Some Good News About COVID-19Tagged:
We just may be turning the corner.
The indispensable Eric Topol draws our attention to the global excess mortality situation:
First, let’s talk about excess mortality. It’s basically the death rate from all causes observed now, minus the death rate you’d expect (usually a historical average over about the trailing 5 years). Over at Our World in Data, which is what Topol’s using, they track the average death rate 2015-2019.
So positive excess mortality means we’re dying faster than usual, presumably due to COVID-19. A zero excess mortality means we’re returning to normal. A negative excess mortality, such as Japan, means masking & social distancing not only stopped COVID but likely also influenza and other diseases.
So to what is Topol calling our attention? A couple things to note:
- The estimated excess mortality is trending strongly downward, back to baseline. COVID-19 is not over, but vaccination and previous infection have given us some immunity, along with effective treatments like paxlovid.
- The 95% confidence limits – the gray lines – while a bit broad, have a lower limit below 0%. So it’s not entirely unbelievable that the excess mortality is already back to baseline.
So, there you go: COVID-19 isn’t over, but we’re getting a lot better at not dying. Now if only we can get better at not getting sick… and not getting long COVID.
Notes & References
1: Nope. BTW, now experimenting with screenshotting tweets and linking the image back to Twitter, instead of using Twitter’s mechanism. In case, you know… Twitter is eaten by, say, an Elongated Muskrat. Or something.