When i first started writing this blog i was nervous about what i was writing through fear of my lack of knowledge surrounding statistics, epidemiology and public health. I unpublished the website two weeks ago having just had enough of discussions with intelligent friends who started to bracket me as a conspiracy theorist for questioning lockdown policies. For the record i trust the government and science and consider covid-19 to be genuine threat to public health and i support the NHS.
Anyone that makes references to coronavirus and 5G, big pharma and anti vaxers and posting the Plandemic film are nothing short of insane.
The following two weeks after i unpublished the website i witnessed a very disturbing trend on social media and the press to vilify anyone who questioned the lockdown as “putting money over lives”, “tell that to your over 65 relatives” and most annoyingly “you cant educate stupid” . A recent survey showed that just 1 in 15 people are not supportive of the lockdown that’s a huge majority (93.3%) of supporters many of who are lockdown fanatics proudly capitalising their comments on social media threads “LOCKDOWN! means LOCKDOWN!” I then started nervously replying to comments in support of people questioning the irrational logic behind the lockdown…again i was met with vilification that spurred me on a quest for more support of my beliefs.
I am now terrified and deeply saddened of how 93.3% of the public have been so easily conditioned by fear and hysteria spread by the media, that has in turn driven public pressure on the politicians to enforce such draconian, authoritarian measures, you can hardly blame a government where 99.3% of the public want the lockdown to continue….so why is it that there is so many questions that need to be properly answered? Hysteria occurs because we confuse precaution with risk and we haven’t paused to think if this lockdown was at all necessary…The aim of this post is to present two arguments of science and pitch it against sociology – i through my own admission of confirmation bias and lack of any medical or scientific training will focus in part 2 on the sociology vs the science.
What we must be aware of here is that the government are surrounded by brilliant minds of spin, Boris and his team will be surrounded by special advisers who are very experienced in political spin, public relations, media, psychology and sociology. This is Boris’s moment of judgement that no other PM post Churchill has ever experienced and what political leader wouldn’t want to roll out of it with overwhelming public support – this is where the mechanics of perfect political spin start to roll and these govt departments will be in full throttle to make sure Boris and the govt have made the right choices. This doesn’t in anyway allude to a “cover up’ its just a very clever political business as usual tactic that by all accounts is working very well.
So lets start with a very disturbing scientific presentation of data that is driving public opinion that i want to highlight.
Part 1 – The science, and the 5 year average excess deaths graphs.
One format of data presentation we have seen the most of is the ‘excess deaths’ on a 5 year expected average as per below…lets dig into this a little using the ONS data and formulas across both sides so as to be consistent and hopefully easier to understand.
Now i am not a mathematician but i understand averages. If you take a range of numbers (years) that have low ‘extra’ deaths such as the record low year of 2014/15 but amongst those numbers is one high number the other low numbers will force the average down. I believe the ONS would of been given a confidential brief by Boris’s team to present all manner of stats of averages against different parameters that were then presented to the spin team. The 5 year average comparison fits them perfectly….
So what if we use the year on year comparison to compare average deaths…? lets start with 2018 and we find that the ONS presented data to Public Health England of 50,100 ‘extra’ deaths! Yes over 50 thousand! ‘extra’ or ‘additional’ the exact operative terms that have been used in media headlines and ONS charts. So how does that compare to covid-19..? well if we look at week 16 in the crisis where there was a total of 22,351 deaths attributed to covid-19 only 11,854 were ‘extra/additional’ deaths on a 5 year average but also that puts the covid-19 crisis at that period at 38,246 deaths behind the 2017/2018 winter season, allow for the fact that we are entering summer and i cannot see how its at all possible that the death toll will come anywhere near 2018’s ‘extra’ deaths….what did we do then?
Here is the report by the ONS confirming this https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/excesswintermortalityinenglandandwales/2017to2018provisionaland2016to2017final
The chart again from the ONS below shows a clear pattern of winter spikes in deaths going back to 1975 with most winter seasons showing spikes touching 50,000….except…for the 2000-2010 years where it was lot less but what this does tell us is that ‘extra’ deaths up to 50,000 are nothing unusual and not something so extraordinary as to justify the lockdown reaction.
*update 12/05/2020 ref – There have been 41,627 excess deaths (again based on the perfect comparative of 5 years) in England and Wales so far this year, three-quarters of which were linked to Covid-19, the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed. Of the deaths registered between December 28 2019 and May 1 2020 33,408 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate. Prior to mid-March, the number of deaths in England and Wales had been running below average, meaning the total excess deaths for the year in total is lower.
We must note that references to care home death numbers many are in the absence of a positive test, it is thought most GPs will now record a death as suspected coronavirus, if there has been another case confirmed in the same care home. My main concern is that this threatens to make a nonsense of any statistics which are generated. It will also do great reputational damage to care homes and doctors involved, which are largely doing heroic jobs and to the whole health industry.
Dr Victoria Tzortziou-Brown, Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Covid-19 can be recorded as the patient’s cause of death based on a reasoned clinical assessment, even without the results of a positive test” Shew went on to say “We knew there was going to be a pump in Covid-registered deaths. I hadn’t expected such a huge number of deaths which didn’t mention it on the death certificate.”
They are also likely to consist of those who have died as an indirect result of the outbreak, such as patients with serious illnesses like heart disease who did not wish to add to the pressure on the NHS or were scared of catching coronavirus if they attended hospital. this could reduce the ‘extra’ deaths considerably no?
Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge, said: “It’s incredibly vivid, this huge spike that’s come up for extra deaths I don’t think I’ve ever been as shocked when I’ve looked at something, particularly as just over half of that spike were death certificates with Covid written on them”
Having just listened to a prominent epidemiologist on Radio 4 he referenced the 2017/2018 a s a particularity cold winter and the facts that the excess deaths for that season were spread over the entire season which is Nov -Mar….but isn’t that a similar period we are referencing here since the first death?
Part 2 – The sociology – How did we get here? Was it worth it, and what might the future hold?
The most basic response I hear was that this could all have changed in a fortnight and if we hadn’t locked down the numbers could of been the worst case scenario and the NHS could of been overwhelmed – We can certainly give credit to our leaders for envisaging the worst of the worst of the worst on the basis of these models so as not to take the slightest risk of it happening. But we constructed a (collective) hallucination on the basis of figures that meant nothing. The reality, once again, is that this epidemic is far less problematic and dangerous than what is claimed. It is the lack of an accurate policy that is hazardous. We cannot become compliant in living in a society that reacts to risk where the press has, I think, echoed and indeed amplified the general panic. Broadcast media has relentlessly focused on the number of deaths and emotional stories surrounding victims using solemn tones to amplify the gravity of the situation. While every death is sad, the significance of a death toll can only be understood by looking at the big picture. We have worked ourselves up into a lather in which we exaggerated the threat and stopped asking ourselves whether the cure may be worse than the disease.
There are those who say: “Any cost is worth it if it saves a single life.” But that is obviously preposterous. Even if doing so did not mean no extra deaths in itself, we would not ban all social and sporting activities in the country for months or years just to save a single life. These other forms of human activity have a value in themselves, which is not simply to be waved away as irrelevant when compared with a life.
What we are doing is overturning our whole society, for at least months and possibly years using the sinister term “A new normal”. That will according to Bank of England propel us into the worst recession since The Great Freeze of 1703, But the GDP costs here are only a small portion of the total social costs of these restrictions. That is not simply a matter for virologists – where we “listen to the experts and do as we are instructed”. It is a matter for the whole of society to debate, regarding the trade-offs involved. not Covid hysterics in the media elite saying: ‘You’re giving us too much freedom and people will die as a result.’
Even if my children return to the classroom before the summer holidays their key social rituals will be outlawed – no huddling in conspiratorial groups, no friendly bumping of shoulders in corridors. I’m not sure how my 9 year old son will survive without wrestling his mates to the ground at a 2m distance! The “new normal” involves as much carefree socialising as a stint in a monastery. Above all, there are social and emotional costs to the long-term enforcement of social distancing, particularly for children and young adults. Forming friendships and starting relationships will be far more challenging if private, face-to-face conversations are made near impossible. What’s lost in this sanitised world is spontaneity, the warmth of genuine human emotion, and the privacy of a relationship.
Covid hysterics think its more scandalous for Neil Ferguson to ignore social distancing policies to bonk his mistress than the psychotic modelling that shaped Lock down itself. It’s worth thinking about the hypocrisy of this..’scandal’ Ferguson’s scaremongering, his predictions of mass death if society didn’t close itself down, was the key justification for the lockdown in the UK – that was the scandal…not his intimate private polyamourus relationship!!!!
Lockdown was enacted on an unpublished prediction of 510,000 deaths in the UK , rapidly reduced to 250,000 and then to 20,000..Even If we accept the Imperial estimate that 250,000 died if we didn’t keep everyone locked down. The average age of the patients who’ve died of coronavirus so far is 79.5 and average life expectancy in the UK is 81. We’re valuing the lives of those 250,000 people at £500,000 each at a cost to the economy of £350 billion pounds. Calculation that will enrage the facebook mob. People will denounce me as a “Nazi” and a “eugenicist” or, if they were feeling charitable, a “Tory scumbag”. Apparently, anyone who dissents from the official Government line – that we should do “whatever it takes” to stop people becoming infected – deserves to be vilified. Several people even compared me to David Icke.
The NHS places a monetary value on patients’ lives everyday and use it to make clinical decisions every day. As a general rule, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence values one quality-adjusted life year (Qaly) at between £15,000 and £30,000, depending on health. Even if we assume that each of those 250,000 people will enjoy another eight years of perfect health, we’re still valuing their lives twice as highly as we would in normal times.
But more than that it is vital for our future liberty. Many people seem to believe these measures are saving tens of thousands of lives and are justified on that basis. If the government leaves us with the impression that all this would be worth it to save, say, 50,000 lives there is a risk that some future government would use these events as a precedent to impose similar restrictions when indeed there were only 50,000 lives at stake which as the science proves is a regular occurrence.
The Covid threat is not the apocalypse we were warned about. Its death rate is low. Its impact on younger people is negligible. Just 0.75 per cent of deaths in the UK have been among under-40s, and the majority of those were people with underlying health conditions. And yet most under-40s – fit, healthy workers – remain locked at home, denied the right to work and play and keep society going.
While social-distancing measures – like wearing a light medical mask or washing one’s hands 11 times a day – might be annoying, the practical impact of country-wide lockdowns has been utterly devastating
In fact it seems to me we’re not relaxing lockdown, so much as ramping up the scope for social inhibition.
Lockdown was enacted on a prediction of 500,000 deaths in the UK , rapidly reduced to 250,000 and then to 20,000. As I write the UK death toll is 30,150. In new, post-lockdown deaths per million people once again suggests that the lockdowns are not working…..Broadcast media has relentlessly focused on the number of deaths and emotional stories surrounding victims. While every death is sad, the significance of a death toll can only be understood by looking at the big picture.
This is a consequence of the culture of fear and safetyism that has gripped Western societies in recent decades. The insulation of people from risk and even from offence has given rise to a situation in which some seem incapable of exercising any kind of personal judgement. Life in the Safe Space and the echo chamber, and in a world where protecting people from harm has taken precedence over celebrating their autonomy and unleashing their potential, has led to this – to this situation in which the government hints at giving people some of their freedom and discretion back, and the cultural elites cry in unison: ‘No. Don’t. It’s too dangerous.’
Fuck ‘The new normal”