Monthly Deaths in ND

Part of COVID fatigue comes from, I believe, the various metrics used to explain the severity of the pandemic. All of these have their uses but I think, at times, lacked context for the public. Positivity rates matter and had impact, but when it did not translate clearly into other issues it became a less effective metric. The same could be said for all of these. Hospital bed availability was a metric I thought would/could resonate, but it was abandoned early.

To some extent this ended up creating a sense that the pandemic was not “real.” Most of us probably read stories about sick people, sometimes critically or terminally, expressing surprise at the course of their illness. We are far enough into the pandemic situation now that some are calling for a change in term to “endemic” but what I think makes it clear is to look at the all cause death data for North Dakota.

Monthly Deaths in North Dakota, All Causes (1999-2020)

There is a clear break in the data in 2020. As 2020 unfolds we see the death count in at least one month in 2020 go up by more than 67% from the typical value. This is an amazing break in the data and clearly displays that COVID ushered in a problematic situation. The use of the all-cause deaths removes issues of misclassified deaths or of co-morbidities and the questions of the “real” cause.

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