By: Diane Benjamin
I am purposely refraining from using percentage increases in the data below. I believe that would distort the actual numbers. For example, I could tell you confirmed suicides increased 40% between 2019 and 2020. The actual number increase was 9, very tragic but 40% sounds far worse than 9.
There are a LOT of numbers in this story, it’s okay to call me a numbers geek. Read slowly if you aren’t one. (and read all the way to the bottom!)
Total deaths in McLean County for 2019 were lower than 2018. 2020 and 2021 showed increases that can’t be totally attributed to Covid, Suicides, or Drugs.
A reader made a comment a month or so ago about the ages of people dying as seen in local obituaries, I’ve noticed the same, lots of deaths seem to be in 50’s and 60’s lately. The Health Department lists the age ranges of Covid deaths, but there is no database showing the ages of all deaths.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has data per County showing causes of death per County. 2021 data isn’t available yet. No surprise, the McLean County data below from the Coroners office shows 1537 deaths in 2020, IDPH shows 1429. It’s still interesting data however: https://dph.illinois.gov/content/dam/soi/en/web/idph/files/death-causes-by-county-2020.pdf
IDPH data shows deaths are far more likely in McLean County from Heart Disease and Cancer than Covid. Previous years are also available, 2019 shows the same for Heart Disease and Cancer.
Below is a lot of data taken directly from the monthly Coroner’s reports. The first 3 reflect total deaths per year:
Total 2018 deaths – 1340
Total 2019 deaths – 1306
Total 2020 deaths – 1537
Total 2021 deaths – 1547
If you don’t know, the McLean County Health Department archives all the screen shots showing Covid data since the beginning in 2020: https://health.mcleancountyil.gov/gallery.aspx?AID=8
Was the jump in deaths in 2020 from Covid?
Deaths in 2020 jumped over 200, only 113 can be attributed to Covid.
Deaths were higher again in 2021, what about Covid?
The 306 is total deaths, so 113 has to be subtracted. 193 Covid deaths are from 2021. Note Covid deaths were higher in 2021 than before the vaccine in 2020. The County Health Department started reporting Covid deaths in March of 2020, so that year did have 2+ less months of data.
Suicides are higher, drug overdoses aren’t. 2019 was the year Fentanyl was identified as a problem in McLean County. Maybe the below proves efforts to fight it have helped.
I don’t know what this data says because total deaths by age per year aren’t available. I just like looking for trends where nobody else is. Maybe you can spot something I missed.
One thing the data does prove:
If you are more afraid of Covid than Heart Disease and Cancer you are missing what is much more likely to kill you.