Mortality Nuggets: Global Excess Deaths, Memento Mori, and Mortality News Round-up
And don't ask about that tolling bell
Here is a video explainer:
So, here is my take: I agree on their range of excess mortality for many locations, but not everywhere (data quality is a real bear for some countries. Check out this global mortality github for data and discussion on just quality issues for total death counts.)
So, here is the obvious problem: there is no reason to believe that the excess deaths above official COVID counts are all COVID deaths. For certain portions, yes, but for certain groups (and geographies), no.
In particular, it is pretty clear to me that specifically in the U.S., the non-COVID excess mortality has been very high. I do not think that’s under-counted COVID deaths. I think it’s due to other causes. We’ve already seen that car accident deaths were up, even though total miles driven was down by a lot.
So yay for their statistics in grabbing the excess deaths, but boo for assuming all those excess deaths were COVID.
Now, results of COVID and COVID policies, sure, I’d go with that. But do you want to start digging into the stats of suicides, drug overdoses, “accidental” deaths, and more? How about deaths of neglect? I bet that is involved in a bunch of non-COVID elderly deaths.
On top of that, I took a look at which countries they actually had good coverage on, and it seems to be a reach to extent to such large countries as India and China.
I will be revisiting this.
A Pauline sister reminds us:
I recently backed the kickstarter campaign from her: Memento Mori: Remember Your Death:
The kickstarter campaign is now over, but you can preorder from the Pauline Books & Media Store.
A quick personal note: I used to go to their main store in Manhattan all the time, though many times not on purpose. I used to just wander in midtown for my own reasons, and I’d drop in the store if I happened upon it (and if it was open at the time… I would wander at odd times.)
While obviously Sr. Theresa Aletheia’s work is intended for Catholics, it will likely be accessible to all Christians. What many people forget is that Advent is intended to be a penitential period, similar to (but much shorter than) Lent.
Memento mori (remember that you, too, will die) is a practice that goes beyond Christianity, as it is truly a universal experience for humans. We also all experience being born, but we don’t remember that too well (and it’s in the past). The anticipation of one’s own death is something people have posited as a unique quality to humans.
(Also: Campbells do not forget).
Obviously, this is one of my favorite topics to think about. I am looking forward to remembering this coming Advent.
Mortality News for 18 May 2021
A round-up of recent mortality posts at Actuarial News:
One of the items is the Economist excess mortality piece, but most of the pieces have to do with mortality trends pre-COVID, especially the sex gap in mortality.
(which also extended for COVID, fyi)
You do need to know the mortality trends pre-COVID if you want to measure excess mortality.
Be talking death with you more, soon!