Yesterday, NY Gov Andrew Cuomo made headlines after laying into President Trump during a press briefing yesterday, accusing the president of having the blood of tens of thousands of dead New Yorkers - and hundreds of thousands more across the US.
Ironically, the news follows reports from Kansas about a nursing home that saw every single one of its residents infected during one of the worst such outbreaks in the US since COVID-19 first arrived in the US early this year.
But Cuomo's comments, and the backlash they elicited, also coincided with the latest guidance update from the mercurial CDC, which offered some fresh insight into the breakdown of the excess mortality across the US since the WHO first declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic.
While 200,000 of the 300k excess deaths have been directly attributed to COVID-19, researchers suspect that the other 100,000 excess deaths were indirectly caused by COVID-19: For example, they might have been drug overdoses or suicides brought on by depression, or a fatal stroke caused by a lack of testing availability.
According to data cited by the AP, between the beginning of February and the end of September, about 1.9 million deaths are typically reported. This year, it’s closer to 2.2 million, a 14.5% increase.
Unsurprisingly, the greatest number of excess deaths was recorded among the elderly population, which saw an additional 95,000 people between the ages of 75 to 84 pass away this year. That's 21.5% larger than in a normal year.
But the biggest increase, up 26.5%, was in people ages 25 to 44.
The increase likely appears so large because the number of deaths within this age group every year is notably small.
Another example of this phenomenon can be seen in the youngest age group, people younger than 25; that group actually saw its mortality rate decrease this year. That might seem unusual, until one accounts for the fact that so few people die in this age group that large fluctuations are magnified by only a handful of additional deaths.
Then, on Wednesday, the CDC followed up with another set of guidance essentially reiterating the importance of wearing masks. The agency said it "strongly recommends" all passengers on planes, trains and automobiles.
It comes as more US states, including NY, as we noted above, are ratcheting back up their COVID-19 restrictions as another wave of COVID-19 strikes the Midwest.
Airlines, airports, most transit systems and ride-sharing companies across the US already require all passengers and workers to wear facial coverings, but occasionally they have been met with resistance from the public.
Meanwhile, as cases continue to climb, the overall US death rate from the virus is dropping.