This would only comprise death by natural causes, no accidents, suicides, homicides etc.

As Wikipedia says:

A death by natural causes is one that is primarily attributed to an illness or an internal malfunction of the body not directly influenced by external forces. For example, a person dying from complications from influenza (an infection) or a heart attack (an internal body malfunction) or sudden heart failure would be listed as having died from natural causes.

How long would it take until we realise that on the whole world people suddenly stopped dying by natural causes? (Let's say it is caused by some alien medicament that they are secretly testing on us.)

Instead of death, they are living the same as they did before this day came.

  • 16
    $\begingroup$ I would say pretty rapidly as every terminally ill patient would miraculously heal overnight (and lots of miracles is always suspicious) $\endgroup$
    – Riff
    Jan 3, 2017 at 10:56
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Suggested reading: Death at Intervals, by Jose Saramago $\endgroup$
    – IMSoP
    Jan 3, 2017 at 11:01
  • 18
    $\begingroup$ One of the leading causes of a heart attack is veins around the heart being clogged, and so (parts of) the heart muscle isn't supplied with blood anymore. It can't pump blood anymore -- so how in the world are you keeping a person alive that would have died of this natural cause? Or will you miraculously prevent arteriosklerosis, thrombosis, aneurisms, etc.? $\endgroup$
    – subrunner
    Jan 3, 2017 at 11:18
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ @TGar They may not heal but still : when a person given 3 days to live ends up surviving a week it is suspicious ! (btw is sounds like an awful medicine, alive but in the worst state you've ever been in) $\endgroup$
    – Riff
    Jan 3, 2017 at 12:30
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ See also Torchwood: Miracle Day. $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2017 at 12:52

2 Answers 2


One day. Few at most.

In most modern countries death reports are passed to government agency on daily basis. Clerk responsible for them would be surprised that there are none in his area. He will notice sudden drop, and 0 in one category. At least some clerks would call their counterparts in adjacent areas to chit-chat about this impossible coincidence, and, with surprise, hear that the same thing happened. From this, it'll be a cascade.

The same, or next day it'll be brought to the upper seniority of government's healthcare ministers. And to the press, things like that make for really good news. And while making sure that it really is "whole world" might take a bit, I'm pretty sure it'll take well under a week for virtually everybody to know. My money is on three days for the internet-connected people.

Of course there is a gap between "been exposed to such information" and "actually believe this is happening". Denial and disbelief will be natural at the beginning.

  • 17
    $\begingroup$ I suspect this would be reported as a curious statistical quirk at first. It would take a while before anyone would believe that anything fundamental was going on. $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2017 at 13:50
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @JackAidley on the first day, possibly. On the second one, maybe. On the third day Christians will go wild ;) $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Jan 3, 2017 at 14:06
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ Also: doctors chat to each other about how the patients they thought were goners are hanging on for improbably long.... $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2017 at 14:20
  • 27
    $\begingroup$ When someone decides to study the timing of the sudden drop to 0, exceptions will be noted in a few locations. Outliers. A few 1's and 2's with no apparent connection between them, hours or days after the big event. These will be the murders disguised as death by natural causes. $\endgroup$
    – user31735
    Jan 3, 2017 at 17:43
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @Sneftel, this is mostly a matter of communication speeds, not of statistics. Yes, an hour without anybody dying of natural causes is a statistical impossibility, but how long does it take to gather the information to demonstrate that it happened? $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Jan 4, 2017 at 0:20

Probably after one day, people these days, keep Track of deaths. Even in Sl Salvador. There was a newspaper article in Switzerland, that said, that there hasn't been a murder in 24 Hours in Sl Salvador. If such an event will be noticed and in the news (on the other side of the globe). If countries like El Salvador keep (that good) trak of their deaths (and why), it'll probably be the same to realize this, if it's the case from natural causes as well. Especially from "First world nations" with a preference for statistics, like the US. This does not answer your answer directely, but shows, how good they keep track of deaths and their causes and how fast such things will be in the news aroud the world. An Article in the Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Cool, nice catch. But actually tracking murders is necessary and probably the police do it. The tracking of natural causes is not so visible publically and there (mostly) is no institution for it. And that it is in the news is mainly because it is a country like El Salvador, where it is very unlikely to not have murders often. But I still see your point. $\endgroup$
    – TGar
    Jan 13, 2017 at 11:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There are institutions for it. In advanced nations, there are a LOT of institutions tracking the same data separately, ranging from health to vital statistics/census offices. $\endgroup$
    – Alex H.
    Aug 24, 2018 at 16:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .