John Hopkins writer says US COVID numbers exaggerated – ‘Total decrease in deaths by other causes almost exactly equals the increase in deaths by COVID-19’ – Article then removed?!
This is via LockdownSceptics in the UK:
“An article in the Johns Hopkins Newsletter published on November 22nd summarised the findings of Genevieve Briand, Assistant Program Director of the Applied Economics Master’s Degree Program at Hopkins. She analysed all-cause mortality in the US in 2020, comparing the data to deaths in previous years, and found, to her surprise, that 2020 was less exceptional that it seemed at first blush.”
Apparently the article has since been taken down by John Hopkins, but is accessible for the moment through the google cache link above:
“The reason we have a higher number of reported COVID-19 deaths among older individuals than younger individuals is simply because every day in the U.S. older individuals die in higher numbers than younger individuals,” Briand said.
Briand also noted that 50,000 to 70,000 deaths are seen both before and after COVID-19, indicating that this number of deaths was normal long before COVID-19 emerged. Therefore, according to Briand, not only has COVID-19 had no effect on the percentage of deaths of older people, but it has also not increased the total number of deaths.
These data analyses suggest that in contrast to most people’s assumptions, the number of deaths by COVID-19 is not alarming. In fact, it has relatively no effect on deaths in the United States.
This comes as a shock to many people. How is it that the data lie so far from our perception?
To answer that question, Briand shifted her focus to the deaths per causes ranging from 2014 to 2020. There is a sudden increase in deaths in 2020 due to COVID-19. This is no surprise because COVID-19 emerged in the U.S. in early 2020, and thus COVID-19-related deaths increased drastically afterward.
Analysis of deaths per cause in 2018 revealed that the pattern of seasonal increase in the total number of deaths is a result of the rise in deaths by all causes, with the top three being heart disease, respiratory diseases, influenza and pneumonia.
“This is true every year. Every year in the U.S. when we observe the seasonal ups and downs, we have an increase of deaths due to all causes,” Briand pointed out.
When Briand looked at the 2020 data during that seasonal period, COVID-19-related deaths exceeded deaths from heart diseases. This was highly unusual since heart disease has always prevailed as the leading cause of deaths. However, when taking a closer look at the death numbers, she noted something strange. As Briand compared the number of deaths per cause during that period in 2020 to 2018, she noticed that instead of the expected drastic increase across all causes, there was a significant decrease in deaths due to heart disease. Even more surprising, as seen in the graph below, this sudden decline in deaths is observed for all other causes.
…the total decrease in deaths by other causes almost exactly equals the increase in deaths by COVID-19. This suggests, according to Briand, that the COVID-19 death toll is misleading. Briand believes that deaths due to heart diseases, respiratory diseases, influenza and pneumonia may instead be recategorized as being due to COVID-19.
During an interview with The News-Letter after the event, Poorna Dharmasena, a master’s candidate in Applied Economics, expressed his opinion about Briand’s concluding remarks.
“At the end of the day, it’s still a deadly virus. And over-exaggeration or not, to a certain degree, is irrelevant,” Dharmasena said.
Folks: I know a lot of you are referencing this Johns Hopkins paper that’s been pulled. Unfortunately it is wrong. The excess deaths are real. Yes, they’re very, very skewed by age, but they’re real. Pretending otherwise doesn’t help.— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) November 27, 2020