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ASD’s Eye-Opening COVID-19 Death Call Data: An Update

Jun 23, 2020


“During these strange and changing times, real-time data can show with clarity what might otherwise be obscured. Amazingly, during the month of June ASD recorded 5% fewer deaths than any other months in 2020,” says ASD Vice President and Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor. “It’s hard not to ask…how is it possible that the safest month of the year in the USA so far is during a pandemic? Perhaps we are in the eye of the COVID-19 hurricane or maybe our country is now better equipped to handle this “new normal” way of life. No matter the reason, we believe ASD’s independent death call data data provides a reassuring picture of how the national fatality rate has decreased over time and we hope to see this pattern continue.”


Note: This blog was originally published on June 23rd, 2020 and is updated every day with new statistical graphs. Last updated July 7th, 2020 at 9:25 a.m. EST

In early May, ASD began publishing statistical analysis revealing how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected funeral home death calls over time. As the answering service trusted by 45 percent of the nation’s funeral home homes, we estimate that our data represent approximately 30 percent of all death calls in the United States. ASD’s daily figures gave our company unique insight into how the coronavirus impacted the national fatality rate. We decided to make this information public when we realized our data provided a reassuring picture of how the nation’s death rate was beginning to normalize.

Over the past month and a half, ASD has continued to monitor our latest daily statistics and update our graphical reports each day. This week, we realized that we were not considering an important variable that helps provide a more accurate representation of our data. (Note: click on any of the graphs below to see an enlarged version).

In the graph above, you can see we have been tracking the change in the number of deaths calls handled each day by our company since before Thanksgiving. Our figures reveal that after March 19, the number of death calls began to multiply considerably, finally reaching a peak over Easter weekend. During the peak of the pandemic, ASD was handling 70% more death calls than average (about 1,000 more each day). After Easter weekend, this number began to decrease steadily before returning to ASD’s typical range of deaths handled on a daily basis.

However, when looking at the data presented over the past several weeks, it appears that ASD is still handling more death calls each day than our average, with the number rising and falling since the end of May. There are several dates you can see presented on the graph where the daily number rose above our typical range. However, one thing this graph does not account for is the change in ASD’s Call Volume. This is an important variable to consider when reviewing our published COVID-19 statistics.

The graph above displays ASD’s incoming call volume since Thanksgiving. While our incoming call volume did not increase beyond 15% our normal range of calls, even during the peak of the pandemic, the number has remained elevated since late April. This is because every year we answer more calls as the weather starts to warm up because our clients use ASD more. You can see that during the winter months, our call volume seldom rose above the typical range of incoming calls.

Incoming call volume is a crucial factor to consider when interpreting ASD’s COVID-19 Death Call Data. By answering more calls each day, we will naturally answer more death calls. However, this is not because there are more deaths occurring, but simply a result of more funeral homes forwarding their lines to our answering service during this time of year.

This adjusted graph provides a clearer picture of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected funeral home death calls over time. Rather than showing a rise and fall over the past several months, you can see that once call volume is accounted for, the number of death calls handled on a daily basis has continually decreased since Easter weekend (with the exception of Memorial Day, due to a high percentage of clients forwarding their phones to ASD for the holiday). This is an important distinction because it reveals conclusively that not only has the number of death calls handled on a daily basis returned to our normal typical range; it has actually dropped below several times.


RELATED READING

ASD Shares Eye-Opening COVID-19 Death Call Data
ASD Staff Reflect on Answering Calls During the Peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic
How Funeral Service is Adapting to the COVID-19 Outbreak
The Invisible Front Lines



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About The Author

Jess Farren (Fowler)

Jess Farren (Fowler) is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD's company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at Jess@myASD.com


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