25. Biweekly Update: 200,000 Deaths!!! California is Improving, U.S. is Not. Europe Rising

(9/23/20) The major decline in CA hospitalizations is now being followed by a decrease in death rate and this trend holds for most counties, e.g., LA and OC. Europe and particularly Spain are seeing new outbreaks.


As before I begin by presenting per capita data for cumulative deaths and weekly death rate as an indicator of total magnitude and current severity of the epidemic in various populations ranging from local to international. The U.S. retains its position as currently the second deadliest major country behind Brazil with Spain perilously climbing.

Cumulative death and death rate data for select populations around the world (as of 9/18/20).

Here are the latest death rate plots for the U.S. and CA.

Daily death rate data for the U.S. and CA.

The main observations are:

  • The U.S. has now passed Italy and France for per capita deadliness and is closing in on the U.K. and Spain, though the latter is rampaging again.
  • The death rates in FL, AZ, and TX are starting to decline, but alarmingly still exceed that of Brazil.
  • The U.S. and CA showed a death rate decline from their second outbreak, but are beginning to trend up again. Hopefully this is not the dreaded Fall virus surge.

The Local Scene

In the last update (24. Biweekly Update – Is California Really Improving and What’s Up with Spain?) we noted a disparity in that a distinct and significant decline in hospitalizations was not followed by a decline in death rate despite being well passed the expected 1-2 week lag. It is reassuring to show that the death rate has now begun to decline in Los Angeles and Orange County. However as noted above these rates are still among the highest in the world and care still needs to be exercised.

Hospitalizations and death rate for Los Angeles.
Hospitalizations and death rate for Orange County.

This next Figure shows the percent of all U.S. deaths that occurred in CA. CA was once the model state, but the resurgence over June-August has now placed it on-par for the U.S. with a steady 12-13% of the deaths with about 12% of the population.

Relative daily deaths in CA as a percentage of the U.S

The Nation

If you don’t share my viewpoints on the Administration’s response to the coronavirus, you may want to skip the next paragraph.

 A year, “which will live in infamy”

If only it will be just a year. U.S. leadership continues to ignore the coronavirus as we blow by 200,000 deaths. We are still averaging nearly 1,000 deaths per day, which is like 5 airplane crashes per day, a Pearl Harbor every 2.5 days, a 9/11 every 3 days. And to imagine we used to be at 2,500 deaths a day. Based on CDC data (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/05/05/us/coronavirus-death-toll-us.html) the number of Covid-19 deaths is actually closer to 300,000 due to widespread undiagnosed deaths mostly during the first outbreak. That number occurred in just 6 months and exceeds the total deaths for any U.S. war, which includes the Civil War (5 years), WW 1 (2 years), and WW 2 (5 years) meaning that the coronavirus is killing Americans at a rate greater than 10x the deadliest wars we have fought. I’m sorry I can’t get over the sheer callousness of our Administration over these deaths. They apparently only care about one death and they wasted no time in trying to fill that all important Supreme Court seat. Please ignore all misinformation and false hope concerning vaccines; they won’t be available until next year for adults and not for children (18 years and under) until 2022. MASKS, MASKS, MASKS PLEASE!!!

Back to our regularly scheduled program

As noted above many of our hotspot states are entering into remission. However, the U.S. case load and death rate are starting to rise again and today it was reported by the NY Times that over 20 states are reporting a growing case load so we may be entering into that dreaded Fall time surge. The biggest hot spots in the nation of the more populous states haven’t changed in the last month and continue to be FL, TX, AZ, GA, NC and CA bringing up the rear. Other states showing new outbreaks include VA, SC, TN, MS, and MO, with the VA and MO governors being the latest to catch Covid-19.   


Not much has changed internationally though there may be signs of a downward trend for the worst of the nations, e.g., Brazil and the U.S. The biggest hot spots in the world for the more populous countries in approximate order are Brazil, U.S., Mexico, India, Peru, Spain, Columbia, Iran, Argentina, Russia, and South Africa with some of these countries probably under-reporting. Very concerning are Spain and Iran showing a new wave that may be signaling the start of a Fall outbreak. Their death rate statistics along with that for the world are plotted below.

Death rate plots for Spain, Iran, and worldwide.