Here Are Three Ways of Thinking About Death Rates

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On a normal day in America about 8,000 people die. When the coronavirus pandemic hits its peak—probably in late April—it will likely claim about 4,000 lives per day. For a week or two, our national death rate will increase by 50 percent from its normal level.

But there’s also another way of looking at this. We would normally expect about 3 million people to die this year. If the coronavirus pandemic kills 150,000 people, that’s a 5 percent increase in our normal death rate.

Or this: the population of the United States is 330 million. If the pandemic kills 150,000 people, that’s a death rate of 0.05 percent.

Pick your poison. Are you a glass-half-empty or a glass-half-full kind of person?

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