On Accurately Numbering the Dead

So you are a doctor with an 86 year old patient who comes down with pneumonia and dies.   Then you find out that the  patient was exposed to a son who later tested positive for COVID-19 but was asymptomatic.  His 86 year old deceased father was exposed.

What do you as his physician note as the cause of death on the Death Certificate?

Pneumonia or COVID-19?

As of this morning, Real Clear Politics lists the number of U.S. deaths from the virus at 57,037.

Is that accurate?

In the above example for instance, we would not have tested the son for the annual flu. The deceased father’s death certificate would have stated the death was caused by pneumonia not withstanding that he was in contact with a person with influenza.

So are doctors being pressured to list the COVID-19 virus as the cause of death when an old person contracts pneumonia after being exposed to an asymptomatic virus infected person?

Some in our society think they are, concerned that there is an effort to instill fear in our society.

I was going to include a short video included by Dr.  Stuart Bramhall of New Zealand in her comments to me on the post Silent Heroes of the Past.  (https://stuartbramhall.wordpress.com/)   Her blog is entitled The Most Revolutionary Act.

Unfortunately YouTube took down the video about ten minutes ago while I was having coffee for Violation of Terms of Service!  In it a doctor described the first example opening this post – the 86 year old pneumonia victim and how he felt he was being pressured to list COVID as the cause of death.

My father had emphysema from his years of exposure to concrete dust. We had oxygen in the house for him.  He was snuffed out like a candle by the flu in one morning in January 1973.  He as 56 years old.

Was his death caused by his emphysema or was he a flu statistic?

You all know  am a Type 1 diabetic and have been forever.  I’m 77, had a heart attack in 1995 and a stroke in 2004.  Yet I can still live alone on my own, drive, shop, keep appointments, clean a house do laundry etc.

If I suddenly contract pneumonia and die in 4 days after being in contact with an asymptomatic infected person, what was my cause of death?  I personally think my death certificate should list Corona Virus since being in relatively decent condition, I would have still been living at home 4 days later had I not come in contact with the disease.

Yet there are those who don’t agree.  “He had Type 1 diabetes all his life, he had heart trouble and a stroke.”  It was simply his time.  He died of pneumonia.

So how do we know the death numbers accurately reflect the affect on the general population?  Remember these are numbers which are put into various models used to support social distancing restrictions or re-opening of barber shops and nail salons.

Well I:m no expert on this sort of thing and I am certainly not trained in modeling or medicine.  I’m just an old crank living in Florida.  Yet common sense tells me it might be useful to compare the number of deaths in March/April 2019 against the number of deaths in the same period this year.

Luckily the New York Times did it for me last week.

“At least 40,000 more people have died during the coronavirus pandemic over the last month than the official Covid-19 death counts report, a review of mortality data in 12 countries shows — providing a clearer, if still incomplete, picture of the toll of the crisis.

In the last month, far more people died in these countries than in previous years, The New York Times found. The totals include deaths from Covid-19 as well as those from other causes, likely including people who could not be treated as hospitals became overwhelmed.”

Where we found higher deaths than normal

Area PCT. above normal Excess deaths Reported Covid-19 deaths = Difference
Mar. 9 – Apr. 12
67% 26,200 17,192 = 9,100
Mar. 9 – Apr. 12
39% 21,600 14,393 = 7,200
Mar. 1 – Apr. 15
83% 7,600 503 = 7,100
England and Wales
Mar. 7 – Apr. 10
33% 16,700 10,335 = 6,400
New York City
Mar. 11 – Apr. 25
309% 20,900 16,673 = 4,200
Mar. 9 – Apr. 12
41% 6,200 3,197 = 3,000
57% 1,600 84 = 1,500
Mar. 9 – Apr. 12
29% 2,100 1,006 = 1,100
Mar. 9 – Apr. 5
34% 3,000 2,373 = 600
Mar. 9 – Apr. 12
25% 1,600 1,015 = 600
Mar. 9 – Apr. 19
18% 1,900 1,540 = 400


These numbers undermine the notion that many people who have died from the virus may soon have died anyway.  In Paris, more than twice the usual number of people have died each day, far more than the peak of a bad flu season.  In New York City the number has spiked to six times the normal amount. 

The city has become the epicenter of the outbreak in the Unites States.  More than 27,000 people have died since the beginning of March thru the 20th.  That’s 20,900 more than normal and 4,200 more than have been captured by official COVID death statistics.

In many European countries 20 – 30% more people than normal have been dying.  This translates to tens of thousands of deaths.

With an increase in the overall number of deaths year to year for the same period it is obvious that (a) the number of deaths currently attributed to the pandemic are under estimated and (b) many more people than usual are dying.

In short, the number of deaths in the last two months is significantly higher than the normal death rate plus the acknowledged CORVID deaths.

IMHO under estimating the official COVID deaths while not mentioning the dramatic rise in the overall death rates plays right into the hands to those who want to “liberate” America and go back to work.

Or maybe those excess deaths and the rise in sales of bleach can be correlated.


Unfortunately I am unable to link the original NYT article to my blog.  If you use your search engine to seek  “NYTimes/world/coronavirus/missing deaths” you should be able to find t.



About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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8 Responses to On Accurately Numbering the Dead

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I am appalled that the number of deaths being reported seems to be a political rather than a public health figure. It reminds me of Trump wanting the people on the cruise ship to die at sea so they wouldn’t be counted! And remember that non-Florida residents don’t count as dead.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. leggypeggy says:

    I agree that NY Times article put the death count into perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jfwknifton says:

    Last week the UK had twice the expected number of deaths compared with the year before, if I remember correctly. Clearly the coronavirus is responsible. Of our total deaths so far, 90% were over sixty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. beetleypete says:

    I enjoyed the video of course. We do have a ‘certain way’ of dealing with adversity over here.
    The ‘deaths reporting’ seems to be swinging in both directions. Under-reporting the true number of dead one day, so as to make it look like the government are doing something, then over-reporting the next day, to scare people into staying at home.
    The actual figures would be nice to hear, but I don’t ever expect to be told those of course.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. GP Cox says:

    There can be a secondary cause of death, as when people first heard of AIDS. They actually died of pneumonia (or whatever), but it was brought on by AIDS. I think Marcus Aurelius said it best about our situation today…..
    You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone. – Marcus Aurelius

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Chagall says:

    Toritto – hoping you are well. The more troubling comment for me is the mention of the video being taken down for violation of terms of service. This is very disconcerting activity on the the part of not only Google, but Facebook and Twitter as well. We the people should not, must not, tolerate this censorship – for that is what it is. Who decides what is information versus misinformation? These are troubling – troubled times – my friend. In the old days, if you disagreed with someone, you had vigorous debate, or you simply ignored them or allowed them to stand alone on their soapbox. As a last resort you might kick the box out from under them – but not what is going on today.
    Health and safety for you and loved ones. —CC

    Liked by 1 person

    • toritto says:

      Indeed Chagall. The video was included in a comment on one of my earlier posts and I intended to use it in my post.. When I went back for it I found it removed. Pretty sad indeed. Stay well.
      Best from Florida

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chagall says:

        Let us raise a toast to how it used to be, during those early years of the Great Emperor Tiberius Claudius, when you lived and loved on the outskirts of the great Brooklyn empire. Stay healthy, stay strong. Keep loving, remain loved. Best regards, CC.

        Liked by 1 person

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