The deaths of thousands of people cannot be regarded as good news, so I apologise for the title to the article, which seemed apposite purely in the context of the general point I am seeking to make in this little series of three articles – namely, the mainstream media are not interested in anything which distracts from an alarmist narrative.

Over the last few days the usual suspects (basically the Daily Sceptic website, the Spectator and GB News) have picked up on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests made to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the responses made by the ONS to these requests, with regard to covid deaths in the UK. So far as I am aware, the mainstream media have not gone anywhere near this story.

Deaths from COVID-19 with no other underlying causes

This is the title to the page on the ONS websitei from as long ago as 16th December 2021, in response to a FOIA request, which asked quite simply:

Please can you advise on deaths purely from covid with no other underlying causes.

The response by the ONS referred the questioner to an exisiting ONS database (Pre-existing conditions of people who died due to COVID-19, England and Walesii) but nevertheless went on to provide a breakdown of the information requested, as follows:

Please see below for death registrations for 2020 and 2021 (provisional) that were due to COVID-19 and were recorded without any pre-existing conditions, England and Wales.

2020:9400 (0-64: 1549 / 65 and over: 7851)

2021 Q1: 6483 (0-64: 1560/ 65 and over: 4923)

2021 Q2: 346 (0-64: 153/ 65 and over: 193)

2021 Q3: 1142 (0-64: 512/ 65 and over: 630)

In other words, just 17,371 people died of Covid in England and Wales up to the end of September 2021 where COVID-19 was the only cause of death recorded on the death certificate. This contrasts dramatically with other official figures for covid deaths over the same timescale – 148,536 where covid was mentioned as a cause of death somewhere on the death certificate; 126,384 deaths within 28 days of a positive covid test; and 117,247 excess deaths, as recorded by the ONS.

COVID-19 deaths and autopsies Feb 2020 to Dec 2021

This is the title to the ONS pageiii dealing with its response to another FOIA request, with the information made public a week ago, on 17th January 2022. This request was slightly more involved:

Please supply deaths caused solely by covid 19, where covid is the only cause of death listed on the death certificate, broken down by age group and gender between feb 2020 up to and including dec 2021.

Please supply the number of autopsies carried out on those where covid was the only cause stated.

As regards the second part of the request, the ONS replied: “We do not hold analysis on the number of post-mortems completed.”

As for the first part of the request, they replied with a table detailing the “Number of deaths where COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned on the death certificate, 1 February 2020 to 31 December 2021, by sex and age group, England and Wales”.

Although I note that this information also relates to England and Wales only, omitting Scotland and Northern Ireland, nevertheless the figure staggered me: 6,183.

Not surprisingly, the deaths listed in these figures were heavily skewed towards the elderly, with 520 men and 971 women in the age group 90+ comprising 24.1% of the total. 470 men and 533 women were in the age group 85-89, and they comprised another 16.2% of the total. 492 men and 402 women were in the age group 80-84, comprising another 14.5% or thereabouts, so that those aged 80 and over represented 54.8% of all covid deaths in England and Wales to the end of 2021 where Covid-19 was the only cause mentioned on the death certificate.

8 deaths fell into this category for the age group 0-24, and 103 for the age group 25-39.

Conclusion

First of all, every one of those deaths is an individual tragedy, and I do not make light of the numbers.

Secondly, it would be all too easy to make an inferential leap that would almost certainly be unjustified, to the effect that something like 90% of “covid deaths” were not “covid deaths” at all. In each case where the deceased had comorbidities and/or other causes were mentioned on the death certificate, it may well be the case that covid-19 was a real contributory factor in their demise, inasmuch as the underlying health condition might not have led to death without the additional impact of covid-19 on their bodily systems. There is much that the blunt statistics simply do not tell us.

Thirdly, however, this information does suggest that the official statistics suggesting that covid-19 has killed anywhere between 150,000 and 175,000 people in the UK to date may well be considerably over-stated. At the very least, these information releases suggest the need for detailed investigation, and it is to be hoped that any official inquiry into Covid-19 in the UK will delve into these matters.

Finally, why have the mainstream media shown absolutely no interest in the revelation of this extraordinary information?

Endnotes

i https://www.ons.gov.uk/aboutus/transparencyandgovernance/freedomofinformationfoi/deathsfromcovid19withnootherunderlyingcauses

ii https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/preexistingconditionsofpeoplewhodiedduetocovid19englandandwales

iii https://www.ons.gov.uk/aboutus/transparencyandgovernance/freedomofinformationfoi/covid19deathsandautopsiesfeb2020todec2021

38 Comments

  1. Thanks for laying out more facts, Mark. This one has always seemed the only one that will matter in the end:

    … and 117,247 excess deaths, as recorded by the ONS.

    And that makes the news of the last two years less than brilliant. Which isn’t to say the mass media has been balanced, not least about the good news concerning Omicron.

    As people may have picked up, the biggest needless cause of excess deaths being so large, for me, has been ruthless suppression of, and propaganda against, cheap, repurposed drugs – and the persecution of good doctors trying to use them in early treatment protocols to save lives. See the startling case of Uttar Pradesh.

    What explains the determination not to face up to good news as well as this suppression of treatments that could have saved thousands of lives?

    This seemed a reasonable summary, not crazy conspiracism, to me yesterday. YMMV of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Richard,

    I’m inclined to agree that excess deaths numbers are probably the best guide to the effects of covid on UK mortality over the past 2 years. However, even those figures can obscure essential detail. For example, I believe (I haven’t had time this morning to dig out the figures) that with our increasingly old population in the UK, age-adjusted figures are lower than the bald figures. Then again, excess deaths won’t just cover covid deaths – they will also (increasingly through 2021 especially, as time went on) include deaths from other sources that are the result of the government and NHS policy response to covid – people who have died from other causes because their conditions were not diagnosed and/or not treated, due to the NHS becoming for a prolonged period the National Covid Service, and because of lockdowns inclining people not to bother going to see their GP (assuming they COULD see a GP).

    I do hope the Inquiry into all this takes a long hard look at, and tries to make sense of, the statistics.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bottom line, Covid was behind a lot of deaths since it got out of the Wuhan BSL4 virus lab.
    With many, it’d be the final push to get them into the grave, same way that an influenza pandemic would.
    However, it’s a timely warning that our healthcare systems need looking at, virtually the entire NHS was converted into the National Covid Service, amongst the reasons being the lack of dedicated capacity to handle patients with an infectious disease, within the existing hospital environment. How many people went into a hospital for a different reason & left in a coffin after contracting Covid?
    The expensive fiasco of Test & Trace, a fiasco as technology was tried to be used, where previously local environmental health would have done the job, another service that’s been dismantled as deemed to be unneeded now.
    One suspects there’s a lot behind this, we don’t know & probably never will.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is a well-known fact that everyone will die of something, even if this is just old age. It is also likely that if you have a comorbidity you are most likely to die of it. What is also true is that Covid 19 is capable of causing death on its own but that many who catch it do not die of it.

    I see no reason to exclude people who die from a combination of a comorbidity and Covid from inclusion in the statistics of those killed by Covid because in many cases (most) death by the comorbidity was hastened by the effects of the virus and the victims immune response to it. There must be a complete spectrum between those who die from Covid and those who succumb from their comorbidity induced by Covid. Creating valid and meaningful statistics in these circumstances is a real minefield and any methodology adopted will be subject to criticism by someone.

    I am suspicious of using the excess deaths figures because these are subject to so many variables. For instance the incidence of seasonal flu and deaths related to it has been extremely low in the Covid years – presumably because measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid also curtail the spread of seasonal flu. With fewer reasons to leave our houses there must have been fewer car journeys and thus a different amount of traffic deaths. Reactions to Covid 19 will have caused numerous changes in behaviour – some of which will affect the excess deaths data.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark: Just seen my GP! The first time for over two years. A lady I’d not met before and very impressive.

    I did say the “biggest needless cause of excess deaths”. I’m not sure lockdowns 1 or 2 were needless – I go with Dominic Cummings on that. Hands, Face were irrelevant, as it turned out, but Space – ideally not being in the same space at all – wasn’t, to reduce the spread. Given what we didn’t know. I got put off lockdown sceptics in the UK (eg saying it was similar to flu, saying there would be no second wave) and, as a twist, it was Jaime Jessop last June who pointed me to Bret Weinstein with Robert Malone – without I think having watched the video in question. And that made me a different kind of sceptic in the Covid space. There are many different kinds. The climate alarmist RFK Jr being one of them. And I don’t entirely trust Robert Kennedy’s son, based on what he said in Washington at the weekend.

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  6. “[W]hy have the mainstream media shown absolutely no interest in the revelation of this extraordinary information?”

    Because less alarming statistics are slippery statistics in the eyes of a doom-obsessed media?

    As Mark has said, analysis of this sort of thing can be quite tricky, and when harvesting is involved it becomes even more important that one adjusts for age before drawing conclusions.

    Take for example, the infamous European heatwave of 2003. At the time, a lot was made of the excess deaths recorded that year. Less attention was paid, however, to the much lower than average mortality the following year, due in part to the harvesting effect (the heat stress had thwarted the Grim Reaper’s plans for taking people the following year). And the interesting thing is that, courtesy of health care improvements introduced in the wake of the heatwave, the two year average was actually significantly lower than normal. In the UK one might expect similar harvesting effects relating to Covid but the longer-term detrimental effects on health care due to Covid-focused NHS investment may mask this.

    Another thing to be kept in mind is the effect that Omicron is having on the statistics. Being more infectious but less virulent has meant that there are many more people in hospital with coincidental Covid. This will bump up the died-with-Covid figures whilst saying nothing about causality.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. First of all, thank you for the comments – thoughtful all. I don’t pretend for one moment that this is an easy area, and I do sympathise with Alan K’s view. Also, it’s all too easy to look back with the benefit of hindsight and criticise difficult decisions made in the midst of a worldwide panic. I’m not sure such criticism is useful, but I think it’s vital that, in the cold light of day, lessons are learned.

    John R – “Another thing to be kept in mind is the effect that Omicron is having on the statistics. Being more infectious but less virulent has meant that there are many more people in hospital with coincidental Covid. This will bump up the died-with-Covid figures whilst saying nothing about causality.”

    Thank you for that. I read the statistics daily, as I’m sure many people do, while we search desperately for information that will indicate an imminent end to this ongoing nightmare. I was at first very alarmed at the stubborn failure of numbers of “deaths within 28 days of a positive covid test” to tail off, even while hospitalisations, ICU cases and infections have at first plateaued than begun to fall. My provisional take on that is that as omicron becomes so widespread (but less dangerous than previous variants) inevitably this will going forward (and probably already has) skew the death figures – I am guessing that increasing numbers of those dying within 28 days of a positive covid test, especially if they had the omicron variant, may well have died of something else completely such that covid was purely incidental and not even a contributing factor. I would like the powers-that-be to take another look at the usefulness (or otherwise) of this metric.

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  8. Richard, I didn’t entirely follow your reference to RFK jr, until I caught up with the news, which I have now done:

    “Robert F Kennedy Jr apologizes for Anne Frank comparison in anti-vax speech”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/25/robert-f-kennedy-jr-vaccine-anne-frank

    “The anti-vaccine activist Robert F Kennedy Jr apologized on Tuesday for suggesting things are worse for people living under Covid restrictions and mandates than they were for Anne Frank, the teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp after hiding with her family in a secret annex in an Amsterdam house for two years.”

    Oh dear. Extreme language like that never helps a case.

    I am not an anti-vaxxer, but I am increasingly bemused by the determination in countries with massively high antibody rates (e.g. I read it is now 97% in the UK thanks to a combination of vaccinations and natural antibodies from prior infection) to insist on either vaccine mandates or vaccine passports, especially given that lots of evidence is now coming out to suggest that vaccination does not prevent transmission.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Richard,

    In fairness, I managed to see a GP recently too – appointment made within 45 minutes of my ‘phone call! Very impressive, both with regard to speed of access, and service too. But that came as a pleasant shock, and is far from the experience I’m used to, and I suspect is far from the experience most people are used to. Having said that, I’m hearing more and more stories of people suddenly managing to see a GP – maybe the complaints about all this are starting to make a positive difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mark: Thanks for digging into the RFK Jr story. I hadn’t spotted that he’d apologised. But it does a load of needless reputational damage to the central plank of the Washington March at which he spoke:

    COVID Declaration Now Backed by More Than 17,000 Doctors and Medical Scientists Around the World

    The over 17,000 signers to the declaration have reached consensus on three foundational principles:

    1. Healthy children should not be subject to forced vaccination: they face negligible risk from covid, but face potential permanent, irreversible risk to their health if vaccinated, including heart, brain, reproductive and immune system damage.

    2. Natural Immunity Denial has prolonged the pandemic and needlessly restricted the lives of Covid-recovered people. Masks, lockdowns, and other restrictions have caused great harm especially to children and delayed the virus’ transition to endemic status.

    3. Health agencies and institutions must cease interfering with the physician-patient relationship. Policymakers are directly responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, as a result of institutional interference and blocking treatments proven to cure at a near 100% rate when administered early.

    Poison the well. I always mistrust people who do that. And sow fear.

    More from Robert Malone on 21st Jan. I agree with the declaration.

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  11. Yes, I agree with the declaration too.

    It’s unfortunate when rational argument is undermined by over-stating the case and making inappropriate comparisons.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I remember the UK MSM comparing our death rate with other countries & finding us the worst,
    always wondered, do they all count the covid deaths the same way we do ?

    am sure I found a link back then that showed they don’t, can’t find it now !!!

    found this tho – New Zealand Prime Minister Cancels Wedding Plans with ‘First Man of Fishing’ amid Omicron: ‘Such Is Life’

    seem to remember the MSM lauding Jacinda Ardern for her lock down rules for New Zealand.

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  13. dfhunter, yes different countries count covid deaths in different ways, so international comparisons are of limited use, since very rarely are they comparing apples with apples. I remember being surprised early on at what seemed to me to be a way of limiting covid death numbers in the way Spain counted covid victims. A useful summary of different criteria adopted across different countries can be found here:

    Click to access Eurohealth-26-2-45-50-eng.pdf

    Don’t forget that until it was highlighted as being absurd, the UK was counting as a covid death anyone who died (of anything) within 3 months of a positive covid test, for quite a while.

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  14. I have no idea if this is correct, but if it is, then the Chinese methodology for counting covid deaths should also cast doubt on anything they say about GHG emissions:

    “Damned lies and statistics: China records four Covid deaths in two years”

    https://www.bournbrookmag.com/news/damned-lies-and-statistics-china-records-four-covid-deaths-in-two-years

    “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. In the modern era, even in an epoch where The Science™ reigns supreme, this statement has, rather unironically, never been more factually correct. While the UK frets about Christmas parties and birthday cakes (oblivious to the fact that the double standards conclusively prove that our political overlords were lying about the severity and lethality of the Wuhan Flu), and the wider world still sticks its head in a sand-dune of hysteria and emergency, no attention has been afforded to the land where this whole farce began.

    The People’s Republic of China has recorded only four Covid deaths since April 2020, taking its ‘official’ total to 4,636 deaths. Even that finalised figure is suspiciously low, given how countries with hundreds of millions of fewer people have documented far higher death tolls (even if they have inflated the figures through overestimating hospital admissions or confusing lead poisoning with Covid). They don’t even attempt to publish a more believable figure or elaborate upon why their death graph has flatlined faster than a patient who’s died during surgery.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ongoing zero-Covid policy is so ruthless that, once an outbreak is detected, residents are locked inside their own homes and barred from venturing outside in search of food, which has pushed many Chinese citizens to the brink of starvation. I’m sure malnutrition is risking more than four lives.

    Of course the 4,636 number is a lie, and only the upper echelons of the Chinese Communist Party will ever know the truth unless any of them turn rogue. So why do I bring this to your attention? Because at a time when the lab leak theory is becoming more credible and legitimised by the month, we can’t seem to be able to put two-and-two together. China’s secrecy and iron-fisted grip on information is nothing new, but the key question still remains: what else are they trying to hide? “

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  15. Mark. Vaccination against Covid 19 may not prevent transmission of infection to others (although I don’t believe transmission cannot occur without the spreader being infected). But, repeated reports suggest that vaccination does curtail severe effects, or rather I have seen many reports from intensive care departments where a physician in charge identifies all of the inhabitants as being unvaccinated. Commonly this information is conveyed with a mixture of regret and resignation.

    I find it difficult to understand why medical staff (in particular) resist vaccination, but then I must admit to avoiding reading the anti vaccination mantra. I am fully vaccinated and boostered, so I think reading this material would be a waste of my time.

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  16. Apologies if I’ve posted this before but it touches on one of the points in these threads – the lack of media/medical/official attention over potential vaccine concerns.
    A week or two back the Daily Sceptic had an interesting feature on the potential under-reporting and lack of recognition of vaccine side-effects. It caught my eye because personal/anecdotal evidence suggests that mild but long-running after-effects may be quite widespread.
    https://dailysceptic.org/2022/01/18/vaccine-safety-update-23/
    The table towards the end includes a category of “General Disorders” which totals about 400,000. This is derived from the Yellow Card system which, as I understand it, picks up cases reported by GPs etc plus those who contact it voluntarily. So the comment that it may only represent 10% of the actual figures seems credible, especially for milder instances. So there could be 4 million folk who have fatigue and other effects.

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  17. I’m not sure where Bournbrook’s figure of 4,636 covid deaths in China comes from, but it isn’t actually too far from the numbers reported to the WHO by China:

    “In China, from 3 January 2020 to 5:30pm CET, 26 January 2022, there have been 137,788 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 5,700 deaths, reported to WHO.”

    https://covid19.who.int/region/wpro/country/cn

    If anybody think those numbers are convincing, from the country where covid originated, and which has a population of c. 1.45 Bn, then they are in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

    Given that the Paris Climate Agreement and all that follows from it are based on individual countries self-reporting their GHG emissions, that really should give world leaders pause for thought, as it should about the claims of China’s leadership with regard to intended reductions in GHG emissions. But for some reason, it won’t.

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  18. Alan K and MikeHig, I think you both make very valid points. Although at various places and dates at CliScep I have expressed my views on covid, perhaps a comment on this article would be a useful place to try to set out my position clearly.

    1. Like Alan, I am fully vaccinated and have had my booster jab (and indeed, I had my flu jab in the autumn too). At my age (mid-late 50s), I calculated that the risk to me from catching covid was far greater than the risk to me from vaccine side effects.

    2. I am not an anti-vaxxer, but I dislike the term, since it is capable of being (and is) used as a catch-all insult to all and any who are nervous about vaccinations, and covers the full gamut from outright refusal to have any vaccine whatever the evidence, through a range all the way to those who are generally happy with vaccinations, but express concern about possible side effects in some people and who wonder if the risk to the fit and healthy might not outweigh the risk of catching covid. It seems to be deployed in much the same way as the catch-all slur “climate denier”, which is aimed at anyone who isn’t fully signed up to climate alarmism, whether they’re at the end of the spectrum that refuses to accept any human impact on the climate, or whether they accept the human impact on climate but dispute the utility or sense of many of the policy measures adopted in response.

    3. Having read everything I can find about covid jabs, I think it is clear that they received emergency approval, and that there are issues with them. Thankfully those issues seem to be outweighed for the vast majority of people by the beneficial effect of protecting against the worst impacts of catching covid, even if they don’t offer complete protection and seem to wane over time.

    4. I have serious doubts about forcing covid jabs on children, who (absent comorbidities) seem to be almost free of any risk from serious illness if they catch covid, especially given that there do seem to be definite risks of myocarditis from the vaccines in younger people, particularly males under the age of 40.

    5. Whilst I don’t like the idea of mandatory vaccinations, I can just about bring myself to accept that they may have a role to play in circumstances where a virus has a very high IFR and where there are no effective treatments and where (say) vaccination not only protects the individual vaccinated but also prevents onwards transmission. That is clearly not the case with covid, at least in most western societies and it is certainly not the case in the UK, where antibodies are believed to exist in 97% of the population and well over 70% of the population is double jabbed and well over 50% has had a booster jab.

    6. I share Alan’s bemusement at such a large proportion of medical professionals refusing to be vaccinated. I think they are in the wrong job if that’s their attitude. Having said that, at this stage of the pandemic (97% with antibodies, a less virulent albeit rapidly spreading omicron variant, and vaccines that don’t prevent transmission – even if they might slightly reduce the risk of transmission), then I think insisting on them being vaccinated now or threatening them with redeployment or the sack is madness, especially given the staff shortage that already exists in the NHS.

    7. I have huge doubts regarding the effectiveness of pretty much all non-clinical interventions – including lockdowns – to do anything much to reduce the damage wreaked by covid. Taken all in all, I suspect that whatever good such interventions have achieved will probably be shown to be less than the harms caused by such interventions – collateral damage, if you like.

    8. Having said that, I don’t suppose the picture on that question will be clear until at least 5 years on from the start of the pandemic.

    9. I remain bemused as to why a pandemic plan, carefully created and put in place by a mixture of senior politicians, civil servants and medical experts was thrown overboard in a panic in favour of lockdowns in short order. I do understand that in the early stages of the pandemic what was happening was shocking, but surely no more shocking than what was envisaged when the pandemic plan was first put in place?

    10. Given that naturally obtained (from infection) antibodies are generally reckoned to be more effective than those obtained from vaccination, I don’t understand the obsession with vaccine passports, and again in support of that view I trot out the “97% with antibodies” statistic.

    No doubt more will occur to me immediately after I post this comment, but that will do to be going on with.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Mark: Liked because I appreciate anyone trying to do such a summary. I differ in emphasis, especially on the ‘pandemic plan’. Early on in 2020 I was convinced by Richard North that there was none. What there was assumed a variant of influenza and was useless. But I’m rusty even on my biases 😉

    Adam Gallon yesterday captured something else close to North’s heart:

    The expensive fiasco of Test & Trace, a fiasco as technology was tried to be used, where previously local environmental health would have done the job, another service that’s been dismantled as deemed to be unneeded now.

    I sympathise with Alan’s point that if you’ve had two vaccines and the booster what’s the point of worrying?

    I agree with this chap on Holocaust Memorial Day (also tomorrow) last year:

    I agree that we’ll know more by 2025. I also think there’s truth from Adam here:

    One suspects there’s a lot behind this, we don’t know & probably never will.

    Blessings, all.

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  20. “Covid: Posts claiming only 17,000 died of virus ‘factually incorrect'”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/60145237

    “A misleading claim that “only” 17,000 people in England and Wales have died of Covid has been circulating online. The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has stepped in to correct the record – but not before the false claim went viral…

    …Matt Fowler lost his dad to Covid-19 in April 2020. Ian Fowler was 56 at the time of his death, and lived with type 2 diabetes – which his son said had a “minor, barely perceptible impact on his life that he controlled with his diet”.

    But the suggestion that “only” 17,000 people in England and Wales have died of Covid – a figure arrived at by removing from the data anyone with a pre-existing health condition – completely discounts the deaths of people like Ian.

    The true death toll is more than 140,000, the ONS says. That number is limited to deaths directly caused by the virus, not those “involving” Covid or people who happened to test positive but died of other causes.

    There are other ways of calculating deaths by the virus, but all give figures in a similar ballpark….”.

    As I made clear (I hope) in my article, the “only” 17,000 covid deaths claim is clearly wrong, and a very significant understatement of the true number of deaths that would not have taken place but for covid. For once, the BBC article is, IMO, well worth a read as a good explainer of how the figures can be misunderstood.

    Having said that, I still find it bizarre that the mainstream media ignored the story until it started to be picked up by “the usual suspects” plus social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Bill, thank you for the link. I would recommend everyone to follow it. The final paragraph is quite telling:

    “What can we learn from this sorry state of affairs? Clearly, very little about how many people really died due to covid—19, because the covid trumping rules so muddy the waters that is impossible to disentangle real due to covid–19 deaths from those hoovered up by the covid–19 trumping rules. The possible range runs, more or less, from 6,183 to 140k, and the failure to have not the slightest clue of where the real number lies represents a colossal failure of public health medicine. Perhaps that leads to the real lesson: in the face of a pandemic of an infectious disease that comes under the special coding rules, you cannot trust the numbers of deaths to be medically correct, because the numbers are not even meant to be medically correct; instead, they are produced to reflect those mysterious interests of importance for public health — whatever they may be.”

    Whatever the reality behind the numbers (and it seems there is a great deal of confusion); and despite the tragedy that covid has represented for many, many people and their families, I suppose it IS good news that for most people, who don’t have underlying health conditions, covid has a very low IFR. That’s the other side of the story that the MSM seems anxious to avoid, for some reason.

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  22. The more I get to know about the WHO, the less I like. As with the IPCC, they seem to be an organisation dedicated to making things ‘clearer than the truth’. Causal analysis is difficult at the best of times, but when you are working under instructions designed to facilitate an agenda, it descends into farce. Anyway, the Dr No article has only served to reinforce suspicions that I have been harboring for a long time regarding the covid-19 death statistics. The drop in deaths from flu is suspicious enough, but the drop in deaths caused by pneumonia is a smoking gun if I have ever seen one.

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  23. Quite, John. This answer from Dr No to a commenter (called Peter) I found very helpful

    Peter – “it would point out exactly how “underlying cause” is derived from the MCCD, rather than lead everyone to believe it was as determined by the certifying doctor” – this is a very important point, thank you for bringing it up. A common argument used by the debunkers (it was even used against Dr No recently) is ‘how come some conspiracy rando on the internet thinks they know more about the (underlying) cause of death than the doctor who certified the death, and in most cases knew the patient?’ But this misses the point: it’s an ONS rando who re-assigns the underlying cause by applying the the covid-19 trumping rule, not the certifying doctor, that ultimately decides the underlying cause. Usually, doctor knows best, but when it comes to coding covid-19 deaths, ONS knows best.

    The ONS is following the WHO coding rules, of course. The whole shebang reminds me of number 3 of the recent Washington Declaration to which Robert Malone drew my attention:

    3. Health agencies and institutions must cease interfering with the physician-patient relationship.

    I’m about to go into a ‘physician-patient relationship’ up close and personal on my right eye. I’d much prefer a faceless and incompentent bureaucrat isn’t also in the operating theatre in ‘the interests of public health’.

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  24. Returning to the basics of causal analysis, whether or not a medical practitioner accepts or rejects an underlying cause should be based upon the following judgements: To what extent was Covid-19 necessary to cause the death, and to what extent was Covid-19 sufficient to cause it? To decide the issue, answers to two counterfactual questions are required:

    a) Given that the patient caught Covid-19 and died, what is the probability that the patient wouldn’t have died if the patient had not caught Covid-19?

    b) Given that the patient has not caught Covid-19 and hasn’t died, what would be the probability that the patient would have died if they had caught Covid-19?

    The first question measures necessity (PN), i.e. the extent to which death required the presence of Covid-19. The second question measures sufficiency (PS), i.e. the extent to which the presence of Covid-19 is all that was required.

    These are difficult questions to expect a medical practitioner to answer when dealing with a novel virus. The best thing would be for the presence of underlying conditions to be recorded without prejudice and to allow the collation and analysis of MCCD statistics to produce the necessary insights over time. Ironically, however, no such insight is possible when “interests of importance for public health” are allowed to adversely influence the integrity of the MCCD data being collected.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. One is course grateful for good health administrators who maintain standards that other generations would have died for (to coin a phrase). And I fully agree with John that the MCCD should note everything – plus the presiding doctor’s opinion of what I’ll call the main cause of death. It’s when the cause is blindingly obvious to her (or him) yet an ONS rando overrules that verdict … that cannot be good for any health statistician coming in later

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  26. I’ve now watched Dr Campbell’s video and I’ve read the BBC article that fact checks the ‘only 17,000 Covid-19 deaths’ claim.

    Dr Campbell says he will not be ‘petty’ and he will not be demanding an apology from the BBC. All I can say is that he is a much bigger man than that Ridgway guy. If I know that guy, he wouldn’t be happy until the BBC was groveling at his feet. He certainly would be aggrieved if a BBC disinformation specialist (Rachel Schraer) had claimed that the BBC had contacted him before writing her hit piece when, in fact, no such contact had been made. He’d be saying all sorts of nasty stuff about the journalist being a disgrace to the profession. Yes sir, that Ridgway is certainly no Dr Campbell.

    As for the essence of the BBC’s fact checking, it seems to be making a claim for the probability of necessity being very high, since:

    “Deaths which would not have been counted in the 17,000 include people with asthma, diabetes, an irregular heartbeat or high blood pressure – all conditions with which many can expect to live a normal lifespan. In other words, these are not terminal conditions that would have killed people had they not caught Covid.”

    Not terminal conditions, eh? So no-one ever died of an asthma attack, diabetic complications or heart disease before Covid-19 came along?

    Health and Disinformation specialist my arse.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. I have watched Dr John Campbell a few times now, having stumbled across his You Tube channel. I am impressed by his response to the BBC piece, and I worry that something written by a disinformation reporter can apparently itself contain disinformation.

    I would say that we are descending into a somewhat Orwellian world, but apparently we have to issue warnings before recommending anyone to read Orwell (well, 1984, anyway) now.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. “So no-one ever died of an asthma attack, diabetic complications or heart disease before Covid-19 came along?”

    I had a friend who was type-1 diabetes, who said to me that the average age for males with this condition was 51. The constant blood-sugar highs and lows damage various other organs, especially the heart. He was about 53 at the time, and died the following year, apparently his heart was knackered. And a small minority actually die of a particular high or low, too. While life-span is improving since the late 80s when very tight monitoring / adjusting of blood-sugar levels was established, due to much better understanding and technology, there is much less improvement for those who already lived for decades without such regimes, because a lot of damage had already been done. These people are still working their way out of the population, so to speak. My friend died about 5 years back.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Of course, the most significant entry on a death certificate is the age of the deceased, since it is often the most influential of the possible confounders when it comes to causal analysis. Also, a pandemic’s impact is most accurately determined in terms of the Quality-Adjusted Life-Years (QALYs) lost and so the average age of the deceased and their life-expectancy matters.

    Here is what my old pal, Norman Fenton, Professor of Risk Information Management, Queen Mary London University, has to say about calculating life-expectancy (well, I say ‘old pal’, but what I really mean is that his work on Bayesian networks in software development was highly influential in my days as a software quality assurance specialist and set me on the road towards trying to understand uncertainty and its quantification):

    You will note that he puts a plug in for Judea Pearl’s ‘Book of Why’ (the book that I had recently read before posting on Cliscep my Brief Primer on Causation).

    Like

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