In 2020, preliminary numbers suggest a jump of more than 17 percent in all-cause total deaths, rising from 2.85 million in 2019 to 3.35 million in 2020.
The increase was not all due to covid. At least one-quarter to one-third appear to be from other causes. In some cases, more than half of “excess deaths” were attributed to “underlying causes” other than covid. But whether due to untreated medical conditions (thanks to covid lockdowns), or drug overdoses, or homicides, total death increased in 2020. In other words, total excess mortality is a partial proxy for covid deaths. Whatever proportion of total deaths covid cases may comprise, it stands to reason that if total deaths decline, then covid deaths are declining also. Moreover, looking at total deaths helps cut through any controversies over whether or not deaths are properly attributed to covid.
What has been the trend with these “excess deaths” in recent months?
Well, according to data through mid-March reported by Our World in Data and by the Human Mortality Database, excess mortality began to plummet in early January and is now back to levels below the 2015-2019 average.