We all get caught up with the pace of life and have little or no time to research the constant information we hear every 15 minutes on the radio, TV and Media channels. This often creates a letter box view of what is happening with a specific issue or subject. Regarding Covid 19 the media and government communication machine has us all thinking in a certain way. When we do get time to stop and look deeper, we find all sorts of alternative information about what mainstream media are wanting us to believe.
For over one year now the UK has been living with Covid 19. Restrictions of movement and behaviour and now a national vaccination programme. Is it all real, many ask? The conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxers are getting louder and louder as the governments and devolved administrations seem to be guessing what controls to put in place each day. We have seen scientific evidence challenged by other medical professionals and devolved administrations making up their own rules based upon the same scientific evidence. In the meantime the average member of the public is expected to (like a performing seal) jump through hoops to each twist and turn. Are these scientists from the same stable as the health and safety killjoys - an overly cautious group who put up the 'keep off the grass' signs or try to stop children playing conkers and hopscotch at school, or perhaps they are absolutely right in their thinking, who knows. For sure when any opinion is given it is backed up by information that suits the argument.
Scarily when reading government websites not just connected to Covid 19 but all government departments you cannot help notice every paragraph contains warnings, threat and punishments for disobeying rules set out by the government. If you don't conform you be fined, sanctioned, blacklisted, imprisoned and it’s a criminal offence to do practically anything today. Perhaps this aspect is for a post on its own- have we become like a fascist state. This isn't a political statement - we're sure this wouldn't change with another political party in power.
Let look at some of the Covid 19 facts;
Average age of Covid 19 death is 80. We know for fact,Office of National Statistics [ONS] that 250000 people over 70 die every year in the UK
There is a higher percentage of men died as a result of Covid 19 in comparison to women.
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of a positive test for Covid-19, hospitalisation, severe disease and death. over 22% of the UK population is obese.
Ethnicity, people from some ethnic groups have a significantly higher risk of being infected by Covid-19. In the first wave mortality was highest among Black groups and in the second wave among Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups.
Mortality rates are significantly higher among people with pre-existing conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
How is data created and expressed?
All these facts come from the ONS and they do sometimes change definitions as they wish which makes drawing your own comparisons and conclusions very hard to achieve at times. Historically on a death certificate when recording a death, it shows the primary and secondary cause of death but if there are other areas attributing to the death then these are recorded as well. further. The main causes of death over the last 10 years have been typically dementia, Alzheimer's, heart disease, cancer etc with pneumonia, influenza, bronchopneumonia shown as secondary. It seems Covid 19 has replaced the work carried out by pneumonia and influenza.
The classification has changed and the ONS now show this statement; The ONS numbers include deaths where Covid-19 was recorded as a cause of death on the death certificate, whether or not there was a laboratory-confirmed test and irrespective of the interval from date of testing positive for those who were tested. The GOV.UK numbers include only deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
Further, upon reading the ONS website on mortality these two interesting statements occurs when commenting on Covid 19;
- Of all death occurrences between January and August 2020, there were 48,168 deaths due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) compared with 13,619 deaths due to pneumonia and 394 deaths due to influenza.
- Influenza and pneumonia were mentioned on more death certificates than COVID-19, however COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death in over three times as many deaths between January and August 2020.
So, there have been some changes of classification and definition to illnesses and in particular expressed on the death certificate and in statistical data. So why have the Government and the British Medical Association decided to change this definition? We try to shed light on this later.
Sometime we need to stand back and take a broader view at mortality.
This graph shows the mortality rate from 1901 to 2020.
Looking at the overall historical mortality rate which is a good indicator about the UK as a whole and how we fare year on year as an increasing population. Typically, over the last 20 years 500000 people die each year in the UK, in 2020 this figure was just over 600000. We had in 1990 just over 500000 deaths with a population of 50 million which is around 1%. In 2020 there were 600000 deaths with a population just short of 60 million which is also around 1%. The graph shows there were times in history when the death rates were significantly more. Factors always need to be taken into consideration such as weather, lifestyle, flu vaccination programme etc.
Let’s look at the last 4 years and evaluate excess deaths, as you can see there are peak and trough trends but there is a general pattern. In 2020 for a period of around 8 weeks we have excess deaths but then it returned to normality. During 2021 the year started higher than normal but there is always a slight increase at the beginning of the year and then it returns to regular pattern.
Weekly number of excess deaths in England and Wales from week ending January 5, 2018 to week ending May 27, 2021
So, who has been most effected by the pandemic in terms of age? As you can see the average age is 80. most secondary infections take a greater effect over 70
The death rates under 65 are hardly registering on the graph.
On further analysis of the government statement regarding registering a Covid 19 Death we wanted to see if this impacted the statistics. The statistics show a high Covid 19 figure but a below 5-year average for Pneumonia and Influenza. This potentially would imply that Covid 19 had been chosen in preference to the others to put on a death certificate. Furthermore, according to the statement; whether Covid 19 was present and tested at the time or had symptoms that looked like Covid 19.
We decided to look at the guidance offered by the government to Doctors and health professionals; Guidance for doctors completing Medical Certificates of Cause of Death in England and Wales
In an emergency period of the COVID-19 pandemic there is a relaxation of previous legislation concerning completion of the medical certificate cause of death (MCCD) by medical practitioners (referred to for the remainder of this document as doctor). The important changes occur in Sections 2 and 3 of this guidance. You should use standard guidance outside of the emergency period.
Medical practitioners are required to certify causes of death “to the best of their knowledge and belief”. Without diagnostic proof, if appropriate and to avoid delay, medical practitioners can circle ‘2’ in the MCCD (“information from post-mortem may be available later”) or tick Box B on the reverse of the MCCD for ante-mortem investigations. For example, if before death the patient had symptoms typical of COVID19 infection, but the test result has not been received, it would be satisfactory to give ‘COVID-19’ as the cause of death, tick Box B and then share the test result when it becomes available. In the circumstances of there being no swab, it is satisfactory to apply clinical judgement.
We know that the 5 year average for Pneumonia, influenza and BroncoPneumonia are pretty consistent each year except surprisingly for 2020, Why is this. Could it be that Doctor misread the symptoms or was Covid 19 taking the place of The other infections.
Has the Vaccine helped or hindered
If the average age of deaths is over 80 then why are governments across the world demanding all ages over 16 get the vaccine when its proved that for many the symptoms are no worse than a bad cold. Most countries have vaccinated the elderly and vulnerable and at risk people. The whole theme of these programmes was to control people becoming seriously ill with the virus and needing hospital care.
Here is a recent article from Daily Expose.co.uk in which they requested mortality data connected to the vaccine. Please note that Covid is the equivalent of Pneumonia, Influenza.
The statistics speak for themselves and we will let you come to your own conclusions. A couple of interesting points are the classification of Covid 19 death and that it is stated there were far more Covid 19 deaths registered but Covid 19 did not appear as much on death certificates as Influenza and Pneumonia. The guidance offered to Doctors also seems to give a very broad definition when determining if Covid 19 was the primary cause of death. The overall death rate whilst above the overall 5-year average as a total is still 1% of the population.
Why would a person going to hospital ill not be checked for Covid 19 when it is such a simple test to perform. Why would a doctor sign off the death of a patient based upon purely symptoms when a simple test was available.
If an elderly patient came to hospital in the past suffering with diagnosed dementia [ one of the biggest killers] and during their stay contracted an infection such as pneumonia and subsequently died. Recorded on the death certificate would be Dementia as the primary cause of death and Pneumonia as secondary. Because the Government change the definition of Covid 19 from an infection to an illness it allowed the doctor to write it was a Covid 19 death even if they had not been tested but merely looked like they had Covid 19.
The key point is Covid 19 is real and has caught the world sleeping especially when you consider since 2000 we have had over 12 outbreaks of SARs MERs etc around the world. We also had Ebola and the Zika virus. The vaccination programme has saved lives especially at the older age group and more vulnerable members of society. We had BSE and Mad cow disease. We have Avian bird flu and Swine fever and flu is on the rise around the world.
Disease and infection has shown that it can destroy society and economies never mind bombs and bullets. Life will never quite be the same again and out or every storm there is a cloud with a silver lining. There can be and should be some BEST PRACTICE Covid 19 learnings which will improve all our lives and change the way we live in all aspects for the better. Sometimes a Paradigm shift allows thing to back to zero and give us a clean piece of paper to reinvent things for the better, such as travel, working from home, our carbon footprint, CO2 emissions etc
Due to the steps the UK Government have taken The UK has debts due to Covid 19 that 4 generations from now will need to pay off.
There is a big debate if the lockdown was overly dictatorial and some of the science is debatable. Changing definitions for deaths and how they are reported makes you wonder why they took these steps. Devolved Governments in Wales, Ireland and Scotland all took slightly different routes and changed the rules just because they could based upon the same scientific data. Done in a political way just to show people they can change the rules.
The media played its part in whipping up the pandemic, in some instances creating a frenzy of fear amongst the population. In every home every 30 minutes the TV and Radio and social media broadcast propaganda to tell everyone; We are doomed!!! Much of the general public thought this pandemic killed anyone and everyone when the statistics show other wise.
One could ask why has all of society been so seriously affected and lives turned upside down when statistics generally shows Covid 19 kills people over 70 who already have underlying health conditions. The reality was the Government did not know at the time how dangerous Covid 19 was going to be. Blind panic across the world kicked in to start with and it took several months to stabilise. They also did not know how, or how quickly the infection would change and develop.
One thing is for sure its easy to be a back seat commentator or opinion giver, and hindsight is a wonderful thing. The reality is we are were we are and hopefully Covid 19 will slowly be controlled and eradicated. But watch this space because looking back every few years another nasty infection seems to raise its head and kills millions, or is this life and how we keep this ever increasing population under control.