There is lots of controversy about counting Covid-19 deaths. Partly because you don’t die directly of covid-19, you die from complications of covid-19, which could be pneumonia, a heart attack, etc.
Turns out we know statistically with a pretty high degree of accuracy how many people will die in the US every year. Looking at how many extra (excess) deaths we can get a good look at how many people are dying from Covid-19.
This has a couple of effects. Someone who would have died this year anyway, doesn’t show up in this number. This washes out older, sicker Covid-19 victims, which leads to a conservative estimate. In the real world they would be Covid-19 deaths. If you have terminal cancer and get in a car wreck the week before you would have died of cancer, you are still listed (for statistical purposes) as being a car accident victim.
The CDC counts 300,000 excess deaths from late January until the beginning of October.