Why aren't US COVID-19 mortality rates catching up with surging cases yet? Coronavirus caused two-thirds of this year's 300,000 'excess deaths' - but virus fatality rates are now FAR lower than in the spring due to Americans driving the infections


  • Nearly 300,000 more people have died in 2020 than would be expected by this point in a typical year, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found 
  • About two-thirds of those deaths were caused by coronavirus, the CDC estimated, leaving another 100,000 excess deaths due to other causes 
  • Excess deaths peaked in the spring, when New York City was the pandemic's epicenter and have never risen to that level again despite surges in infection rates in the summer and again this fall 
  • Experts explained how broader testing has identified more infections among young people, care has improved and the geography of the US pandemic has shifted to keep mortality rates lower 
  • But they warn that the movement of social gatherings indoors this winter is likely to drive another spike of coronavirus deaths - though not as large as the first one seen in the spring 
  • An NYU study found that hospitalized COVID-19 patients are nine-times less likely to die, due in part to their younger ages, but also thanks to improved understanding of how to care for them  

Daily coronavirus fatality rates in the US remain a fraction of what they were in the deadly spring peak, even as cases climb to levels not seen since August, and well above infection rates from March to May.

In fact, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that excess fatalities in the US have fallen substantially since the first peak of the pandemic in the spring. 

However, COVID-19 is estimated to be responsible for two-thirds of nearly 300,000 'excess deaths' that occurred in the US this year, the report, released Tuesday, revealed.

“Permanency depends on the next election. So that’s the way legislation goes. But in judicial appointments, you can have a longer-lasting positive impact,” he told Politico.

When asked if he had any concerns about GOP lawmakers being hurt in the November election by his move to push Barrett’s nomination forward, the Kentucky Republican said he believes the court fight energized conservative voters.

“In terms of the politics of it, I think it was helpful for us in 2016 and 2018, and it is clearly, I think, a plus in 2020 as well. So, good for the country and good for us politically as well,” he said.

McConnell expressed little worry to the Times about how Democratic lawmakers described his handling of Barrett’s nomination and confirmation process, explaining, “This is a tough business we are all in, and we expect to be criticized. The more impact we have, the louder the voices of opposition. It goes with the turf.”

The top Senate Republican discussed his own professional legacy with both outlets, telling the Times that he “certainly didn’t expect to have three Supreme Court justices.”

“At the risk of tooting my own horn, look at the majority leaders since LBJ and find another one who was able to do something as consequential as this,” he said, referring to Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was Senate majority leader from 1955 to 1961.

Asked by Politico about his legacy, McConnell reiterated his understanding of the magnitude of his judicial achievement.He went on to describe his mark on the judiciary as “the single most important accomplishment of my career. I’m proud of it, and I feel good about it.”

“I think my record speaks for itself. The judicial part in particular is of great consequence, and I think you all are capable of comparing that to previous majority leaders,” he told the outlet.

In the wake of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away in late September, President Trump and McConnell said they would move forward on a vote on her replacement.

Enlarge ImageChief Justice John Roberts administers the Judicial Oath to Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court yesterday.
Chief Justice John Roberts administers the judicial oath to Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court yesterday.Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via AP

The idea sparked fury in the Democratic Party, leading numerous prominent figures to voice their support for court “packing,” or expanding the nation’s highest bench to more than the current nine members.

Trump and Republicans have defended replacing Ginsburg before the November election, arguing that unlike when McConnell blocked President Barack Obama’s choice for the high court in 2016, the GOP now holds both the White House and Senate.

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