Are US deaths increasing?

Yesterday, the CDC and their Director shared on social media and on their web site that they use 12 different forecasting models for COVID-19 deaths in the US and that “all indicate an increase in deaths in the coming weeks.” This story was picked up and shared widely. However, it’s absolute fear-mongering and not based in truth.

All the forecasts only predict an “increase” in that they are cumulative forecasts. Even if there is only one more death from COVID-19 in the US, deaths will technically increase. If one of their forecasts didn’t predict an increase in the total deaths, it would be broken.

What matters – the RATE of new deaths – is actually predicted to DECREASE in all of these forecasts. Unless everyone the CDC is unaware how rate of change works, the CDC knows this and they are lying to the US public to stoke fear. I’m not normally one to claim that the government is lying to us, but I don’t know any other way to explain this, given the simple math involved here.

I have added a red line to the forecasts below that shows the trajectory of total deaths if we continued at the current rate. Notice that all of the models fall below this line. At the current rate, we’d be well over 100,000 deaths by June 1st, so the CDC prediction of 100,000 deaths reflects a signification reduction in the death rate. Obviously 100,000 deaths is tragic, but it is indicative of a slowing rate of deaths, not an increase.

It is absolutely misleading and unacceptable for our country’s lead medical organization to add to the hysteria about COVID deaths when they know the death rate is slowing. We should be able to rely the CDC to provide honest and factual information. All this does is erode the public trust.

Here is a comparison of deaths projected by one of their models included in their forecasts, shown as new deaths per day as opposed to total deaths. Notice that the line is trending downward to June 1? Even when it makes a slight bump in mid-July, the number deaths projected per day is 1339, below our current average of 1527 deaths per day.

YYG model showing decrease in new deaths per day
From as of May 15, 2020