US Covid Deaths by Month – a look back

In this post I take a look back at how deaths have occurred in the US by month. At the end of August we reached 183,000 deaths. That’s the number 3 killer in the US in a typical year – and we still have 4 months to go. Our news cycle keeps us regularly updated on the daily and cumulative numbers, but I think a look back is informative.

The quick headline for all of this is that we are running at about 25,000 to 30,000 deaths per month. Based on new cases reported – expect that to continue for at least the next two months.

While the North East has learned the lessons many part of the country are struggling to contain COVID.

23 states account of 90% of US deaths

As you can see in this image – 23 states cumulatively add up to 93% of all deaths. Collectively they add up to over 165,000 deaths

The top 15 states account for 80% of all deaths.

The North East

The red formatting shows those months with ~2000 or more deaths. Notice how the North East is red for the first 3 months – and then these states start to get the numbers under control. Most of the North East is severely affected (March though June) as you can see from the list.


Notice also how NY in April records a shocking 21,687 deaths. That alone is 12% of all US deaths to date.

The 2nd Wave

I’m referring to the 2nd wave as those who seeming missed out on the early days COVID and who basically did not apply lessons learned from those states. A kind of “it didn’t happen to me… therefore this thing must be over hyped…”

The states leading the way in the 2nd wave are:

  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Arizona
  • South Carolina

Louisiana – part of both waves

Louisiana seemingly has the memory of a goldfish. Not content with over 1,500 deaths in April – it notched up just over 1,000 deaths again in August.

Louisiana has 4.7 million people. It has over 1,000 fatalities per million residents since the begining of the crisis – the 5th largest in the country. That shouldn’t happen in a state of such low population density.


With California’s large population of 40 million people it should come as no surprise to see this state near the top of the list. That said – its population is more than 2x that of NY and its covid deaths are less than ½. Well done California for the early phase of your handling of covid – but watch out – the numbers are creeping up.

Where do we go from here?

In July we recorded 1.9m cases, in August 1.5m. The August number seems like quite an improvement – but remember April, May and June had an average of about 0.8 million cases.

Take a look at the top 20 states by new cases all are greater than 100,000 cases since inception (rounding up Indiana).

While NY, NJ, Massachusetts have all declined below 20,000 cases per month – we still many other states still recording very high number of cases.

New cases in the top 20 states

Taking the current case load into account it still looks like monthly deaths will run at 25,000 to 30,000 for at least September & October.

See attached analysis for more detail:

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