US COVID Daily Deaths Tracking Towards More Pessimistic Models

This is an update on the projection that the US will reach 500,000 cumulative COVID deaths according to the Worldometer tracking. Worldometers reporting about 489,571 deaths on February 11, 2021. John Hopkins reports 471,567 total US COVID deaths as of February 10, 2021, 475k on Feb 11 and 478k as of Feb 12. John Hopkins will report the US reaching 500K cumulative COVID deaths about 3 days after Worldometers.

The pandemic is a horrible tragedy. This article is merely an attempt to objectively look at what the latest numbers and forecasts are telling us about the course of the pandemic. I hope for better scenarios where the vaccines and improving treatments enable an end to the pandemic.

Here are the three main points from the daily data and the forecasts:
* The daily US death numbers are concerning in that we are already trending toward more pessimistic forecasts and scenarios.
* February 2021 is tracking to the more pessimistic models. Will better-confirmed daily case numbers translate to better results and scenarios in March, April and May?
* If the current vaccines are working as hoped and the mutated COVID variants are not as bad as feared then there will not be an increase of cases and deaths in April and May in the USA (or elsewhere in the world). If the cases and deaths start trending up again in April or at any point then the optimistic scenarios around the current vaccines are not happening.

Getting below 2000 daily deaths by March 6 would indicate better scenarios might be unfolding and it would be really good if US daily deaths (7-day moving average) were to get below 1500 daily deaths at that point.

The daily infection counts are less precise because testing is missing many of the actual infections. Getting to lower positive daily confirmed cases is hopeful. Having 80,000 to 100,000 daily cases for 3-4 weeks, should see daily deaths drop down to 1000 per day or less based upon 40,000 daily cases in September, 2020.

The South African variant (aka 501.V2 or B.1.351) is currently the most concerning variant. However, this emerged in mid-2020 and scientific reports tracking mutations indicate there was an increase in mutations in December 2020. The pace of mutations increased from mid-2020 to today. This is likely why the CEO of Pfizer (one of the main vaccine producers) indicated there was a high probability that current vaccines would fail against new variants. It will not be the South Africa variant but new variants emerging December, 2020 or later.

Fivethirtyeight has a summary of all US COVID death projection models.

The March 6, 2021 projections cumulative range from 512K to 546K. Worldometers reports 483K deaths as of Feb 10, 2021. John Hopkins reported 3219 deaths on February 11, 2021.

The IHME (University of Washington) model is on the low end of the various projection models. They projected daily deaths on Feb 11, 2021 at 2477. The seven-day moving average is at 2819. Weekend numbers are underreported. IHME expected daily deaths to drop below 2800 on Feb 3, 2021.

The cumulative deaths from Jan 30, 2021 to Feb 12, 2021 is about 39,000 while the IHME model projected 35,000.

Unfortunately, the US is currently tracking towards the Georgia Tech projection of 530-535k cumulative US COVID deaths on March 6, 2021 (per the John Hopkins count).

There are 94 forecasting sources at the COVID forecast hub.

February 2021 is tracking to the more pessimistic models. Will better-confirmed daily case numbers translate to better results and scenarios in March, April and May?

SOURCES- FiveThirtyEight, John Hopkins, IHME, Worldometers, COVID forecast hub
Written By Brian Wang,

40 thoughts on “US COVID Daily Deaths Tracking Towards More Pessimistic Models”

  1. Nonsense. Another conspiracy theory lover pushing the idea that it all could have been easily prevented by cheap medicine, but the evil communist big pharma corporations (yes, because big capitalist corporations now are communist) manipulated ALL studies that showed HQC, zinc and Vitamin D were not really effective besides anedoctal evidence.

  2. First of, vaccines have a CONTAGION efficacy rate.

    Meaning that that % will NOT get the diseases. The other % may still get the disease.

    Which is why vaccines depend on HERD immunity (over 70% of people vaccinated, but preferably higher, depending on the contagion efficacy rate of the vaccine).

    If 99% of people get vaccinated with a 70% efficacy rate vaccine, if you are one of the few people who COULD NOT take a vaccine (lets say you are fighting leukemia) or you are one of the 30% where the vaccine was NOT effective, then you will have to have contact with another person was ni the 30% part that it was not effective. But that person must have caught it from someone else where it was also not effective. So chances of you getting it reduce dramatically.

    Then there is also the protection against serious disease.

    Because… what does "immunity" means? It means your body learned to fight against the disease, by recognizing proteins in the viruses.

    But the immune system is a complex thing. It's not black and white.

    Viruses can still enter your body… but your body will recognize it FASTER and fight it faster and keep it under control. While on unvaccinated people, usually the virus will multiplicate OUT OF CONTROL before the body learns to fight it.

  3. Top 15 countries in deaths by 100k

    Montenegro and Belgium high on the list. Seems like your pet theory of lead and milk consumption removing it hold no water… or hold no milk.
    1 Gibraltar 2,583
    2 San Marino 2,119
    3 Belgium 1,872
    4 Slovenia 1,801
    5 UK 1,746
    6 Czechia 1,734
    7 Italy 1,565
    8 Portugal 1,538
    9 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,514
    10 USA 1,506
    11 Montenegro 1,458
    12 North Macedonia 1,445
    13 Hungary 1,444
    14 Spain 1,411
    15 Bulgaria 1,403

  4. HQC can be dangerous to people with heart problems. It is a poison for people like me, who have G6PD. Vitamin D would have greatly decrease the number of deaths. I am still shock that no one in authority is pushing it. I guess not enough money in it.

  5. Coronaviruses have a nasty tendency to cause ADE. Absent a mutation that causes people who have had the previous version of SARS-CoV-2 to have a high mortality from ADE, this will just be a cold like OC43 in a couple of years.

  6. Temperature does not seem that important. Low relative humidity is what causes respiratory droplets to dry ("droplet nuclei") which float around in the air for a lot longer and a lot farther.

    Low humidity can be caused by cold outdoor air being warmed (results in very low relative humidity). It can also be caused by things like air conditioning.

    This seasonal effect is not *huge*. For influenza basically nobody cares unless they are elderly, in which case they take the flu shot and are hopefully a bit careful. The Rt doesn't have to be a lot above 1 for it to spread and it doesn't have to be a lot below 1 for it to die down.

    For a new virus like this one the lack of existing immunity, new variants that are more infectious and things like behavioral changes can swamp seasonal variations.

  7. Further. Milk consumption helps remove lead (the calcium in it). So, that should attenuate deaths if lead is involved. The top milk consumers per capita are: Finland, Montenegro, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Albania, Lithuania, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Denmark, & Norway. 
    "An estimated 30 million to 50 million American adults are lactose intolerant. The pattern of primary lactose intolerance appears to have a genetic component, and specific populations show high levels of intolerance, including approximately: 95 percent of Asians, 60 percent to 80 percent of African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews, 80 percent to 100 percent of American Indians, and 50 percent to 80 percent of Hispanics. Lactose intolerance is least common among people of northern European origin, who have a lactose intolerance prevalence of only about 2 percent."

  8. Initially, I thought lead exposure perhaps made people more vulnerable, because older Americans have lead in their bones and inner cities were being hit harder and they have historically had a lot more lead exposure. But as I have seen rural numbers climb, I thought, maybe not. But I started to think about the common sources of lead from diet. Chocolate can have anywhere from zero to well, a lot. The other major one is European balsamic vinegar.
    The number of countries that eat much chocolate is actually very small. Mostly the European countries, Russia, The US, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Japan, and South Africa: 
    The US is importing a lot of Italian Balsamic vinegar, followed by Germany, France, Spain, UK, and Australia:
    And, of course, the Italians use a lot of their own Balsamic vinegar.
    When you factor in advantages in fighting the disease like higher spending on healthcare (omitting the US, because we get incredibly poor value for our expense), and inherent isolatability: New Zealand, Australia, and Japan, I think the hypotheses is still worth looking at. Especially when we now know that the Russian deaths are 3x higher than they claim. That would put them right behind the UK.

  9. I, personally, have caught measles after being vaccinated.
    Perhaps a real vaccination is not quite as simple as the public has been spoonfed to believe. And this is the first time you've looked at the details?

  10. Brian, here's why death numbers don't appear to be dropping as much as groups like the IHME and others have projected. States have done audits, discovered extra deaths over the last 12 months, and added those on to single days in the last 10 days. Indiana added 1500 from the last year on to Feb 4, Ohio added 2500 deaths from the last year on to Feb 12. Deaths are falling quickly, but not as fast when these year's worth are artificially dumped on to one day each.

    The daily death average has fallen by more than 500, but not when a year's worth of deaths are artificially tagged on to one day. Recent death figures are as genuine as astroturf. One has to go looking for why these one day anomalies pop up out of nowhere. The explanation is at the bottom of this image, which you have to go looking for to discover:

  11. Life expectancy for individuals who have already attained age 80 is approx 5 to 7 years depending on many factors.

  12. When they count the deaths that occurred in long term care facilities they are underreporting the deaths that occurred to people who were in long term care because many of these people were transferred to and died in hospitals. It also is a way to avoid the fact that many of these deaths were a result of certain inept government officials purposefully moving covid positive people into long term care facilities resulting in thousands more deaths.

  13. Dr. Pat,

    Are any of these “vaccines”really vaccines?

    In no cases are any of them making anyone immune to Covid-19 or any of its variants.
    Unlike measles, mumps, rubella, polio etc which we have all be “vaccinated” for, (and have never contracted any of these diseases).

    As I understand it, vaccines are supposed to stimulate a response from your immune system to eradicate the virus, which NONE of these vaccines do.
    We are all warned, before, during and after vaccination that we must still wear a mask, social distance, wash our hands, avoid crowds and we are told we are still susceptible to getting Covid again and also still capable of transmitting it AFTER we have been vaccinated.

    These vaccines, to me, a retired engineer, seem to be nothing more than a flu shot?

  14. That's assuming a natural virus. With CRISPR tools becoming more efficacious, common and inexpensive it is only a matter of time before some knucklehead (either inadvertently or otherwise) creates the Planet of the Apes. A series of engineered virus's could do it if the release was timed.

  15. The WHO's failure is understandable because its power is so distant from those it kills that its decision makers are bound to be corrupt. The same applies to a lesser extent to the major governments. Academia is but a creature of those governments so you can write them off. But then you get to the tech giants and associated foundations where raw financial, tech and data power converges in the age of machine learning so powerful that Musk says we must all be quaking in our boots as papers are published daily all claiming "state of the art" results trumping each other.

    So, where are the "What if?" models providing a wide range of policy interventions, their costs and their consequences for people to place human valuations on?

    Has The Unfriendly AGI already taken over those institutions — Hell-bent on killing off humanity just as Musk has warned us?

  16. What is the IFR of this virus? Late last year the WHO estimated that 10% of the world's population had contracted the virus. This puts the IFR to be around 0.25% inline with the CDC estimate earlier in the year.

    What is the average/median age of people dying from this virus? I know in developed countries it is very high e.g. 80 for the UK. This is inline with life expectancy i.e. if these people were not going to die from COVID they would statistically have died from something else.

    How many fit and able people has COVID killed? According to the CDC 90%+ of deaths tagged as COVID had at least one comorbidity.

    How many people will suffer/die from the effects of the lockdown versus having died from the virus? According to the UN 130 million more people are at risk of starvation this year. Most of them are young children noting the virus very rarely kills children.

    I leave you with a final question. You have a tank full of hungry sharks. Hanging above by a rope you have an average 5 year old child and an average 80 year old adult. You can only save one by cutting the rope of the other. Which rope would you cut?

  17. Odd timing on this article. The 7 day average is down 14% week over week. The IHME model will forever be premature about deaths when it assumes 17-21 days from infection to death. That's rare, not the norm. The IHME comes off as amateur hour. Way off on hospital figures, they assume practically every infection has been discoverd (off by 5-6x). They were too low about where avg daily deaths would be right now, but heading into March and April their daily death projections are too high.

    After a week of plateauing hospitalizations have fallen down 43% in 4 weeks. Going down twice as quickly as they rose. Just now deaths are headed in the same path. This is before vaccinations have had a chance to make more than a sliver of difference. So before vaccines have their chance to shine we'll see daily deaths fall below 1800 in the first week of March. As vaccine protection accumulates in addition to sunnier weather there's good reason to assume daily deaths will be below 1000 in early April, under 500 by May. In the spring not only will far fewer be hospitalized, the avg profile will be younger than before, hence better outcomes.

  18. Absolutely Mark. 67% of the deaths come from Congregate Living Centers. Most of the deaths are over 70.

    Locking down those facilities earlier. And, administering HQC and zinc as an early treatment and putting everyone on Vitamin D supplements could have reduced the counts.

  19. The 4 "common cold" coronaviruses are all seasonal so high prior probability, and then we observe that in many countries it faded in spring and came roaring back in late autumn. Malaysia and Brazil are tropical. Obviously seasonality is going to be irrelevant there. "Seasonal" doesn't mean the virus can't spread at all, just that the R is noticeably higher in cold dry conditions.

  20. Two different patterns – as I understand it like respiratory diseases in general it’s seasonal in Europe/Northern America, and endemic further south towards the equator. So one pattern going in in Europe – highly seasonal – two in the US.

  21. I think Israel can serve as a good ahead of the curve example here as it is vaccinating very quickly but was also very quick to have the British mutation as the most dominant with infection rate in general similar to the U.S. It is last week when full two dose vaccination reached about 20% of the population that case rate started going down in Israel. This is likely when it is going to happen here, taking into account that the British mutation will become dominant here soon too. There may be a rise actually due to the mutations before we reach these levels of immunization.

  22. You must know much more pessimistic people than I do.

    To make people extinct we would need the virus to keep evolving into forms that are many orders of magnitude more deadly than today, especially to younger people.

    It's possible I guess. But it's probably no more possible than any other disease going through such a transformation. Ebola becoming airborne. The next common cold having a protein such that the antigens cause humans to sterilize themselves. Housecats evolving to be man-killers.

  23. Couple of factors: Larger percentage of population are old, Old Age homes, Reduce sunlight/Vitamin D, More Sanitary environment: our immunity system isn't that strong because it isn't stressed that often.

  24. The most pessimistic model is that we never get in front of the virus and we are extinct. The realistic model is that without a vaccine 3 million Americans would have died. The optimistic model is that we will find a vaccine fast enough so that less than one million Americans will die. So far the optimistic model is winning.

  25. You can blame local Belgian politics.
    They aren't so different, Prime Minister De Croo "Let me be very clear: Our country, our economy and our businesses can't handle a new general lockdown."

  26. 146 patients

    Well worth a paper, not a proven medicine until a LOT more people have been tested.

    But definitely strong enough evidence to immediately leap in to organising just such a trial. Which I guess the company making that drug should be happy to do.

  27. Is there evidence that this is a seasonal virus?

    I know that there was speculation early in 2020, but then Malaysia and Brazil went bad right in the middle of their summer, which is very, very not the same weather as a North Dakota winter.

  28. Why is the USA and Europe doing so poorly compared to other countries?

    Concentrating on the USA is asking the question in such a way as to probably miss the real answer because you get distracted by provincial concerns. You can't blame local US politics for the Belgian disaster.

  29. Was there any doubt the choices of the irrational and the inept would lead to poor outcomes?
    doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32545-9

    USA 469,514
    Brazil 234,850
    Mexico 169,760
    India 155,360
    UK 114,634

  30. Brian is missing the forest for the trees here. It's the dead of winter and case and death numbers have been declining for weeks. For a seasonal virus! And vaccination is increasing. Warmer weather coming.

    A new strain will need to be drastically more infectious to remain r>1.

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