The provisional full year ONS statistics for deaths registered weekly in England and Wales have been released (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/weeklyprovisionalfiguresondeathsregisteredinenglandandwales).
It is worth noting that the Analysis spreadsheet in the dataset mentions that the statistics include instances ‘where COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions’; this reaffirmed in the Information spreadsheet. At the outset, this suggests an unknown extent of statistical unreliability; as illustrated in the attached graph, coronavirus deaths were not being recorded until mid-March 2020. We know the coronavirus first appeared in late 2019.
For deaths involving COVID-19 between the age of zero and sixty-four, 7,918 death registrations were made during 2020. That compares to 69,768 death registrations for the same year for the over sixty-fives. As demonstrated by the attached surface models, this is very much a disease that is significantly more likely to affect the elderly population than those of working age.
It begs the question why such sweeping, and in many cases highly destructive, national measures have been deemed the most appropriate in tackling the problem. Of course, we must try to protect the vulnerable – but the question is how best to do it when we need our economic strength to power the healthcare we now require. Our economy has been shot to pieces by the actions of this government; businesses are closing down and jobs are being lost at the very time we need them most. Government must know that it cannot save every life and that it is futile to try without implementing severe and Draconian policies the likes of which we’ve witnessed. Supporters of such actions must also be supporters of their consequences. A succession of lockdowns and social distancing does not represent a sensible nor scientific policy response to deal with it when the number of excess deaths from suicide, increasing social isolation and increasing domestic violence among other serious harms have been the price to pay. It is true that COVID kills, but it is also true that lockdown kills. A devolved approach of Focused Protection would, in my view, be a better way forward (https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m3908).
Every figure represents a personal tragedy. Behind each death is a life lost and family now without a loved one, and I sympathise with those who’ve lost someone to the virus. I also sympathise with those who’ve lost relatives to the equally devastating reality of pneumonia, influenza, heart disease, cancer and suicide. Despite a tiny minority claiming otherwise, COVID is very much a real thing – but its severity has been dramatically overplayed by the government and mainstream media with little regard for statistical analysis, actual science or an assessment of collateral harms. Based on even the most cursory examination of the data, it would be accurate to suggest the original variant of coronavirus constitutes an epidemic as opposed to a pandemic. The effect of the new variant is yet to be made apparent. It is a virus we must learn to live with. In general, people deserve to know the truth about COVID-19 without the propaganda or rhetoric supplied by the state. Just because one voice is louder doesn’t make it any more trustworthy. Facts aren’t dangerous, but ignorance is.
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