Dr. Jonathan Temte, associate dean for public health and community engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health in addressing the argument that numbers showing the prevalence of COVID-19 are overstated, Temte said that’s wrong.
Really? Let’s fact check this – be patient, read carefully, and take the time to walk through the data slowly.
According to Temte, an actual death count doesn’t exist, in part because of statutes such as Wisconsin’s that only require providers to report pediatric deaths from influenza. It’s voluntary to report flu deaths from adults. Additionally, Wisconsin does not require influenza testing to be reported. “Influenza ascertainment has always been nebulous,” he said. ‘In the best circumstances, we can assess what happens within a clinical population.” Temte has been part of a clinic-based surveillance program run out of five family medicine clinics in Dane County over the past 11 years.
Temte pointed to a graphic from the CDC that comes out weekly and reports the percentage of deaths in the U.S. due to pneumonia, influenza, and now COVID-19. During the 2009-10 influenza season, 8.1% of people who died had either influenza or pneumonia. Another bad influenza year in 2017-18 saw this pneumonia – and flu-related deaths peak at 10%. But the week ending April 11 this year hit a record 23.5% of deaths by COVID-19, influenza or pneumonia compared to the total number of deaths.
Temte said each week, the CDC reports the percentage of deaths in the U.S. due to pneumonia, influenza, and now COVID-19. During the 2009-10 influenza season, 8.1% of people who died had either influenza or pneumonia. During 2017-18 those pneumonia- and flu-related deaths peaked at 10%.
First off, Temte assertion of the 23.5% is wrong, it should be 18.84%. Ok, perhaps we are being a stickler for details but accuracy is important. The point is that this number is a cherry-picked weekly number. When looking at the “to date” percentages it is 3.87%. Well within the norms of prior years. I have pre-downloaded and sorted the spreadsheet (see tab 2020-WorkSheet) here – but please feel free to do this exercise yourself. Note that the data could have changed since Temte made his assertions. For the year 2020 according to Temte citation (CDC data) the “All Deaths” rate through May 2, 2020, was 787,181.
Taking the data from the CDC Weekly Counts of Deaths by State and Select Causes, 2014-2018, then selecting for “All Deaths” for the year 2018 through May 05, 2018, you come up with 1,066,832 deaths. I have pre-downloaded and sorted the spreadsheet (see tab 2018) here – but please feel free to do this exercise yourself.
Through the same period, the CDC “All Death” total numbers are 279,651 less (or 26.3% less) in 2020 than in 2018.
So we all become hysterical and make a run on toilet paper? YES, the numbers are in question and our health authorities must explain. Right Wire Report are not virology doctors, but we can do the math. This is also not to say there are not people dying and the COVID-19 virus is not something to worry about. But we must keep it in perspective.
As Right Wire Report has said before, there have been many reports coming in questioning the current COVID-19 death rates. Here and here are just a few examples. Here at Right Wire Report, we have as well called into question these numbers – see here, here and here. Are in fact COVID-19 deaths being grossly misrepresented? Whether the accounting of the statistical data is nefarious or not is yet another question. All this matters, as it is driving many major policy-making decisions by politicians.
The U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April 2020 and the unemployment rate is near 15%. The global economy is heading to a global depression based on data that makes little sense. If the truth of the underlying data is not well understood it will have catastrophic results.