Overall U.S. Death Rate Back to ‘Normal,’ COVID Pandemic Over

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July 18, 2023 -- In the worst periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, 30% more Americans than normal were dying each day.

But now, that percentage of “excess deaths” has bottomed out and is “no longer historically abnormal,” as The New York Times put it.

The measure has been important over the last several years because counting the true effects of COVID has been challenging. This statistic reveals whether COVID-19 has been underdiagnosed. It also accounts for increased deaths related to COVID-19, like car crashes and missed medical treatments.

TheTimes cites the Human Mortality Database, which says that fewer Americans than normal have died since March, and The Economist, and the CDC, which say the excess-death number is less than 1%.

“After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness,” The Times reported.

The improvement is due to three main factors, The Times reports:

  • About 75% of adults have received at least one vaccine shot
  • About 75% have had COVID, and received natural immunity from future symptoms
  • Treatments for infected people have become widely available.

“Nearly every death is preventable,” Ashish Jha, MD, President Biden’s former top COVID-19 adviser, told The Times. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have COVID, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.

“Even for most — not all, but most — immunocompromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness.”