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Early Warnings of Non-Covid Mortality

Already in 2020, There Were Signs of Increased Non-Covid Mortality


Below is a presentation and an email that I wrote to a lawmaker in my state in October of 2020. I was disturbed by the signals of excess deaths I was seeing in younger age groups (25-44yrs) that were not attributable to Covid. My conscience drove me to at least try to inform someone with some degree of influence over State Government Policy about this, as it reflected a growing concern I had that our policy response could cause just as much damage as the virus itself. 


Now that many studies have come out confirming the reality of increased drug and alcohol deaths, homicides, and other mortality related not to the virus but to the secondary effects of how we responded to it, I am re-printing here for posterity’s sake.


Throughout this pandemic, we have seen both our State, and the city of Nashville go through challenges of both the impact of the epidemic and the impact of the response to the epidemic. My goal is to bring to light the costs that we feel were largely ignored by leaders when reacting to Covid. I believe we should strongly advocate for the consideration of all factors that improve public health outcomes, and we believe that balance should be restored. I have attached a link to a presentation that breaks down Tennessee’s mortality trends during the pandemic periods to previous years and breaks down by age group. There is an alarming trend in mortality that cannot be explained by Covid deaths and suggests severe costs to society in Years of Life lost from other factors. I hope this will be valuable to you.

All Cause mortality for the State of Tennessee (2015 through Oct 2020)

tennessee all cause mortality

While each age group over 45 yrs has seen Year over Year increases to date…

year to year over 45

25-44 Yr Age Group has seen a massive Year over Year increase in deaths to-date. Approx. 32% YTD increase.

year to year 25 - 44

The highest Y/Y percentage increase in death is in a group that has low Covid Deaths. What else was causing it?

year to year increase

The CDC Officially Recognizes this trend:

Early Signals of Drug Overdose contributing to excess death in younger adults.

Young Adult Overdoses

Why does this matter?

Second-order effects on mortality were not measured in real time like SARS-COV2 cases. Why? What we measure matters. What we don’t measure might actually just matter even more. Months and years later we are still accounting for how the Covid-19 response disrupted life and cost lives in many other ways we simply chose to ignore.


Reprinted from the author’s Substack

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.


  • Josh Stevenson

    Josh lives in Nashville Tennessee and is a data visualization expert who focuses on creating easy to understand charts and dashboards with data. Throughout the pandemic, he has provided analysis to support local advocacy groups for in-person learning and other rational, data-driven covid policies. His background is in computer systems engineering & consulting, and his Bachelor’s degree is in Audio Engineering. His work can be found on his substack “Relevant Data.”

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