, there are more heart disease deaths in the winter, too (I think cancer doesn’t have seasonality, but now I’m going to go check).

I have no dispute that COVID may be the top cause of death right now. It was back in April. This is a third wave for the country (though often the first wave for many states – defining a wave as a rapid increase in cases/deaths)

Yeah, I’m curious if it will be the top cause of death for the US in the fourth quarter.


Hmm, I’m seeing 320k US deaths to date. And those are heavily skewed towards the fourth quarter. So… Probably.

Cancer deaths, I don’t know about seasonality, but my last experience (mid 00’s) with cancer claims showed dips post Thanksgiving thru Christmas, and a kick up early Jan. Our rationalization: People deferring care for symptoms til after holiday celebrations. Is there a “keep me alive for one last Christmas” push?

Was this on CI coverage or comprehensive medical?

Supplemental cancer policies, which had a first incidence payment as part of the coverage.