Deaths, Data and COVID-19: A Deadly Dose of Daily Confusion

We need to beat the fear and the only way to do that is with the truth. Truth packaged in clear and understandable data an analysis. Ask any one of the Rational Ground team members what brought them over to “Team Reality” and the answer will be something like: “I saw a lot of really bad data being thrown around.”

When you see news reports blast out headlines like “Florida Reports Hundreds Dead” or “US Hits Another Milestone with 1000 New COVID-19 Deaths” – consider Florida hasn’t had more than 100 deaths a day in over a month and nation-wide we haven’t seen 1000 deaths a day on average since early August. These type of headlines unleash a flurry of worry and fear among our neighbors, friends and family and it has to stop! The impact of this isn’t just theoretical. 85% of live organ transplants were never performed during the pandemic. A third of children in Virginia went without regular inoculations and vaccines. The list goes on!

Because of reporting lags, deaths have to roll up from hospital or other healthcare providers –> up to the county –> up to the state –> and finally up to the popular dashboards you follow. To make this clear we’ve created an interactive set of Tableau charts using data form the incredibly capable and persistent Kyle Lamb and his rainbow chart comparing deaths added per week.

Basically, Kyle has been dutifully pulling the down the CDC data on confirmed deaths by week and then compiling those to show the differences. For example, for week 36 (week ending 8/29) The CDC shows 4,390 deaths added but they layer into the past like a blanket over a dateline.

Take a look. Click on a week number over the right.
Check the other tabs too… we think you’ll enjoy this!