The new Fallacy – “Age Adjusted” COVID Deaths in Florida


As has been mentioned in a recent post here, the Florida COVID denier crowd, after running out of ALL other excuses, now is standing upon a new and FALSE premise – that “age adjusted” Florida deaths somehow explains the 500 death per day peak and #1 Ranking of Florida in Post-Vaccine deaths.

When I first ran upon this I knew (you know, in my GUT) it was wrong. This was due to many factors, including it being repeated over and over by people who didn’t know things! This is the sure sign of “Tucker told me what to say” or what many call the Echo Chamber.

However, I wanted to explore this in more details – as just calling “BS” does not help the few who might really want to understand the relationship between COVID and Age – and.or who might want to understand why FL is now #1 in COVID deaths post-vaccine.

For those who get dizzy easily w/numbers, let me start with some broad statements which may help show how ridiculous this particular talking point is.

  1. TEXAS is one of the youngest states in the USA. Yet, it’s in the top few in DEATHS post vaccine. This, of course, goes 100% against the “old is big factor” point.
  2. Vaccinations lower the death rate by 4X (assuming 80% effective). This is such a large number that “adjustments” of many other types become just rounding errors.

For purposes of my short study, I used New England to compare to Florida. This makes sense for various reasons. New England has an older Population with some states as old or older than Florida in some categories. In terms of averages, the sum total of New England is approx. 1.8 years younger than Florida. All of New England has a population of 15 million, which – in all calculations – I am adjusting upwards to match Florida seasonal population.

Average Age Florida = approx 42 years. – Average Age New England = 40.3 years.

For those who may not get to the end of this article, I will start with some of the summary of calculation. All of my reasoning and calculations will use April 1, 2021 forward, as that is the “post vaccination” world we live in currently and covers the detail many are interested in – the massive waves of death that Florida experienced in Summer, 2021.

Apples to Apples – Excess Deaths (CDC, IHME)  in Florida in the time period noted were 30,000. In New England (adjusted), they were 3,700. The FLORIDA Death Rate from COVID is 8x as high (800%).

On the Specifics of Age Adjustment

There is an old expression concerning “Baffle them with BS” – which holds true in many discussions of complex subjects. I am not using Grad School Computational Statistics – this post is not destined for Nature or JAMA and needs no peer review. The differences are so vast that there is no need to take things out to many decimal places. Here are some short answers/calcs/guesses to the “What About” that is sure to follow.

Floridians are not in Florida NOW

To a Floridian this is fairly obvious. Myself and most of my friends and neighbors are NOT IN FLORIDA in the Summertime. This means the Population of Seniors” is much lower than the calculations (which are based on a Census taken in April). While I knew this – due to 50% or more of the houses in our area being vacant, I previously had no actual figures on it. Florida to the rescue – it appears some work was done on this very topic. A very low guess would be that 600,000  Floridians 55 and older are elsewhere during the Summer. This figure alone may counter the slight difference in years – yet alone other adjustments!

What About When New England Gets Hit Hard in the Fall/Winter?

These projections are already in – to some extent – and I agree that the North will see increases over the late Fall and Winter. However, death and taxes and COVID are all things better put off for later. The real answer here is that whether FL is 8X New England or 6X or 4X or even twice (2X) is of little meaning in the Big Picture. If 15,000 of those 30,000 could have been saved that’s a really big deal.

Craig, you didn’t Adjust for Age above!

Ah, now you are thinking – and reading! Congrats. YES, there is an adjustment for age. It would be very complex and most of it pre-dates vaccination, but it would look something like this.

Out of 1,000 COVID deaths, the pre-vaccination difference in the 1.8 years of age might be as large as 10%. Whereas 1,000 would die in Florida, 900 would die in New England. If no one had ever been vaccinated (ONLY behavior and leadership and demographics/density/lifestyle), this would be the largest theorectical difference.

Vaccines would likely reduce that 1,000 to 100-200…tho.

Summary – Age Adjustment is total BS for we Lay Persons

That MAGA individual parroting “age adjustment” on Twitter should be asked “Well, What-about Texas, that super-young population dropping like flies?”. Or, to put it more professionally, the repeating of an “age adjustment” slogan (or, let’s face it, an excuse) is not valid.

If you are a researcher or scientists studying millions of cases over the post-vaccine period – even then, ages are usually classified into 5 year periods…at the most! No doubt that Age is one of the many factors involved with COVID mortality but it pales in comparison with MANY others.

If two states or regions are being compared and the differences are small, say <20%, it might be valid to confirm ages and other demographics. However when we discuss double, triple, quadruple and more the amount of deaths in a period when all tools (testing, treatment and vaccines) are available, a couple years difference is not likely to tip the scales.

Older is actually BETTER

Again, I had the feeling based on Common Sense that Florida had great advantages. Retired people have the ability to stay home. They self-select for being mobile and healthy ($$ to buy property and move). However, a lifelong health care expert has done the deep statistics and math for us. His finding is exactly as per my “gut”. With COVID, there is no such thing as age-adjusted when looking at state and county populations. If anything, the opposite is true. He states something obvious which few pay attention to.

Seems simple, eh? It is. A place like Florida or Texas where the Virus is intentionally spread will see vastly more death. Period.

“Age is not a population wide determinant of COVID death rates. This is because higher-risk demographics spend more effort NOT becoming infected”

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