By Alberto Garcia
The number of confirmed deaths from COVID-19 cases in the United States today passed half a million people, totaling more than the number of people that would die in 2,777 crashes of the now-notorious 737 Max airplanes that were grounded last year after two crashes killed 346 people.
Worldwide, a total of 2,477,839 people have died. Deaths in the US account for more than 20% of worldwide deaths, even though the US only has about 5% of the world’s population.
In California, 49,105 people have died, and a total 3,190 of have died in San Diego County. Again using the comparison to 737Max airplanes, San Diego County COVID deaths would be equivalent to nearly 18 full airplanes.
Even as vaccines continue to roll out and daily confirmed case numbers drop from devastatingly high numbers in January, COVID cases still remain high among vulnerable populations of seniors and those with underlying health conditions, but overall deaths dropped below the number of expected deaths this month for the first time since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Because some COVID-19 cases are not diagnosed or mentioned on death certificates, a better measure of how many people in the US have died during the pandemic may be to look at excess deaths in the country. Excess deaths are defined as the difference between the number of deaths reported in specific time period and the number of deaths expected in the same time periods based on annual statistics.
According to current Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, more deaths than expected were reported in each week since March 28, 2020, totaling 512,000 by January 31, 2021, exceeding the 439,375 confirmed COVID deaths by more than 70,000, or 20% more deaths than confirmed COVID deaths.
Most states in the experienced similar excess death numbers above expected deaths, including California with 24%, Arizona with 32%, Floria with 17%, and texas with 27% more deaths than confirmed COVID deaths.
But New York City counted 60% more total deaths than confirmed COVID deaths were many people died at home without visiting a hospital or being tested for COVID.
More skeptics have argued that COVID deaths have been exaggerated by counting deaths from other illnesses, or even from car accidents, as COVID, but the number of excess deaths beyond expected averages dismissed those claims as misleading. Regardless of cause of death, more than 500,000 more people have died in the last year than would otherwise be expected in an average year.
For comparison, a total of 2.84 million people died in 2019, and 2.83 million people died in 2018.
2020 saw nearly 3.3 million people die, marking the first year ever that the US lost more than 3 million in one year.
The 1918-1919 Spanish Flu pandemic killed 675,000 people.