Death rates

The official figures for death rates in the UK show that the death rate in 2020 was considerably higher than in recent years. They also show, contrary to some media reports, that the death rate stayed below the higher levels it reached in the years 1999-2004. The overall rate is around 1% per annum, with most of those dying being the elderly. As people are living longer, so the typical age of death has trended upwards over the last half century.

There was a surge of deaths in the spring of 2020 brought on by CV 19 which boosted overall annual numbers. Since then progress with finding a range of treatments and nursing procedures that can cut the death rate from the virus have helped to bring down the numbers dying from the pandemic.

Today there is concern that other causes of death including cancer and heart problems may be boosted by people not seeking the treatment they need with these conditions, or by delays in access to hospital care resulting from the need to create extra capacity in some hospitals to handle covid 19 patents. There is also the double hit to overall NHS capacity that has come from the measures to tackle the virus. There is more social distancing in hospitals to wrestle with infection control, and absences of more staff who either catch the virus or need to self isolate for periods after contact with it.

The NHS management and their Ministerial supporters are concentrating on rolling out the vaccine, with the hope that this will solve the problem of lockdown. It may require more development of vaccines and further vaccination moves should the virus transmute. This important work should not detract from the need to advance in other ways as well. So let us look at other ways we can learn to live with this virus.

  1. More medical guidance on ways the rest of us can fend off the virus, using everything from diet to exercise. What is the official view of zinc, Vitamin C, weight loss and other measures in addition to Vitamin D which now has some official support?
  2. Are there treatments like Regeneron and chloroquine that can offer some protection?
  3. More treatments that can cut the death rate and reduce the severity of viral attacks. The work that has discovered dexamethasone and the anti rheumatoid drugs is welcome. Where are we on Ivermectin and others?
  4. More guidance and support for people to convert air flow and heating systems and introduce air cleansing systems within their air systems, to reduce exposure to disease laden air in enclosed rooms and spaces
  5. More use of isolation hospitals to cut the spread of disease in health settings and to reduce the numbers of NHS staff at risk


  1. Ian Wragg
    January 17, 2021

    The BBC keep telling us that it is the highest annual death rate since 1918. This is absolute nonsense as the population is now 40% higher.
    It is the same with the constant drivel about America suffering the worst, they never point out that the population is 5 times the UK.
    Statistics and lies, whatever your agenda.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 17, 2021

      The BBC coverage has been alarmist and wrong (as normal).

      One hugely misleading/frightening headline was “Covid: 2020 saw most excess deaths since World War Two!” Apart from the Spring wave deaths are up only 3.1% in 2020 and that with much of the NHS largely shut.

    2. hefner
      January 17, 2021

      A rate is given as X per 10k, 100k or per million population.

      Death rate for USA is 1,220 per million, UK death rate is 1,301 (

      So please tell me, how would you want these numbers to be reported?

      1. Ian Wragg
        January 17, 2021

        Deaths per million, I believe Belgium is the worst.

      2. Hope
        January 17, 2021

        An equal definition/understanding of death from Chinese virus would be a good start!

        Only deaths from Chinese virus not those having died with or tested positive within 28 days of dying. UK definition and numbers a total sham. Never have death certificates been so speculatively written.

        This alone will change your figures Hef. Pretty basic stuff when making comparisons.

        1. hefner
          January 17, 2021

          Sorry, these are not my figures but those of Worldometer, which has been collecting them every day since the end of February 2020 for more than 190 countries.

          For each country, the table gives:
          Total number of infections
          Daily infections
          Total number of deaths
          Daily deaths
          Total recovered
          Active cases
          Serious critical
          Total tests
          Infections per million
          Death per million
          Tests per million

          And if glen were to take the time to look at this table, check all the countries that are islands he might realise that the qualificative given to the UK some days ago by another contributor was right in the sense that the UK is indeed the worst island for these Covid-19 statistics.

          1. Hope
            January 18, 2021

            But do all countries use the same criterion for what constitutes a death?

          2. hefner
            January 18, 2021

            A death is a death is a death. The question should be ‘of’ or ‘with’ Covid. I agree there is no certainty that the 190 countries are applying the exact same criteria.

  2. Lifelogic
    January 17, 2021

    One hospital consultant I know retrained to become a lawyer and now earns far more doing medical litigation work with far less stress and hassle. The incentives in the UK system are often very wrong indeed. Far too many do largely parasitic work (often very well paid) and far too few doing productive and useful thinks, often rather poorly paid.

    1. APL
      January 22, 2021

      Lifelogic: “Far too many do largely parasitic work (often very well paid) and far too few doing productive and useful thinks, often rather poorly paid.”

      Churning houses is productive work?

  3. Bob Dixon
    January 17, 2021

    Those of us who try and follow the guidance see football and footballers and managers ignoring the guidence. In particular the revolting need to spit.

  4. Fedupsoutherner
    January 17, 2021

    My only concern is that younger people are ending up in hospital needing treatment. If we relax restrictions too soon and the young start mixing too much then although they may not die will our hospitals be able to cope? How many of these young people live with more elderly? I know of quite a few. Vaccination is the best way out but we need it quicker and local.

  5. davews
    January 17, 2021

    Why on earth do the media always quote the ‘date reported’ figures for deaths and ‘cases’ which makes them sound far more alarming. Also deaths after a positive test figures distorts them, many will actually be dying of other things but just have tested positive at some time. The only reliable figure is the overall death statistics from ONS which are currently showing death rates not much more than normal for this time of year.

  6. Mary M.
    January 17, 2021

    Sir John, what you write here is quite probably what many would agree with. The question is, why aren’t more like-minded people being listened to by the powers-that-be?

    May I ask that if you do have the chance to make these points to, say, the Health Secretary, could you please alter your first point to read ‘Vitamin D3’, not mere ‘Vitamin D’. Any nutritionist or dietician will tell you that Vitamin D is inferior to Vitamin D3 in boosting the immune system. Thank you very much.

    If Vitamin D, not Vitamin D3, is fire-hosed at the elderly and vulnerable, that will be yet another waste of tax-payers’ money.

  7. M Brandreth- Jones
    January 17, 2021

    Many of us in general practice, for many years have been attending lectures on the benefits of Vit D and Zinc . If depleted we then go on to prescribe a high dose for 8 weeks and then a maintenance dose. The benefits to the skeletal system and immunity are said to be good. Many of these lecturers have studied and are connected to Oxford University where trials are undertaken . I prescribe these where necessary.
    I myself have arthritis ( not too severe thank goodness) and I take a combination drug including Zinc and Vit D and glucosamine. General Practitioners these days advise over the counter drugs which are just as effective as those written on the official script. A blood test to assess the level of vit D is extremely expensive. Over the last few years many were asking for this test and for a written prescription . Our CCG has now advised purchasing O TC medication including 1,000 mgs Vit D daily It would seem to be a lack of foresight not to purchase other ions which will not do harm and may be beneficial as compound ,
    Zinc is also given intravenously where required in secondary care.

    Airflow is an important aspect of all health matters and research into how ventilation could be improved may make a great difference. Stale air harbours pathogens . Covid dispersion is mainly by aerosol , however if one looks at dust which is airborne , then settles, any agitation will cause it to become air born again and many experiments have been carried out to time when this Sars is pathogenic. Up to 5 days activity have been found depending upon what material it lands upon.

  8. Nig l
    January 17, 2021

    And then you woke up and realised once again you will get no answers.

  9. Iain gill
    January 17, 2021

    More use of individual room per patient, and where the building makes that impossible then individual tent over each patient on the wards to reduce cross infection between patients in the NHS.
    With each tent having its own air conditioning unit, like the Americas have done, so that air pressure within the tents is controlled to further reduce cross infection.

  10. Denis Cooper
    January 17, 2021

    There is a media report that it might be possible to vaccinate the entire adult population of the UK by the end of June. I would offer some words of caution:

    1. That would not cover those under 18, at a rough guess a quarter of the population.

    2. It is only possible to offer the vaccine and in a bad scenario 20% will refuse it.

    3. Also in a bad scenario those who have had just one jab may only be 80% protected.

    Combine all those factors – multiply 0.75 by 0.80 by 0.80, = 0.48 – and in a bad scenario the job would still only be half done at that point.

    1. Caterpillar
      January 17, 2021

      Denis Cooper,

      I would suggest a bad scenario would be to give a vaccine to all adults that might be so narrowly tuned that it does not give rise to broad cross reactive immunity, but does prohibit people who are at little risk from the actual virus developing the broader immunity from catching the actual virus.

      For this virus, the strategy beyond protecting the most vulnerable (with 2 properly spaced jabs) seems questionable.

    2. a-tracy
      January 18, 2021

      Denis apparently R Kimbell tweeted this morning that pills could replace covid jabs this would be a game-changer wouldn’t it. Sussex based losBio has found a way to turn injected vaccines into tablets. Reported in the Telegraph for those with subscriptions.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 18, 2021

        That will be very good if it happens.

    3. Denis Cooper
      January 18, 2021

      Actually thinking further the job would be half done for those persons who were still susceptible to infection, but as there were fewer of them, as well as them each being less likely to get infected, the job would be three quarters done for the NHS.

  11. Me
    January 17, 2021

    Average mortality rate (deaths per 100k population) for England and Wales for last 40 years: 1025.

    Mortality rate (deaths per 100k population) for England and Wales for 2020: 1016

    1. glen cullen
      January 17, 2021

      And I wonder why this government isn’t shouting about this ?

      1. APL
        January 22, 2021

        glen Cullen: “And I wonder why this government isn’t shouting about this ?”

        A conspiracy of liars. Ten months into the lie and 10%** off the GDP of our economy … so far.

        British economy – actually decimated.
        Airline industry – decimated.
        Pub and restraint trade – obliterated.
        Government spending – Exploded
        Graft and corruption – when there is £2T being flushed around there is going to be some monumental theft.

        ** Twice as bad as the 2008 recession in living memory in terms of loss of GDP. But the duration of the impact will ( according to Neil Fergusson in his evidence to Parliament in the spring of 2019 ) take decades, yes decades, to recover from.

  12. Bryan Harris
    January 17, 2021

    One of the problems we have with the medical establishment is their total dependence on drugs — practitioners are taught to see drugs as a tick in the box, ignoring alternative treatment.

    Why are we so drug orientated?
    Because drug companies put so much into promotion, which benefits many in the medical profession, one way or another, but sets their mind in a certain direction – Drugs are easy to provide and repeat prescriptions keep drug companies in profit. The resolution is often a lifetime taking a series of drugs with various side effects.

    This all describes why the medical establishment is so convinced that vaccines are the only way out of this pandemic — They have no ability to think around the problem or come up with innovative solutions, so reliant are they on drug companies to provide some sort of solution.

    Now we are told that for each new strain of CV we will need a different vaccine….!


    As each new strain of CV comes around lock-down will be extended and extended – Our world will fall apart, and the authorities will rule our lives as if we were cattle.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 17, 2021

      Why are we so drug orientated? Well they only have a few minutes with each patient so they want to get rid of them and get on. A prescription is the easiest way.

  13. Yossarion
    January 17, 2021

    So the death rate is lower than 1999.2004 even with Blair’s Plantation of England and the population being 6M higher today.

  14. Nigel
    January 17, 2021

    I understand that the death rate in 2020 was the highest since 2008. What happened in 2008? I don’t remember any lockdowns!

    1. Lifelogic
      January 17, 2021

      The banking crash?

      1. Lifelogic
        January 17, 2021

        The economic damage from this shutdown is estimated to be at least ten times worse.

        1. APL
          January 22, 2021

          Lifelogic: “The economic damage from this shutdown is estimated to be at least ten times worse.”

          Just looking at GDP decline for 2008 and Wiki claims the UK lost ~5% of GDP. Sunak announced last year that UK GDP was down 10%. But ten times worse that 2008? I can believe it, but isn’t that 50% of GDP ?

          And this is a Tory government ?

  15. ukretired123
    January 17, 2021

    Death certainly focuses everyone’s mind regardless of race, colour or creed. Many don’t like to talk about it unlike most older cultures where it is regarded as natural reference and reverence to understand life itself.
    Many think death only happens to other folk usually older. However new strains of the virus are the Russian roulette – “Do you think you are lucky?” springs to mind.
    The mass snowball “fun” by Leeds students shows how poor education is plus how frustrating lockdown is for them. Understanding Hospital capacity and the need to use Hotels and Churches etc are clues. Poignant Salisbury Cathedral mentioned by the novichok suspects is leading the covax successfully – how ironic!
    Glad we have great doctors, nurses and medics working non stop to get this done.

  16. None of the Above
    January 17, 2021

    Thank you for your summary.
    Despite comments in some quarters last year questioning the ‘Excess Death Rate’, there can be absolutely no doubt about the seriousness of this virus and all its variants.
    I feel sure that the long term plan must be based on our approach to influenza but extending the program to vaccinate a larger age group.
    Time will tell if the vaccine(s) have any curative effect and so continued research into treatments is vital.
    In the meantime, we must be patient.

    1. None of the Above
      January 17, 2021

      I’m very interested to hear scientific/medical opinion on protection provided by Vitamin D. My Wife and I are aware of the NHS recommendation to use Vitamin D supplements in the winter but I like to have what I call my Vitamin D Omelette (mushroom).
      I understand that BAME people may be disproportionately affected by Covid 19. Having a darker skin, if this reduces the production of Vitamin D, might this be one of the possible causes in this disproportionality?
      Worth exploring!

  17. Sir Joe Soap
    January 17, 2021

    Unfortunately the government is stuck in about 1948.

    1 First we need to save the NHS, though it isn’t clear for what purpose, since it’s killed more people in the past year than ever before.
    2 I just received a letter in the post dated 31 December, offering me a vaccine for … flu.
    3 They have just cottoned on to the idea first mooted in these columns, then used in New Zealand, to use hotels to quarantine incomers and cut the traveller numbers coming in. A year too late.
    4 The data, the advice, the treatments… yes.,all available but all we hear next to nothing about them, nor about the real figures for deaths etc. We just hear inanities.

    1. Mark B
      January 18, 2021


    2. APL
      January 22, 2021

      Sir Joe Soap: “1 First we need to save the NHS, though it isn’t clear for what purpose, since it’s killed more people in the past year than ever before.”

      There is by some accounts, provision of £4billion for negligence claims against the NHS.
      And then, as to killing patients, don’t forget the semi official means of euthanasia, practiced in the NHS, the ‘Liverpool Pathway’, deny your patient food and water, so he/she dies of thirst.

  18. Denis Cooper
    January 17, 2021

    Starting from the January 8 release of the ongoing ONS survey of the incidence of the virus in the population of England, excluding hospitals and care homes:

    I have worked my way back to the first release on May 14 2020.

    In the following table each date is that of the release, the swab samples having been taken over a period of a week or so centred eight or nine days earlier, and the number for each date is the incidence is the percentage found to be positive.

    Jan 8 2.00
    Dec 24 1.18
    Dec 18 1.05
    Dec 11 0.87
    Dec 4 0.95
    Nov 26 1.18
    Nov 20 1.25
    Nov 13 1.18
    Nov 6 1.11
    Oct 30 1.00
    Oct 23 0.77
    Oct 16 0.63
    Oct 9 0.42
    Oct 2 0.20
    Sep 25 0.20
    Sep 18 0.11
    Sep 11 0.07
    Sep 4 0.05
    Aug 28 0.05
    Aug 21 0.05
    Aug 14 0.05
    Aug 7 0.05
    Jul 31 0.07
    Jul 24 0.05
    Jul 17 0.04
    Jul 9 0.03
    Jul 2 0.05
    Jun 25 0.09
    Jun 18 0.06
    Jun 12 0.06
    Jun 5 0.10
    May 28 0.24
    May 21 0.25
    May 14 0.27

    It is staggering how high the most recent numbers have been and I might suspect that there has been some error either in the methodology or in the reporting, but in fact to get from the lowest reported incidence 0f 0.03% on July 9 to the highest reported incidence of 2.00% on January 8 only needs a compound increase averaging 2.4% a day over 180 days, and the latest reported growth rate is in the range 2% – 5% a day:

    It is clear you cannot afford to mess about with this disease; even the original strain can quickly bounce back from very low levels, and vaccination may only delay its resurgence by a few weeks until the entire population has close to complete immunity.

    1. Philip P.
      January 17, 2021

      No Martin, the excess death rate is not being caused by ‘something very bad’. There’s more than one thing going on, as SJR pointed out. The high death rate is being caused not only by Covid, but also by above-average deaths at home, thanks to patients not getting hospital treatment; by above-average deaths from dementia; by above-average numbers of suicides, and all the ‘collateral damage’ from your beloved lockdown policy. You can call Covid unprecedented if you like, but so was shunting so many of the elderly from disease-ridden hospitals into care homes, so is denying people in care homes the life-extending benefit of family visits, and so is denying proper health care and operations to sufferers from serious disease.

      We must never do this again.

      1. Know-Dice
        January 17, 2021

        “Martin” Philip P. You must be confused…

        I any case whilst the definition of a Covid death because of dieing within 28 days of a positive test is certainly incorrect, don’t classify COVID-19 as just another winter flu.

    2. Richard II
      January 17, 2021

      Wow – impressive work, Denis. You may be right about the methodology especially on the 8 January figure. You’d need to know which tests were used when. Before Christmas a lot of tests were carried out by universities using the lateral flow test, which produces far fewer positives than the notoriously unreliable PCR test. In early January there probably wouldn’t be much university testing.

      Ideally you’d also need to know with the PCR tests how many cycles were used to obtain a positive result, otherwise these % figures are dubious. As you may be aware, the % positive can be manipulated by raising the number of cycles used in the PCR analysis. The procedure shouldn’t be used above 30 cycles, according to the head of the US Centre for Disease Control, Dr Fauci. But in this country PCR analyses are routinely carried out to 35 cycles or even higher.

      In any case the PCR test shouldn’t be used as a reliable diagnostic of disease because of its over-sensitivity. Or so we were told back in 2014 by the eminent Prof Christian Drosten of the Berlin Charite Hospital. And yes, he’s also the man who last year adapted it for use world-wide as a diagnostic of disease for Covid 19. It’s a funny old world, eh?

    3. Denis Cooper
      January 17, 2021

      Connecting this post with one of my posts on an earlier thread:

      even back in early July when the incidence of the virus was at its lowest, about 0.03% of the population, there would still have been only a 74% chance that a random sample of 1000 people would not include any who were infected.

      And as for Wembley Stadium, the chance that all 90,000 spectators would have been free of infection would have been infinitesimal, 0.000000000002.

  19. Nivek
    January 17, 2021

    Is the Tory Party leadership pro-life?

  20. William Long
    January 17, 2021

    Your number 5 in my view, is the thing that would do most good, and it is inexplicable to me why it was not addressed some time ago. I am aware of two very recent deaths where Covid was definitely caught in hospital because the individuals had tested negative on admission. In one, the patient would have died anyway, and the Covid had not developed far enough to be fatal. In the other, the person certainly died of Covid, caught from a patient in the next bed who had, aledgedly, been placed there when already suffering from the disease.

  21. Dave Andrews
    January 17, 2021

    Not only is there not the staff for isolation hospitals, but they aren’t appropriate for the large number of elderly, who have Covid on top of everything else wrong with them. They still need the breadth of services found in a general hospital.
    Very likely they went in with some complaint and contracted the virus as a hospital infection. This isn’t something government wants to talk about, certainly not the NHS and the media doesn’t seem too keen either.
    I see they are talking more about contaminated surfaces again, now that everyone wears a mask and it hasn’t stopped the disease.

  22. Narrow Shoulders
    January 17, 2021

    I still don’t think this is about death rates. This is about hospitalisations and treatment.

    We do not have the hospital capacity to cope with treating people who do not die quickly and so we are confined to our houses to protect the establishment from the criticism.

    So while looking at different ways of treatment we also need to look at different ways to fund “our” NHS or more importantly “our” health provision. The NHS spends too much on admin and not enough on treatments. To change it must become more agile and that will not happen while it is a public and political tool.

    There is no reason why taxpayer funds can’t be used for health provision along with insurance and reasonable individual payments, but the delivery needs to become private (maybe franchises).

    1. Mark B
      January 18, 2021


    2. Vince
      January 19, 2021

      Hospitals are intentionally bed blocking, Redwood forgets we have relatives as hospital doctors and managrs, his tricks are see through.

  23. Richard1
    January 17, 2021

    The excellent financial journalist Matthew Lynn reminds us that only a year ago, sir Keir Starmer came out with a policy to part-nationalise the pharmaceutical industry and confiscate patents. With hilarious timing Labour claimed big Pharma companies don’t innovate and discover new drugs they just concentrate on tweaking old ones to make more money. The policy is called (groan) ‘Medicines for the Many: public health before private profit’.

    This is the supposed new ‘moderate’ post-Corbyn Labour Party.

    Imagine if we had actually had a Labour govt implementing this dumb nonsense. Imagine indeed if we didn’t have a robust Conservative govt which insisted – to a chorus of remain establishment and leftwing derision – in maintaining national control of the vaccination programme and not going in with the EU’s failing arrangement.

    It’s right to criticise the government when they get things wrong. But let’s remember what a catastrophe the alternative would be.

    1. Mark B
      January 18, 2021

      Errr, no !

  24. Martin in Cardiff
    January 17, 2021

    John is trying to capitalise on a generally poor public grasp of epistemology, I think.

    Not 100% reliable does NOT mean worthless at all when it comes to figures. Reliability is a relative term.

    The excess death rate undeniably tells us that something very bad is happening right now, as do the staff at hospitals, mortuaries and crematoriums, whatever uncertainties in the exact figures are raised.

    1. Fred H
      January 17, 2021

      I think you should have written: –
      SAGE is trying to capitalise on a generally poor public grasp of epistemology, I think.

  25. Everhopeful
    January 17, 2021

    According to ONS there were more deaths in 1990 than in 2020
    1990…. 564,846 2020….. 561,529 ( Did I miss the imprisonment in 1990?).
    Or is ONS somehow not the official figures any more?

    If there is an outbreak of something all you need is proper hospitals…ENOUGH of them. With adequate disinfection policies.
    Each with an isolation ward.
    Keep the economy going and do not try to make well people ill by ludicrous testing. Do not allow media to manipulate figures
    And act like a sovereign country.
    Stop following orders.

    1. glen cullen
      January 17, 2021

      Fully agree

  26. Hope
    January 17, 2021

    Death rates at home consistently above five year average since last March. No mention of these deaths because illnesses not treated and people too scared to go for treatment. Figures of death at homes Not even compared to genuine virus deaths.

    Graham Brady MP has asked consistently for cost benefit analysis whether lock downs are worth it. Govt legislation makes it clear none provided. David Warburton MP highlights the point.

  27. Nutrient Dense
    January 17, 2021

    Empower yourself by taking control of your own health.
    ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’ by Weston A Price DDS.
    A randomised controlled study – the gold standard.

  28. jerry
    January 17, 2021

    “Today there is concern that other causes of death including cancer and heart problems may be boosted by people not seeking the treatment they need with these conditions”

    Really, but doctors surgeries are still open/home-visiting, prescriptions are still being processed, thus first-line drug treatments and advice is still available, what has changed is obtaining hospital consultations and/or treatments for such illnesses, because our hospitals are all but bursting with Covid-19 cases.

    “ways the rest of us can fend off the virus, using everything from diet to exercise ..//.. Are there treatments like Regeneron and chloroquine that can offer some protection? ..//..”

    If diet and lifestyle was a prevention no professional sports person would ever test positive, never mind suffer from this virus)

    Of course diet & drug treatments [1] that can help, but the best treatment is still prevention byway of social distancing, even isolation -lockdown- until enough of the UK population have been vaccinated to create at least some level of (artificial) herd immunity, but even then our social & business norms might never return to a pre 2020 ‘normal’ for some time, for example we might have to live with very much less, perhaps little or no, international travel for example, certainly air travel, a few years yet.

    As for isolation hospitals, indeed, just a pity so many were closed and sold off, once their use as country mental health hospitals had ended, along with the few remaining old TB isolationist hospitals that had been retained. Allowing economists and accountants to run both the DHSC and NHS for the last 40+ years has been a disaster…

    [1] although chloroquine has been proven to be useless against Covid 19, and in fact places the recipient at risk of hospitalisation due to heart failure!

    1. Fred H
      January 17, 2021

      ‘but doctors surgeries are still open/home-visiting, ‘
      Not in Wokingham they are not, didn’t do home visiting for years and years.

      1. jerry
        January 17, 2021

        @Fred H; You make my point, regarding economists and accountants being allowed to run our health service, far better than I did, if such service from your GP really has not been available “for years and years”…

        1. Fred H
          January 17, 2021

          JERRY — The senior partners (GPs) run the surgery and rules of service at a Centre. Economists/accountants have nothing to do with the refusal to provide home visits, attend face to face appointments, etc It is their decision to run it the way they wish, however unhappy the patients are!
          Other GP surgeries in the area are cracking on with getting vaccinations arranged, ours? Not a dickie bird, no website info, just ‘do not call’. Third world service.

          1. jerry
            January 18, 2021

            @Fred H; You appear not have a first clue as to how the NHS is run!

            GPs work for the NHS (under contact), the NHS is under the control of the DHSC in Whitehall, and Whitehall by successive govts who have allowed economists and accountants far to much power, making decisions (by way of arms length Trusts and Agencies etc) that should only be made directly by a Minister or collectively by the House, and thus be accountable to the electorate.

            GPs could quite easily be made to offer not only Home visits but a full out of hours service, although to do so would likely require more money from the DHSC/HMT than the current GP contracts allow.

      2. glen cullen
        January 17, 2021

        Agree – To get a doctors appointment where I live you have to pass the equivalent of a astronauts entrance examine, wait two weeks and wear an astronauts suits to be omitted….effectively zero appointments

  29. Julian Flood
    January 17, 2021

    “More guidance and support for people to convert air flow and heating systems and introduce air cleansing systems within their air systems, to reduce exposure to disease laden air in enclosed rooms and spaces”

    The value of this approach can be quantified from the Diamond Princess ‘experiment’. Even in those extreme conditions 1.3% of the population died and this was before we had developed appropriate treatments.


    1. Alan Jutson
      January 17, 2021


      Indeed, the lesson should have been learn’t many years before given the spread of Norovirus and coughs and colds on board ships prior to the pandemic.

      We are now lead to believe that cruise ships and the like have now made some sensible modifications to sanitation and cleaning regimes, and installing hospital type filters in the Air Con systems etc etc. Can hope they replace the filters regularly, and that hand sanitisation is made absolutely mandatory for all when on board.
      Likewise on aircraft.

  30. agricola
    January 17, 2021

    This is a speculative stocking filler at best. What about an insight into the ease/dificulties we are experiencing with EU trade. Are the self inflicted problems with NI trade resolvable. What is the truth behind the Chinese origins of Covid19. How do you see future trade relations with China. How do you see future relations with the USA in terms of security and trade. What is the grand plan for the control and expansion of our fishing industry post Brexit. What do you advocate as a tax base plan for the regeneration of profitable UK business. All of the above, less speculation on the Death Rate, are highly pertinent to the future of the UK and for that matter the conservative party over the next four years.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      January 17, 2021

      Perhaps we should fund a “Redwood Foundation” at £1 per published comment to study and propose solutions to these many issues. Who knows, Hancock might listen to another straight kinda guy with a Foundation after his name?
      And even LL and MiC would soon be struggling for cash.
      Just a thought.

      1. Fred H
        January 17, 2021

        plenty of organisations would fund them!

  31. DOM
    January 17, 2021

    You can’t tell it as it is and for that we all suffer so you tip toe around these topics for fear of offending others or upsetting various interest groups of public sector, taxpayer dependent political organisations like the NHS or State education this now being run for the benefit of teachers not pupils

    Mr Redwood wouldn’t dare compose an article chastising the vile NEU as they use their influence with other anti-Tory State bodies to prevent a resumption of back to school for all children

    This tip-toeing for fear of causing upset is destroying transparency and accountability and betrays the interests of those in the real world outside of scum politics

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      January 17, 2021

      Indeed, it would be good to see a Redwood Declaration of how good, bad or indifferent he thinks these institutions are.

      I can unequivocally say that despite the best efforts and amazing skills of much its workforce on the ground, the organisation of the NHS is lousy. The evidence is all there – the boss is polished but without a scientific or medical bone in his body. Their interactions with customers are dreadful – snail mail in duplicate or triplicate. They don’t meet customer demand. It takes credit for work actually done by fantastic academics in our Universities. More lives have been lost in this middling pandemic than should ever have been. It needs the army to give it organisational backbone. And so on.

      Same with the NEU – we can all see the attitude on TV.

      It needs somebody to call these things out on our behalf and for reasons I guess of misplaced loyalty our host won’t do that..

      1. Mark B
        January 18, 2021

        You do not get this in the Private Sector as you will end up like certain high street jewellers. Bust !

        State funded bodies cannot go bust. Politics will not allow it.

  32. a-tracy
    January 17, 2021

    Could people that have been tested covid+ and are still feeling very unwell after five days be started on a course of some treatment? Especially those over the age of 40 and those younger that are obese or have conditions that have been identified as being a contributing factor to hospitalisation with covid.

    What is the obesity level for younger people under 50 hospitalised with covid, are we talking about people more than one stone overweight, three stones overweight, tell us? A handy chart provided by the NHS and publicised may help people not to put off asking for care earlier.

    A covid+ test doesn’t show up obesity or diagnosed diabetes and if these people are just at home with a text message telling them they’re positive and must isolate and told to take a paracetamol things will develop unnecessarily. They’re not trying to give people the care early and save a later surge into hospital, why? When you book a test you should be asked what weight and height are you, do you have diabetes type 1, or type 2, or other known factors. Treat earlier!

    Also, How many people go to hospital having never had a test? Why didn’t they get a test? Why did they let it develop? Is anyone asking did they have problems booking a test? How long had they been sick?

  33. Alan Jutson
    January 17, 2021

    Perhaps one of the most logical things to do at the moment is to inform every single person who is being vaccinated, that they can still be a carrier and transmit the virus to others and the vaccine simply stops them and them only, from the most severe effects of the Virus should they catch it.

    The last thing we want is a lot of elderly and vulnerable people thinking they are completely immune, can act like superman or superwoman, and mix and socialise like normal.

    1. Ignoramus
      January 17, 2021

      Very good point and unknown to many. Also unknown is how long the effects of the vaccine last and what side effects there might be. For those reasons the American Front Line Doctors was set up to warn people that the vaccines are all experimental as there has not been enough time to properly evaluate them. Sars Cov 1 had a vaccine developed but it failed to pass testing and was never used.

      Compulsory vaccination of the young (unnecessary) and compulsory vaccination for business interests (eg Quantas) should not be allowed.

      1. BeebTax
        January 18, 2021

        Businesses should not be allowed to demand vaccination of customers or employees unless they accept liability if the vaccine causes health problems. They’d soon change their tune if there was some risk to them, rather than all on the customer/employee.

  34. Stred
    January 17, 2021

    Where are we with Ivermectin? Nowhere. They will not even mention it and its use is banned except for pets and some special diseases. It could destroy the vaccine and testing moonshot. The last thing that the government and NHS bosses want is for the public to find out that the lockdown, the destruction of businesses and the deaths of patients from other diseases was largely unnecessary. Much better to fill the hospitals and test the dying positive while using expensive treatment.

  35. NigelE
    January 17, 2021

    As the pandemic and the government’s response has rolled on, I have to admit I’ve become a lot less certain as to what the best answer is to this crisis.

    But I know it’s not more NHS.

  36. Newmania
    January 17, 2021

    A group within the Conservative Party have consistently suggested that non-Covid mortality has worsened as in, ” there is concern that other causes of death ..may be boosted ” etc. Fortunately we have 2 identical twin countries ( Norway and Sweden) whose approaches to Covid were contrasting so we can shed some factual light on this “suggestion” .
    A Comparative study is currently available in Medical News which concludes :
    “Our study shows that although Covid-19 associated mortality rate was almost 15-fold higher in Sweden than in Norway during the epidemic, all-cause mortality was not higher in Sweden compared with three of the four preceding years “.
    It seems likely that the lock down Nationally and Globally has also prevented Flu related deaths and many other infection , there is considerable evidence for this .
    We an only say with certainly that the suggestion that pro Covid polices would reduce other deaths is not supported by any facts , quite the reverse .

    Nearly 100,000 dead people, thats more than 8 months of German bombing managed. Overall death rate ( which may increase due to a period of increased life expectancy for example ) past decades is irrelevant.

    1. Fred H
      January 17, 2021

      In 1939 the population was 20 million fewer than now.

    2. Richard1
      January 17, 2021

      Explain the high death rates in Belgium and peru both of which had hard lock-downs exactly as you wanted. Also why Japan has had a low death rate with little lock-down

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        January 17, 2021

        Japan is a very clean country where people’s level of hygiene is high.

    3. Sir Joe Soap
      January 17, 2021

      So should we lock down every winter to avoid flu deaths?

      1. glen cullen
        January 17, 2021


      2. hefner
        January 18, 2021

        ‘So should we lock down every winter to avoid flu deaths?’
        Obviously not.

        Should we be encouraged every winter to wear a mask in indoor public places to avoid catching flu?
        A question worth debating. Such a debate has started in France.

  37. steve
    January 17, 2021

    Good article Mr Redwood, pertinent questions as per usual.

    Personally I’m not concerned with death rates, covid, or anything else for that matter. Everything this government has touched is either botched, half done, or downright stupid.

    I live as self sufficient lifestyle as possible and don’t care for the pig’s ear this government and it’s showman in No 10 are making of everything.

    Your party received my vote last time, on condition that it protected my lifestyle, my rights, my sovereignty and that of my country.

    I shall vote Labour at the next election for two reasons; 1) it can’t be any worse, 2) I will have the pleasure of sticking it to your party and Bpris Johnson.

    Delete or hold in moderation I don’t really care…..I’m done, and will have the last word at the ballot box.

    1. Cheshire Girl
      January 17, 2021

      Labour ‘cant be any worse’. I think you’ll find out they can – if they ever get into power.

      1. Mark B
        January 18, 2021

        Like Steve I am past caring how bad Labour might be. We should be voting in parties who have every intention of fulfilling their pledges and not copy and pasting Labour’s.

      2. Fred H
        January 19, 2021

        after the last 3 Governments perhaps the electorate will think ‘ Give the others a chance, how bad could it be?’

  38. Roy Grainger
    January 17, 2021

    What makes you think the government are interested in lifting lockdown ? SAGE certainly aren’t and it’s them who decide. I see Raab today positioning their strategy to try to fool Tory MPs as they’ll lift lockdown …. but keep Tiers. So, Tier 4 for everyone by April and be grateful for that.

  39. Keith from Leeds
    January 17, 2021

    Hello Sir John,
    As with all the media, you say the 2020 death rate was considerably higher than in recent years. But why not tell us the average death rate for the last five years so we can compare the figure. Also how many deaths from Covid -19 happened in care homes & hospitals from cross infection. How many more deaths were there from other major health problems, like cancer, heart issues, dementia caused by the lock down stopping or deferring treatment? The information is always presented in the most negative way as you have just done. You can’t help wondering how many deaths are just put down as Covid – 19 when people die with it, not of it. Lets have some honest analysis of deaths so we can understand just how bad the virus death rate is. For example, we are told every day the number of hospital admissions because of Covid, but never told the number of people discharged on the same day having recovered.
    I do not doubt that Covid – 19 is a serious problem but proper analysis & discussion is needed to convince us that lock downs, a very blunt & damaging instrument, are the right answer.

  40. Caterpillar
    January 17, 2021

    Again, I think it is worth repeating that the ONS / Govt should be reporting mid-year to mid-year mortalilty (both crude and age adjusted) alongside the calendar year mortality, since the direct effect of the viral season and the indirect effects on cancellation of other treatment/care can be asymmetric around the calendar year end.

    My own calculations* for crude mortality mid-year to mid-year for England and Wales show

    From year 1/7/71-30/6/72 to year 1/7/03-30/6/04 crude mortality falls from 1.2% to 1% (with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ year fluctuations).

    From year 1/7/03-30/6/04 to year 1/7/11-30/6/12 a further fall to 0.88% smoothed, thereafter smoothed crude mortality again increases (by about 0.005% to 0.008% per year).

    The years 1/7/13-30/6/14 and 1/7/18-30/6/19 are particularly below smooth (or expected) at about 0.85%.

    The observation for 1/7/18-30/6/19 is important; the year 1/7/19-30/6/20 (including so called first wave of covid19) is very close to expected forecast plus ‘delayed’ deaths from the previous year (mid-year to mid-year). There are several questions (forecasting, planning, policy) that follow from this, but they are not worth discussing until ONS/Govt issues mid-year based crude and age adjusted mortalities to examine alongside the calendar year data*. (I would guess that such data is used for rough cut resource planning and we are just not seeing it, or I haven’t found it).

    * Unskilled as I am, I could have miscalculated, but I think qualitatively O.K. I used different ONS sources e.g. day and weekly death registrations (without knowing if they have been corrected as occurs with ONS stats), and used the estimated population at the beginning of each period.

  41. Caterpillar
    January 17, 2021

    There is a petition

    which states that after vulnerable vaccinated then all restrictions should be lifted.

    It is not very specific on vulnerable or 1 or 2 shots (cynically one might suggest that the Govt has engineered an excuse by delaying second shot by 3 months), but some readers might be interested.

  42. Peter from Leeds
    January 17, 2021

    Sir John,

    Totally agree. The main problem seems to be that roughly 10% of positive cases seem to end up requiring hospital admission. This obviously puts a massive strain on hospital capacity, and leads to other treatments stopped or delayed.

    It would be interesting to see results of any randomised treatments aimed at giving people when they have tested positive to see if they can reduce hospital admission rates.

    Over the last few years we have done some things wrong. Firstly sealing up houses on the basis of energy conservation and secondly following the false logic of “we are all living longer”. To mis-quote a famous politician “you can’t buck nature”.

    I think it is unreasonable to expect a definite plan with dates – rather a plan based on progress (eg no of cases, hospital capacity, vaccination rates etc…)

  43. Mike Wilson
    January 17, 2021

    Mr. Redwood – do you think it is true that the reason the Nightingale hospitals have been (almost completely) unused is because there are no staff to run them?

    If that is true – it seems a shocking waste of money building them. That said, the government was reacting in an emergency so one must allow some leeway.

    But, now, is it true that former NHS staff willing to return to duty are being asked if they have undergone the apparently necessary racial bias training?

    If someone is a racist is the idea of the training to make them realise it so they are not biased towards people of another race? If so, it seems a somewhat pointless exercise. The people in my life that I have met who are racist are half-witted, nasty pieces of work and no amount of ‘training’ is going to change that.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 17, 2021

      Exactly right on both points.

  44. glen cullen
    January 17, 2021

    It’s a transparently issue when reporting deaths’; there’s a feeling the government and media are massaging the figure to report the highest possible number

    Why aren’t deaths clearly reported ‘death with’ or ‘death due too’

    Why are deaths reported ‘death with’ within 28 days, why 28 days ?

    Why aren’t the deaths reported categorised by age 0-18, 18-65, 65+

    Its not clear

    1. Lynn
      January 18, 2021

      Why is the U.K. the only country not reporting ‘recovered’ figures? Those people are now immune. So knowing how much immunity we have is surely critical?

  45. Christine
    January 17, 2021

    We also know that life expectancy has plateaued. The Baby Boomers are getting to the end of their lives. Immigration has pushed the population to its highest ever level. The death figures for suicides, untreated cancer, heart, diabetes and other life-threatening condition are unknown. So put all these facts into the mix and it’s no wonder we have a high death rate.

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      January 17, 2021

      What you claim are unknowns are in fact often known from cause of death stats which are diligently recorded.

      There is no basis to claims that covid has not directly caused scores of thousands of UK deaths, therefore.

      Just because YOU do not know something does not mean that others with a more serious interest do not either.

      1. Fred H
        January 17, 2021

        not so different to ‘died with a cold’.

  46. Christine
    January 17, 2021

    Evidence of the benefits of Ivermectin given early with zinc is overwhelming in both stopping the transmission and improving the outcome of those with Covid. See Dr Pierre Kory’s, a World-leading expert on Covid, latest presentation on YouTube. This evidence will be published next week in a leading medical journal.

  47. Lynn
    January 17, 2021

    I am puzzled that South Africa, with the same size population as the U.K. but none of the resources (limited health care, lots of crowded accommodation) has a death rate of 35,000 as opposed to the U.K. death rate of over 80,000. Both have imposed lockdowns.
    So it’s the healthcare that is different and unhelpful in ten U.K., why is that?

    1. Lifelogic
      January 17, 2021

      Younger population and far less testing perhaps.

    2. Nigel
      January 17, 2021

      Younger population. Less very old people in Africa.

    3. glen cullen
      January 17, 2021

      Maybe its because South Africa health care workers are busy actually doing there job rather than the UK health care workers dancing on tiktok, crying in front of the news media, enjoying time off on full pay, or counting extra the money made from overtime, private work and TV expert appearances

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        January 17, 2021

        Your comment is disgraceful.

        1. hefner
          January 18, 2021

          The problem might be that people like glen can only remember the TikTok, … without realising that the frontline doctors and nurses are very unlikely to do ‘private work and TV expert appearances’.

          There are obviously a few people doing such things, but what is the proportion of those among the other dedicated health professionals, o.1%, 0.01%, 0.001%?
          But this minuscule proportion are those fronting the sites that people like glen are gorging themselves on every day.

          Very depressing.

        2. Lynn
          January 18, 2021

          But true?

      2. Lynn
        January 18, 2021

        Do you think maybe the lack of ventilators – no longer used in the U.K. might have been a help too?

  48. London Nick
    January 17, 2021

    “So let us look at other ways we can learn to live with this virus.”

    NO!!! Let’s not be like generals of old, always re-fighting the last war: let’s look at ways to live with FUTURE respiratory viruses – or else next time we will be back at square one.

    The solution is a four-pronged:

    1. Commission a UK vitamin manufacturer to produce a government-approved immunity tablet, comprising very high doses of Vitamin D, zinc, vitamin C and quercetin, and offer this to all UK residents.

    2. ALL those admitted to hospital are to immediately receive an injection of monoclonal antibodies and given the UK-invented interferon inhaler. They can then be discharged and told to isolate (unless, obviously, their symptoms worsen).

    3. ALL public buildings and transport (buses, trains, shops, offices, pubs, cinemas, etc) are to be obliged to fit UK-made UV air sterilisers.

    4. Develop the UK-invented vaccine tablets (which I mentioned in a previous post) and make these available for everyone in pharmacies.

    That’s it. The whole country protected and no lockdown or other economic devastation. Is the government really too stupid to be able to grasp such a straightforward solution?

  49. APL
    January 22, 2021

    London Nick: “Is the government really too stupid to be able to grasp such a straightforward solution?”


    This is my nod toward shorter posts.

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