Johns Hopkins regrets publishing article that questioned covid death rates

by WorldTribune Staff, November 30, 2020

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Johns Hopkins University on Nov. 22 published a now-retracted article which stated there is no evidence the coronavirus has contributed to any excess deaths in the United States.

A study by Genevieve Briand, the assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s degree program at Johns Hopkins, determined that there were 1.7 million deaths in the U.S. between March 2020 and September 2020, of which 12 percent (or roughly 200,000) were “coronavirus-related.”

Briand wrote that the data shows that coronavirus deaths are being over-exaggerated. After seeing that coronavirus-related deaths exceeded deaths from heart disease — the leading cause of death in the U.S. for many years prior — Briand noted that she began to suspect that covid death toll numbers may be misleading.

Briand found that “the total decrease in deaths by other causes almost exactly equals the increase in deaths by COVID-19.”

“If [the COVID-19 death toll] was not misleading at all, what we should have observed is an increased number of heart attacks and increased COVID-19 numbers. But a decreased number of heart attacks and all the other death causes doesn’t give us a choice but to point to some misclassification,” Briand wrote.

“All of this points to no evidence that COVID-19 created any excess deaths. Total death numbers are not above normal death numbers. We found no evidence to the contrary,” Briand wrote.

The study used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The following data comes from the CDC:

In 2019, total U.S. deaths were 2,855,000, a 1.12 percent increase from the previous year.

In 2020, as of Nov. 14, there were 2,512,880 total deaths in the U.S. That number indicates a 1.12 percent increase in overall mortality rates from 2019.

Going back further, according to the CDC numbers, 2018 saw a 1.22 percent increase in mortality rates, 2017 saw a 1.24 percent increase, 2016 a 1.27 percent increase, 2015 a 1.27 percent increase, and 2014 a 1.29 percent increase. All exceed 2020’s increase in mortality rates.

According to Briand, who compared the total deaths per age category from both before and after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the death rate of older people stayed the same before and after the virus.

“The reason we have a higher number of reported COVID-19 deaths among older individuals than younger individuals is simply because every day in the U.S. older individuals die in higher numbers than younger individuals,” wrote Briand.

She also noted that between 50,000 and 70,000 deaths are seen both before and after the emergence of the virus, meaning that, according to her analysis, coronavirus has had no effect on the percentage of total deaths of older people, nor has it increased the total number of deaths in the category.

“These results contradict the way most people see the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which disproportionately affects the elderly population,” Sophie Mann wrote for Just the News on Nov. 27.

Several days after removing the article, Johns Hopkins University tweeted that it was retracted because “the article was being used to support false and dangerous inaccuracies about the impact of the pandemic.”

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