Estimation of delay-adjusted all-cause excess mortality in the USA: March-December 2020.


We estimate the delay-adjusted all-cause excess deaths across 53 US jurisdictions. Using provisional data collected from September through December 2020, we first identify a common mean reporting delay of 2.8 weeks, whereas four jurisdictions have prolonged reporting delays compared to the others: Connecticut (mean 5.8 weeks), North Carolina (mean 10.4 weeks), Puerto Rico (mean 4.7 weeks) and West Virginia (mean 5.5 weeks). After adjusting for reporting delays, we estimate the percent change in all-cause excess mortality from March to December 2020 with range from 0.2 to 3.6 in Hawaii to 58.4 to 62.4 in New York City. Comparing the March-December with September-December 2020 periods, the highest increases in excess mortality are observed in South Dakota (36.9-54.0), North Dakota (33.9-50.7) and Missouri (27.8-33.9). Our findings indicate that analysis of provisional data requires caution in interpreting the death counts in recent weeks, while one needs also to account for heterogeneity in reporting delays of excess deaths among US jurisdictions.

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