Saturday, November 28, 2020

Information Too Dangerous to Share

From a Johns Hopkins University study so widely linked that they took it down  (fortunately the Wayback Machine has it!)

From mid-March to mid-September, U.S. total deaths have reached 1.7 million, of which 200,000, or 12% of total deaths, are COVID-19-related. Instead of looking directly at COVID-19 deaths, Briand focused on total deaths per age group and per cause of death in the U.S. and used this information to shed light on the effects of COVID-19.

She explained that the significance of COVID-19 on U.S. deaths can be fully understood only through comparison to the number of total deaths in the United States. 

After retrieving data on the CDC website, Briand compiled a graph representing percentages of total deaths per age category from early February to early September, which includes the period from before COVID-19 was detected in the U.S. to after infection rates soared.

This comes as a shock to many people. How is it that the data lie so far from our perception? 

To answer that question, Briand shifted her focus to the deaths per causes ranging from 2014 to 2020. There is a sudden increase in deaths in 2020 due to COVID-19. This is no surprise because COVID-19 emerged in the U.S. in early 2020, and thus COVID-19-related deaths increased drastically afterward.

Analysis of deaths per cause in 2018 revealed that the pattern of seasonal increase in the total number of deaths is a result of the rise in deaths by all causes, with the top three being heart disease, respiratory diseases, influenza and pneumonia.

“This is true every year. Every year in the U.S. when we observe the seasonal ups and downs, we have an increase of deaths due to all causes,” Briand pointed out.

When Briand looked at the 2020 data during that seasonal period, COVID-19-related deaths exceeded deaths from heart diseases. This was highly unusual since heart disease has always prevailed as the leading cause of deaths. However, when taking a closer look at the death numbers, she noted something strange. As Briand compared the number of deaths per cause during that period in 2020 to 2018, she noticed that instead of the expected drastic increase across all causes, there was a significant decrease in deaths due to heart disease. Even more surprising, as seen in the graph below, this sudden decline in deaths is observed for all other causes.

I tried to pull the mortality data from CDC, but I cannot find anything newer than 1Q2020.  Did Briand have non-public access?  This CDC report on excess mortality from COVID-19 would mean Briand's claims are all wrong.

However, Briand's claims fit this 8/17/20 Colorado Sun article:

When the new coronavirus first swept through Colorado earlier this year, baffling doctors with its myriad of symptoms and methods of spread, Dr. Brian Stauffer, the head of cardiology at Denver Health, soon began to notice a different kind of pandemic mystery.

People, it seemed, had stopped having heart attacks.

At Denver Health and other large hospitals across the metro area, the number of people showing up with cardiac emergencies dropped significantly as the state imposed increasingly strict measures encouraging people to stay at home to slow the virus’ spread. And this was not unique to Colorado — hospitals across the country and in Europe documented the same phenomenon. Had stay-at-home orders somehow also slowed heart attacks or were people in need of medical help simply not seeking it for fear of COVID-19?

new study from Stauffer and several Denver Health colleagues offers the first clue to the answer in Colorado. Looking at data on ambulance calls in Denver, they found that, while overall calls for service went down during the stay-at-home period, the number of people dying from cardiac arrests at home shot up.



  1. "Briand believes that deaths due to heart diseases, respiratory diseases, influenza and pneumonia may instead be recategorized as being due to COVID-19."

    So, if we were measuring Herpes Simplex, which everyone seems to have in their mouths, with the same thoroughness with which we now measure Covid-19, and attributed deaths where the Herpes virus was present, despite the other causes of death, we would see the same astronomical numbers for Herpes deaths and smaller numbers of deaths for the other causes we previously saw in heart disease, stroke, cancer, and whatnot that we see for Covid-19.

    The dreaded Covid. I remember seeing an interview with George Harrison, when he commented on how when he was in San Francisco the place seemed to be in the grip of "The Dreaded Lysergic." Only in this case, it is "The Dreaded Covid."

  2. In the webinar ( she says:
    • Go to CDC.GOV
    • Click "Learn more about COVID-19"
    • On next page select "cases & data" tab
    • then select CIVIDView Weekly.
    • on the page that comes up scroll all the way down to select the link "provisional death counts for COVID-19"
    • scroll down to "Weekly updates on select demographic and geographical characteristics"
    • scroll down to graphic of counts by week of death
    • select page 2 of three to get the data table

  3. Retraction Watch has story about the article's deletion:

    (Why is your blog configured to process comments through a pop-up window? Annoying.)

  4. Che: I took the default settings of Blogger. Where should I change this?

  5. Settings > Comments > Comment location

    Your options should look like this:

    Would guess "Embedded" opens the comment box on same page as the post.