Wrong death rates?

I am glad to see others and the media now picking up the obvious point that the UK death rate figures are likely to be overstatements of the true position.

I first raised this matter on 11 April in my proposal to the government that they “Review the data”. In that posting I set out the various ways officials had been changing the basis of compiling the death figures, with each change designed to add numbers to the totals. I warned that it was probably leading to double counting, that death figures on any given day included deaths on previous days often stretching some way back, that anyone with Covid 19 symptoms could be put down as a Covid 19 death though they may have died of something else, and some were said to have CV 19 when  there had been no test to prove that. A a death certificate could cite  CV 19 as part cause of death based on some CV 19 like symptoms with no test, whilst also citing another more likely cause of death as well. Without a test there is the possibility that people had misreported common colds, flu, catarrh or allergies  as well as something serious that killed them.

On 1 June I took this up again in my blog discussion of Death rates. I said “There are differences in how the figures are compiled. The UK has gone out of its way to maximise deaths attributed to CV 19 by including care home and community deaths when other countries concentrated on hospital deaths. The U.K. has also recorded many care home and community deaths as CV 19 when no test was taken to see if the patient had it, and when it may have been other serious medical conditions they suffered from that killed them.”

I urged the government to ask for more accurate and consistent data from the experts, as these figures were being used to determine policy on lock down and to help derive the transmission rate which officials thought so important. As we move into the era of local lock downs precise and locally specific information about infection and death rates from the virus become even more critical to policy making. I have been surprised at some of the public scientific advice based on wide spreads for the possible transmission rate, in turn related to death and infection figures based on different data collection and definitions over time.

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112 Comments

  1. Pete
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Dozens of labs in the US have grossly overestimated the death figures by 70 to 90%. Spain said it’s were 99% over stated, Italy said 88% weeks ago. Given the ludicrous way UK figures were pumped by listing people 2 or more times and putting down every single death as covid it can hardly be less. That brings into question the whole premise of lockdowns and exactly why they were done. As with all crimes we should follow the money.

    • Javelin
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      As deaths are the main metric that is driving the political response it beggars belief that the huge inaccuracies were not corrected back in April. Boris has now compared the lockdown to the trident nuclear option. So Boris knows lockdown is the nuclear option YET the trigger for that option was wildly incorrect.

      There needs to be TWO public enquiries. One into PHE preparedness and one into the Cabinet’s response. Both are extremely important to the national interest and both appear completely unfit for purpose. We need to know why.

      • Ian
        Posted July 19, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        In other words we need the TRUTH. Don’t hold your breath as you’ll end up as another C19 statistic.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        We sure do need to know why. It’s costing the British hundreds of billions – lost property values, lost businesses, lost cities…

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          If, course, those who voted in this utterly cynical government will do all that they can to excuse them, and to support the nonsense that they peddle.

          I can understand your not wanting to blame yourself for scores of thousands of needless deaths, Lynn.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

            You mean those that the NHS refused to treat? That’s a Socialist “caring people’ problem – like you Martin-in-Tiger Bay.

          • JohnK
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

            Martin:

            You are quite right. A Corbyn government would have led us through Covid without a single casualty, thorough the magic of socialism.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            How would you have stopped people congregating on beaches or gathering to do protest marches or going to work in sweatshop factories or gathering in their thousands for raves and in their hundreds funerals?
            Would you have used the Army or riot Police?
            People have often ignored the advice given by government and even the law.
            This gas certainly cause spikes of cases and inevitable extra deaths.

          • czerwonadupa
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

            Neither Mr Johnson or Hancock collate the figures themselves.
            These have been left to the ‘experts’. I know of one care home in west London were the doctors have given up visiting & when they have a death the nurse on duty phones the doctor & after asking a few questions he issues a death certificate. All without seeing the body. Not what you expect in the 21st century

    • NickC
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Pete, For a variety of reasons it was always likely that the official figures – here, and elsewhere – were not “accurate”. If accuracy was ever possible. I doubt that the revisions are accurate either.

      We must learn to live with imprecise base data; to live with “fuzziness”. And, unfortunately, too many on here have been too didactic, treating each new report, or set of figures, as gospel.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    There is also the point that PHE has been recording infections but not recording that people have recovered from CV19 – so that when they die of something else it still goes down as “with” CV19 even though it probably isn’t present.

    Are such things being done to embarrass the Government ?

    https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/why-no-one-can-ever-recover-from-covid-19-in-england-a-statistical-anomaly/

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      The government and SAGE want a high death rate to justify crippling the economy.
      When we have 4 million unemployed and ghost towns and cities we will all be amazed that the total deathe were no greater than the aggressive flu a couple of years ago.
      I caught Asian Flu at sea in 68 on a nuclear sub. We all got it and survived. That killed 80,000 in the UK.
      No one was socially distancing or avoiding public transport. You went to bed for a few days then back to work. The elderly suffered worst but being a little more stoic than todays snowflakes they managed.
      I see the BBC have lost interest in the pandemic and reverted to wall to wall climate emergency.
      Defund the BBC.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Note what has been sneaked through under lockdown:

        – Thumbergism

        – BLM-ism

        – Corbynism

        The conclusion of 60 years of Gramscian infiltration of our institutions.

    • Dystopian nightmare
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Whatever anyone dies of is now Covid, the situation is a global farce. Caused by communist politicians. Expose it John.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted July 20, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        Dystopian nightmare

        CV-19 absurdity…..International “poor joke” any accident now between two vehicles and any subsequent fatalities are now registered as CV-19 deaths!

        John, the incalculable damage done to our economy is down to the incompetence of the Government!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Surely the alternative explanation of thousands of people dying directly from cancellation of normal NHS activity (despite having curable conditions) would be even more embarrassing?

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 18, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        That’s happening right now.

        The UK life expectancy has dropped by 2 years.

        There is NO adult explanation of death from CV-19 and death by lockdown. My mate died of lockdown last month – a badly delayed hospital consultation. He was 56, otherwise extremely fit and good weight.

        Where are the figures on suicides ? I know there is a spike because I have seen two in the last few months (not one before.)

        If doctors can attribute deaths to CV-19 without testing and after recovery from CV-19 why can’t we attribute spikes in suicide and lack of treatment to lockdown ?

        Martin in Cardiff may well display his virtue but remember – he disrespects a democratic vote when it doesn’t go his way but finds mob rule violence ‘exhilarating’ and ‘history making.’

        Unlike me he hasn’t even considered the UN estimate that there will be 1.6 billion worldwide job losses and the attendant hunger and deaths in poor countries because of our cowardice.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          All the countries which have diligently and transparently analysed the excess deaths over the past few months – there are about 70,000 in the UK – have found that virtually ALL of them were directly due to covid 19.

          They include Germany, Italy, and Spain.

          They have done the polar opposite of this Government, which will apparently do anything that it can to muddy waters and to shift the blame for their disastrous mishandling of this emergency.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            That is nonsense.
            The NHS PHE and the ONS are publishing figures several times every day.
            There is masses of data and statistics published by these bodies.

    • oldtimer
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      I recall there was a lively discussion of this topic earlier in the year as JR points out. The government was slow to adopt the rolling weekly average (despite being urged to do so) and has still to assign deaths to the day they actually occurred rather than the day they were reported (often several days or more later). The change in the way death certificates recorded causes of death provoked comment at the time without any answers being given.

      Was/is this another case of “project fear” being used to justify a decision, impose greater social control? If it was, it was very successful. We should not be surprised. “Fear” has a long and successful history as the prime persuader of behaviour.

  3. Caterpillar
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    (Extracted from earlier comment)

    The Govt needs to immediately issue reliable data on CV19 deaths, particularly identifying how many of the cases occurred in care homes and hospital acquired infection (broken down by patient, staff, visitor) as opposed to wider community transmission. It needs to state how care homes will now be protected and how nosocomial infection will be reduced (Nightingales?).

    The Govt needs to issue accurate estimates of (infected) fatality rates by age and no-known vs known underlying condition. These also need to be issued with an effect column showing the if-infected vs not-infected chance of dying in the next year. These numbers will probably be pessimistic upper bounds as they will be based on estimates of number of people infected (from the population anti-body sampling studies) and mortalities during the initial period of learning.

    The Govt also needs to publish information on improvement in fatality rates due to earlier intervention of rest, oxygen, steroidal, antiviral and serum antibody treatments. Alongside this the Govt needs a strategy for earlier indicators to hazard of infection e.g. are pulse oximeters a good tool.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Pulse Oximeters are also very cheap indeed circa £20.

  4. Richard1
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Indeed. Prof Karol Sikora, a world leading medical expert, is interesting on this topic. He thinks the actual deaths in the UK specifically from Covid are c. 20k+. With the rest of the excess deaths largely due to lock-down.

    When – and it’s likely to be when not if – this is confirmed it will be a very frustrating fact for leftwing people. Cheerled by the BBC and other leftist media they have relentlessly sought to inveigle the message that in effect the UK’s death rate is due to having a Conservative govt and perhaps to Brexit. (this is difficult to square in Scotland which has a worse death rate, and a leftwing devolved government which opposes Brexit).

    It will be good to get proper clarity. The difficult thing for Boris is going to be admitting lockdown was an error, although at the time there was little political choice but to impose it for a period. Better to be honest with people as early as possible.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      People do not die from “lock down“! So what conditions is he suggesting that (due to “lock down”) caused the other 50K of deaths without people even noticing?

  5. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    All of the data has been haphazard , but not only the data but the type of decisions made.
    I have had patients that were given the all clear following the contraction of the disease and then died the next month of pneumonia. We have had patients; Covid neg ;who have had the full blown effects of the disease , we as NHS staff were not given swab testing at the beginning of the outbreak and many of us self isolated for coughs and colds.I have watched very poor methods in swab taking in drive ins’. We spent huge amounts of money making space available based on figures which I personally am not convinced of their accuracy , but figures are not everything when many are ill and dying. What would many think when a relative, and it could be younger one dies and the argument put forward was one of inaccurate figures . People are not numbers.

    People with symptoms of covid have refused to go to hospital due to the greater risk of becoming ill in hospital.What is more China has been blamed for starting the outbreak when further evidence is arising which speaks of faecal oral contamination from soils , carcasses and a climate in waiting for the right conditions.

    Springing up in google there are pictures of covid already changing shape by growing tentacles . Perhaps an admission of we don’t really know is the answer.

    At the age of 69 yrs I have started to feel that I am also ‘ waiting for God’ as our disrespect for nature is taking its toll and corruption , manipulation of facts , takes precedent.

  6. Ex-Tory
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    It really beggars belief that 4 months after lockdown there should still be such huge uncertainty about the proper figures.

    If we can’t have confidence in the government about this, how can we have confidence in them about any other aspects of the way they are handling the crisis?

    • Edward2
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      It isn’t the government that collects the data it is independent quangos.

      • Richard416
        Posted July 19, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        Being technically independent does not mean that they do not have a private agenda.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 19, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          If you have proof of what you say then let’s hear it.

  7. Iain Moore
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I do not understand why the government has allowed this to carry on, after all it has made them look bad. Being incapable of apportioning deaths to the correct day , apart from giving us a ridiculous chart with steps , it should have also been a warning to the government that something was awry with the data collection. Now we are being told that PHE is not supplying local government or public health officials with the detailed data that allows them to clamp down on Covid spikes. If that is the case we might as well give up, for precise data is the nuts and bolts to clamping down on Covid.

    I also gather efforts to get control of Covid is hampered by political correctness, just like the British states reticence with dealing with grooming gangs, we now have them reluctant to identify Covid areas because it coincides with ethnic minority communities. I gather Leicester got a city wide lockdown because they didn’t want to identify the areas which had the problem.

  8. nhsgp
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    What you aren’t picking up on is the NHS/NICE guidelines on when to spend money to save lives and when not to save lives.
    If the cost of treating Covid 19 patients exceeds 9 billion in costs, all costs, then the NICE guide lines says you don’t mitigate.

    Why have you trashed the economy to the 500 bn mark and counting?

    • steve
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      nhsgp

      “Why have you trashed the economy to the 500 bn mark and counting?”

      To weaken the country so as to spoil brexit. They will stop at nothing. Any lie, any treachery.

  9. acorn
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Your comment JR, is the expected, “denialist” response to anything and everything the real world throws at you. A dominant trait that has become synonymous with “leave” voters.

    The bottom line is how many of your “consumer units” (people) died in this week 29, compared to how many died in the same week in the last five years. That tells you how well the nation’s government controlled health management system, managed to contain a quantum increase in life threats to its population, regardless of how that threat manifested itself in that population.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Go on then acorn tell us how many died in week 29 compared to the same week five years ago.
      Presumably week 29 gives you headline you desire.

      • acorn
        Posted July 19, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        Have a read of
        Part 3. Figure 1: Number of deaths registered by week, England and Wales, 28 December 2019 to 3 July 2020

        https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending3july2020

      • hefner
        Posted July 19, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Edward2, I hope you will have been curious enough to look not only at the data for 3 July (acorn’s link) but also at the data from previous weeks available from the same site.
        Now what do YOU conclude?
        No b/s, no squirrel, but an assessment carried out by you yourself. Imagine yourself looking at these data like the businessman you were some time ago and trying to make a decision based on these data. What will it be?

        • Edward2
          Posted July 19, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          To pick one week and compare it to one week five years ago seems a very partial way of presenting statistics.
          I could pick another week and compare it to another year some time ago and get a different result.
          I would be very skeptical of focussing on such a narrow set of competitive figures.
          And I would look more widely over a longer period.
          Or ask your squirrel.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

            Comparative not competitive

          • Edward2
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            PS
            For your information I am still running a business.

          • acorn
            Posted July 20, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

            Did you all spot the “Straw-man” reply from Edward2?

          • hefner
            Posted July 20, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

            Well, it is not one week compared to the same week in the year five years ago, they are results for one week compared to the average for the same week in the year computed as the average over five years (which is clearly explained on the site) (euromomo.eu mortality monitoring) and the results are presented over five years (your comment clearly shows you did not bother to check).

            If one looks for individual countries (by clicking lower down on this same site) on top of this average over five years are plotted the standard deviation, +1SD, +2SD, … and the so-called Z-score (by how many SDs the present year is different from the average).
            The curve for this year shows that the Z-score on week 17 for excess mortality rate was 9 for Northern Ireland, 16 for Scotland, 19 for Wales and 40 for England.
            This excess mortality is obviously not only linked to Covid-19 but also to all sorts of other causes. But to say that these curves are not scary or as a number of contributors are saying here have nothing to do with CV-19 makes me dubious about their sanity (or their overall intelligence).

          • Edward2
            Posted July 20, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            Acorn
            You orginally talked about a particular statistic to criticise what Sir John had said in his article.
            You didn’t at that point elaborate what the data was.
            It was one week versus another figure from history.
            That is your choice.
            It is not a strawman to point out another week versus another figure from history would have given a different result.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 20, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            Hefner
            I am just so impressed by your obvious huge intelligence.
            PS
            I never said ” these figures were not scary” etc so your slur is a failure.

          • hefner
            Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

            Edward2, I pointed to ‘a number of contributors’. Sorry, if you are so ‘snow flaky’ that you took it personally.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 20, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Yes, Acorn.

      John should ask the workers at the mortuaries, at the crematoriums, and the gravediggers, what the impact of the epidemic has been on mortality.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 20, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        Stupid comment
        We have figures for excess deaths.

  10. steve
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    We need the wrong death rates to justify the lockdown to destroy the economy to get the nation weak enough to cancel brexit.

    Trust no one. Especially PM’s with Belgian names hiding behind English names and presenting themselves to others via slapstick clown act.

    Our respected host may take it that Mr DePfeffel has blown it with the real conservative voters.

    Shouldn’t have made face nappies compulsory, we did warn him.

  11. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Well your party is in government and is hiring these non-scientific scientists. It’s us who should be asking the questions and you should be answering them.

    The anonymous people behind these erroneous figures need to see the limelight and be questioned publicly. Why on earth is the reporting standard different in England also?

    • steve
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      SJS

      “….non-scientific scientists”

      “…anonymous people”

      Highly dangerous and highly suspicious people who are not what they would have us believe.

      This will go down as the scam of all time when the truth is out. It is not just the Westminster swamp in need of draining.

  12. Philip P.
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    PHE is now reporting figures more transparently, so if that is down to the urging of yourself, Sir John, and your colleagues over recent weeks, count that as at least a small success, thank you. What those figures show btw is that positive cases are around just 0.5% of tests analysed. ‘Case’ numbers are going up, here and in other countries, because more people are being tested.

    The scale of the public health emergency has clearly been overstated. Please continue to question the dodgy data being put out by incompetent bureaucrats.

  13. everyone knows
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Doctors are being told they are not allowed to speak the to Media but when they speak to me or my contacts all of them tell me there never was a pandemic and what has happened is a scandel. When will it end John? The Emperor has no clothes.

    • M Davis
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      I’d like to believe you but are we supposed to take your word on trust?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        The evidence supports the words. No ‘trust’ required.

      • everyone knows
        Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        If you have any relatives who are doctors and work in hospitals, just ask them. I get posted their facebook chat chains from friends who have relatives who are doctors, who ask them for me. I also have personal friends who are doctors.

  14. David Brown
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I agree its essential to have accurate data and correct publications. I do question why the GOV allowed this suggested inaccurate information to be published for so long.
    The big problem is that many international organizations have the figures eg
    Euronews
    Our World in date
    Worldometer
    WHO
    Its unlikely these are going to suddenly amend their figures, so internationally the data is out there.
    I’m also interested in the total number of people who have recovered who are fit and able to work. There appears to be growing numbers who are suffering long term disability affects from Covid 19 and this number is set to increase. This of course has the potential of putting additional costs to the Gov and implications for employment.

  15. Fred H
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Surely most of the 30,000 (?) deaths at Care Homes that were attributed to Covid, need re-examination. What were the underlying conditions of the deceased? Was death likely within 6 months, 1 year, or possibly years away? How certain can the report be that it was Covid which killed, could it be that sadly it just hastened up a likely death only weeks away?

    Then secondly analysis of the underlying health condition of hospital deaths needs review. How did they arrive in hospital? From home, from Care Home, from within hospital as a patient or health worker?

    Not only will revised stats confirm safety or risk to the wider population, but might draw a stark message for reaction to any similar seeming outbreak.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      awaiting moderation?

  16. Javelin
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I think the Gov need to explain who chose and why they chose to record death with covid rather than by covid in the mortality figures. The impression is was done to increase the fear of the virus.

    FYI. Kingston Bentalls Center carpark was 1/4 full at 10:30-4:30 today. Plus 2/3 of the people were wearing masks.

    This backs up my impression that the Gov have induced fear into people rather than people avoiding work to enjoy themselves. The critics of working from home claim people do it because they are lazy. The low shopping numbers in Kingston show people are staying at home rather than going out.

    Last point. : DNA and the fear of death is a very powerful genie to let out the bottle. It’s going to be extremely hard to put back in.

    • Bert
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Maybe you don’t remember pressure being put on the government to count the figures different as they “missed half the deaths on purpose”. Hence the counting of deaths with any suggestion of covid.

  17. ed2
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Are such things being done to embarrass the Government ?

    >
    I have pondered all these things, it appears to me the govt are just puppets, actors.
    Perhaps they do not know what to believe in and so are easily led?

    I was hoping John may give us some insight.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Mrs May said ‘I’m the PM so it’s my job to sell ….’. It was a passing remark but I nearly fell over. If the British PM and MPs think their job is to ‘sell’ then they are completely captured by the policy makers.

  18. Sea Warrior
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Short version: counting is just another thing that the government hasn’t been able to get right in this crisis. Sackings are needed.

  19. Lifelogic
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Well it depends on what you mean. I suspect that most of the circa 70,000 excess death deaths have been caused by or rather been brought forwards by this virus. But clearly many of these with have also died with many other conditions all contributing.

    If this is not the case what else caused this large bulge in deaths. I do not think very many have died due to cancellation of normal NHS activities. Indeed probably the reverse as when major operation are cancelled the initial effect is nearly always a reduction in deaths as fewer post operation complications after the surgery.

    We should now see lower than average deaths for a while as these 70,000 death were brought forwards and so will not appear over the next few years.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Many patients (most were very elderly) will clearly have suffered from numerous conditions as well as Covid at the time of death and these will have contributed. But without Covid they would almost certainly have lived a little while longer at least.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        What – 30 minutes, 24 hours?

        • Stred
          Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Main cause of death is now dementia, heart, cancer, stroke, diabetes. All except the first of which can be medicated to extend life for years. Dementia varies and can last for two years or more in care.
          Anyone dying of an accident, suicide or other disease without a covid test or symptoms will be certified with that and not covid.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 19, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          It obviously varies. Days, weeks, months up to many years in some cases.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 20, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        Reliable research says that the average covid19 fatality around the world has robbed its victim of between five and fourteen years of life.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 20, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          reliable? — hogwash.
          Whose Time Machine did they use?
          How the hell can you suggest the typical victim was going to live between 5 and 14 years longer?

          Probably another Prof whatsisname prophesy?
          take average age at death for males, minus average age of Covid death = loss of years life.
          Laughable wild guess.

  20. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Do we really need accurate figures to know that millions world wide have died due to corona virus. We cannot predict with accuracy how this deceptive virus is tricking us . We should be satisfied with the fact that we are going to live with it until hopefully one day it can be eradicated. What a waste of time sorting through lots of suffering . We already know it s bigger than our knowledge at present .

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I read that Matt Hancock has asked for an inquiry into the latest disclosure relating to the inflating of recorded deaths from CV-19 by PHE. Does anyone believe he was unaware of this? If he wasn’t he was incompetent. Did it never cross his mind to ask on what basis the figures were being compiled? If he was aware, he was complicit. The statistics have been clearly misleading to diligent observers for months. It tends to suggest that this has been done deliberately to perpetuate fear and brain washing about CV-19 whilst so much else has been wantonly ignored and neglected and which will duo far more harm than this disease. Is the price of protecting the reputations and careers of those involved more of their self-inflicted harm? I repeat – the cure is already far worse than the disease.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      One seriously wonders why the PM has kept Mr Hancock in position.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 20, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        useful idiot?

  22. Adam
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Decisions are made according to the weight of alternative options. Numbers are usually essential for assessing and comparing.

    Sloppy counting causes faulty decisions leading to dangerous knock-on effects and careless waste.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Matt Hancock seemed surprised by all this, like it is news to him, does he not deal in reality? I sometimes wonder if politicians just turn on GMTV to get their marching orders from Piers Morgan etc?

  24. Everhopeful
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Well we all knew.
    So why is this happening?

  25. Nigl
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    What you don’t say is why no one listened. Incompetence or other motives. My money is on both. This problem has amplified how rubbish the people/systems are and I suspect across the whole of government. If actions don’t have consequences nothing happens/changes.

  26. BOF
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Surely there cannot be many who did not know that numbers have been inflated and misrepresented for nefarious/political reasons? Except, apparently in Government.

    What is really appalling is the complete disregard for the families of victims, many of whom knew full well that when ‘Covid’ appeared on a death certificate, it was wrong.

    Who will be held accountable for this shameful breach of trust? Most likely, no one.

  27. jerry
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    There will obviously likely be deaths that have nothing to do with CV19, such as someone who steps accidental in front of the No.7 bus, on the other hand we are in danger of some trying to under state death caused by CV19 for economic or political reasons, as I think the SNP govt might been doing, people can still die of CV19 related causes a month and more after they have tested positive.

    I welcome the review called for by the Mr Hancock, that said, we should not dismiss cause of death simply on how long has passed since diagnosis or recovery, as some have suggested via the MSM.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 18, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      So if you are 80 plus get Covid survive and then die a months later from the pre existing conditions you had and common old age health problems, you think that a death like this that should be recorded as a Covid death?

      • jerry
        Posted July 19, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        @Edward2; If the pre-existing condition was made worse by CV19 then yes. People live for years with some quite serious illnesses, managed by drugs, but I concede, perhaps the death cert should actually read something like;

        Cause of death:
        [pre-ex illness], due to complications caused by Covid-19.

        What you appear to be ignoring is the increasing evidence about the effects of the virus existing far longer than the initial recovery period, even that person stepping out in front of the No.7 bus might be due to confusion cause by the effects of the virus even though outwardly the person appears well.

        Just to expand on why I think an emphasis on the number of weeks since (apparent) recovery is misplaced; An embolism, such as a Thrombus (apparently common with CV19) can exist for years sitting unnoticed, then moving to a critical organ such as the lungs to cause a pulmonary embolism.

        • ed2
          Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          What you appear to be ignoring is the increasing evidence about the effects of the virus existing far longer than the initial recovery period

          >
          What evidence? The News papers have planted fake news articles with paid for actors pretending to be whistleblowing Chinese virologists etc.

          • jerry
            Posted July 19, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

            @ed2; Then you will have no problem citing the relevant clinical, peer reviewed, papers that prove otherwise

            The only Covid-19 conspiracy theories are coming from the hard and far right.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 19, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          Thank you for your reply Jerry.
          I agree that the death certificate should state something similar to your example.
          It seems some people have had Covid written on their certificate without any testing taking place.
          Then there is the difference between dying from and dying with Covid.
          Then there is the difficulty in defining to what extent Covid was the main cause of death if you died of another illness (heart attack, stroke, cancer, Parkinson’s, dementia etc).
          It seems different doctors in the UK have different policies and even more so in other countries.

          • jerry
            Posted July 20, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “[having] Covid written on their certificate without any testing taking place.”

            I agree, and the logical extension is to test for Covid-19 after every death.

            But remember, many people may well be dying from/with Covid-19, the virus having never been tested for or suspected, yours is a very sharp double edges sword.

            The POTUS was correct, if you go looking you will find more cases….

            It is the same with any bacterial infection, that is why when there is something like a Listeria outbreak and health inspectors go looking even more cases are found in commercial food kitchens etc. even though there has been no infections linked to the additional locations tested.

            Also, I’m not sure what you mean by “there is the difference between dying from and dying with Covid.”

            That’s a bit like claiming someone didn’t die due to a road traffic accident but from uncontrolled internal bleeding some two hours later! If the bodies systems have been placed under stress due to Covid-19 then the virus is a direct contribution to the death, even if the cause of death was from say a previously weak heart – no?

  28. Sakara Gold
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    The government constantly moved the goalposts when counting the number of fatalities during the height of the pandemic. Hancock’s announcement just looks like yet another attempt to manipulate the figures.

    Of greater concern is that the government will cease reporting daily numbers of fatalities. Why is this? Has the second wave begun and an embarrassing rise in the numbers is apparent?

    The public will not be taken in – it looks too suspicious.

  29. glen cullen
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    I miss watching a highly qualified and highly paid scientific professional pointing to a chart depicting vehicle usage rate decrease which looked like it had been produced by a 10 year old

    It was the highlight of the daily brief, I am not questioning whether it was good or bad data rather its relevance ..either way it was amusing to watch

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      It should have been seen as the warning that it was – resources.aren’t moving the economy will be on its knees.

  30. rick hamilton
    Posted July 18, 2020 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    I am astonished that the UK government wasn’t keen to keep the reported deaths as low as possible. With more than 40,000 deaths they can hardly claim that the NHS is ‘wonderful’ as it is clearly not doing its job judged by results. Banging saucepans is not the way to make an efficient health service. It requires root and branch reform, with competition between providers instead of control by rationing.

    British death rates per million are one of the highest in the world whereas the Japanese rate is one of the lowest. Being marooned in Tokyo all this year, I can only conclude that the British are quite sloppy at recording and reporting. By contrast the Japanese are obsessed with small details and worry constantly about getting them right. And if you can’t get that urgent treatment at one hospital you go to another, anywhere in the country.

    • sam
      Posted July 20, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      take away control by Big Pharma, bring in other methods of healing that actually make people better rather than leaving them on a lifetime of drugs, then you might get somewhere.
      The reason for the UK high death toll us not using hydroxychloroquine and zinc that has been shown to cure in hospitals all over the world

  31. Stred
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Whenever there is an epidemic and excess deaths the cause of death is certified as due to the virus or bacterium that has lead to the patient dying, even though the patients usually have other underlying conditions and are old. This has been understood and accepted. During a flu epidemic, when a seasonal virus is particularly lethal, the excess death rates give the picture and are recorded and compared.

    This year the flu peaked in the new year and the excess death rate was flat until in early March the infection rate increased and the death rate went up steeply after two to three weeks, flattening in early April after distancing, closures and self isolation in mid March and lockdown a week later after many city residents ignored the advice.

    The hospital deaths were recorded by surgeons who found that covid is very different from flu because, unless the patients recover after ten days, it affects other organs in addition to lungs. It attacks the vascular system, heart, kidneys, liver, central nervous system and brain. The death rate is over twice that of flu.

    If anything. PHE has failed to record the deaths that occurred outside hospitals in time and is now catching up by counting older certificates. The idea that they have been miscounting flu deaths as covid is ridiculous. The other deaths caused by the closure or lack of isolation in hospitals and care homes will take time to count and are the real embarrassment. The real figure for the UK of excess deaths so far is over 65,000 and most of these will be caused by covid. On top of this there are many ‘long haulers’ which are patients who recovered after hospital treatment or even recovered at home, but have damage to other organs, disabled movement, exhaustion and even psychosis.

    • ed2
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      This year the flu peaked in the new year and the excess death rate was flat until in early March the infection rate increased and the death rate went up steeply after two to three weeks, flattening in early April after distancing

      >
      The flu peak is never as early as the new year. The flu figures were pushed forward to give the initial pandemic spike, the rest of the deaths were caused by the lockdown.

    • ed2
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      The hospital deaths were recorded by surgeons who found that covid is very different from flu because, unless the patients recover after ten days, it affects other organs in addition to lungs. It attacks the vascular system, heart, kidneys, liver, central nervous system and brain. The death rate is over twice that of flu.

      >
      Covid is a coronavirus, we have had them for over 40 years. A coronavirus causes respiratory disease, not psychosis, spots, athletes foot and everything else they are trying to add as symptoms. Stop trusting Sky News fear porn articles.

    • ed2
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      The death rate is over twice that of flu.

      >
      No, the death rate is 1/16th of the flu

  32. Bryan Harris
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Extremely important that this is tackled.

    Many people have little faith in CV-19 death statistics, which are used to justify the 2m rule and the wearing of masks.
    It is the same statistics that will justify a second more permeant lockdown if we are not extremely careful.

    The most worrying aspect of all of this is that it is appearing ever more clearly that use of bad statistics to impose restrictions was deliberate, and part of the plan to move us willingly on to our mere existence within the New World Order

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      +1

    • ed2
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Not only was it deliberate but this entire thing was pre-planned.

  33. hefner
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    As when medieval scholastics were debating the sex of angels or how many of them could dance on the head of a pin, the present ‘debate’ is rather ridiculous. From February to June this year there was a spike in the excess mortality rate, whatever the cause, compared to the baseline (European Mortality Monitoring, euromomo.eu). Comparison of the excess mortality rate in different countries shows the UK near the top of the league. Whether people died of/with/following Covid-19 is irrelevant, they are dead.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Well that is staing the obvious.
      Yes they are dead.
      The more important thing is ceciding and recording accurately why they died.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Its relevant because it shows whether the policy / policy implementation was wrong. If extra people have died due to misallocating resources and inappropriately changing behviour then this must be understood to avoid doing it again. If it turns out that the policy of lockdown and protecting the NHS directly killed more people than were saved from CV19 (even ignoring the longrun life shortening that destroying the economy will do) then this needs to be known.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Well that lands at the door of the NHS WHICH IS CLEARLY THE WORST IN THE WORLD.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        I can’t agree with that, the practioners are generally first class and our taxation pays for most really expensive treatment. What seems to have happened over several decades, is that senior management have taken inefficient, ill-advised numerous levels of management at their word. NHS has become either a non-seeing religion, or is scorned as being administratively inept and riddled with organisational confusion and thus difficulties.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 19, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        No – certainly not the worse in the World – but clearly not very good for a wealthy developed nation like the UK. Dumping infected and untested patients into care home was unforgivable and clearly killed thousands.

    • Barbara
      Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      It is not irrelevant – it is extremely important ‘rerum cognoscere causas’ (to know the causes of things).

  34. A.Sedgwick
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    The only reliable figures have always been excess deaths over the previous years. This will increasingly include collateral deaths, which were not taken sufficiently into account when the severe lockdown was prescribed. Essentially the NHS did collapse for normal business. The country will now reap the economic whirlwind if the Chancellor thinks the insulation ploy and cheap meals will recover the economy.

    Again the inability of successive governments not to see the blindingly obvious has been demonstrated.

  35. ed2
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The powers that be want us to be under the boot of oppression (fake masks etc) until they can sell us all their dodgy vaccine. This has been clear from the start and events on prove this to remain the case. The EU had a summit in (Sept 2019) where they devised 10 commandments for “vaccinations for all” (and it looked very much like bribing everybody).

  36. Gordon Merrett
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Just another example of the gross incompetence of the National Health England Quango. This organisation, with, I understand a budget of over 5 billion!!! has been responsible for the pathetically slow testing because they would not permit the use of private labs to begin with and doing their best to produce the most horrendous death rate figures they can manage. One wonders who’s side they are on.

    All Quangos should be examined asap to judge their worth and closed down if not able to prove beyond doubt that they do a useful job.

  37. James Bertram
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, here is a typical use of Death Rates as propaganda:
    Regards Mr Hancock’s statement to the House
    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/face-coverings-to-be-mandatory-in-shops-and-supermarkets-from-24-july
    it seems he has deliberately misled parliament, and should be forced to apologise.

    The point I wish to make is that Mr Hancock used death figures by occupation from a survey for the period of the 9 March to 25 May to justify his policy of the compulsory wearing of face-masks in shops. The deaths recorded in the survey were for all retail workers by occupation. However, over the period of the survey MOST shops were closed. Thus the VAST MAJORITY of those retail workers who were registered of dying of Coronavirus in the survey COULD NOT HAVE CAUGHT THE VIRUS AT THE WORKPLACE. [Or are we to believe that it is only those shopkeepers who went to work that died?]. Thus for Mr Hancock to justify and impose a workplace safety measure on that basis, in Hancock’s words ‘to keep shopkeepers safe’, is completely dishonest.
    He needs to be brought back to parliament to explain himself.
    I very much hope you will hold him to account.

    [This link will help you to do this: https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2020/07/fact-checking-matt-hancocks-figures-on-covid-deaths-among-shop-workers-analysed-.html%5D

  38. Fred H
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    You would think with the resources of WHO, PHE, NHS etc the Covid test could be clarified prior to millions of kits and instructions sent out to unskilled ‘blood drawers’.

    From testers : – -The ‘swab’ if taken carefully at the back of the throat, as high up as possible is perfectly accurate. Done easily first time, without groping about possibly causing gagging reaction is best. The jammed up nostril often causing extreme pain, discomfort or bleeding is not required. Indeed it is likely that a decent sample from spitting will be proven acceptable.
    I doubt the organisations will backtrack this late, do you?

  39. Mark
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    It’s some weeks since I produced the chart showing the ONS breakdown of deaths by virus/nonvirus and by location. Here’s an update to week 27:

    https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/L6gck/1/

    We can see that deaths now appear to be lower than normal, with very few attributed to the virus, demonstrating that some deaths were accelerated by the lack of treatment available during the pandemic, which can also be seen in the rise in non virus deaths in weeks 13-17 in particular. It also seems fairly clear that normal service has not resumed in hospitals

    https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/BxPCc/1/

    and that the brunt of the excess non virus deaths was borne in care homes

    https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/UdWMJ/1/

    where it is also clear that virus deaths peaked much later than non virus deaths. The lack of medical treatment for other conditions is also clear.

    The ONS have been revising the data and adding newly recorded deaths. By comparing the originally published figures with the most recent ones we can see a bias in the changes towards virus attribution, even apparently of deaths that were already recorded as not being due to the virus (hence negative numbers in the chart).

    https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/VyODa/1/

  40. Jasper
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    A family I know are challenging a hospital which reported their mother died of Covid in April, when she was in fact terminally ill with cancer! They could not believe it when they received the death certificate. Cannot wait to see the true figures.

  41. Janet Abbott
    Posted July 19, 2020 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Why oh why did it take the Government so long to start checking those numbers? the awake and alert public were on to that at least a month or more ago. Why are we taking orders from so called ‘experts’ who are herding us all in various directions using algorithms and statistics and predictions. AND they have been proved wrong several times before over the years! Agan the awake and alert public noticed this months ago. We voted to get our of a Marxist EU (still not out) and now we are being marched into another Marxist social experiment by strangers we didn’t and wouldn’t have voted for. ‘Something is going very wrong with this country’ Thank you for your common sense amongst all this madness.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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