After the conversation, we called Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist at UC Irvine, to evaluate the county’s objections. “That is absolutely wrong,” he said. Noymer, who studies pandemic diseases, has performed his own COVID-19 excess death estimates in Orange County. He pointed out what we had heard from other experts: Excess deaths is a valuable measure of the true death toll of disasters — pandemics included — because it factors in the many people who public health departments fail to capture when a crisis hits. … “San Diegans deserve the whole picture … Noymer said. … “I think the people have a right to know,” he added.