Throughout the course of the pandemic, officials and ministers wrestled with how to ensure the public complied with ever-changing lockdown restrictions. One weapon in their arsenal was fear.
“We frighten the pants off everyone,” Matt Hancock suggested during one WhatsApp message with his media adviser.
The then health secretary was not alone in his desire to scare the public into compliance. The WhatsApp messages seen by The Telegraph show how several members of Mr Hancock’s team engaged in a kind of “Project Fear”, in which they spoke of how to utilise “fear and guilt” to make people obey lockdown.
- UK shows an alarming increase in non-Covid related excess deaths.
- This is consistent with data from November 2022.
- This merits an official government response.
- Data shows there are more infections but fewer cases are symptomatic, which is good news.
- Infections are high but hospitalisations are not high.
- Deaths due to Covid are not increasing. It’s the non-Covid deaths that are increasing.
- Previous infections reduce the likelihood of getting re-infected.
- Protection from the vaccine against re-infection only lasts 10-11 weeks, which is not very long.
- Most people admitted to hospital as incidental infections (not admitted for Covid).
- We’re not seeing many deaths in younger age groups.
- Other than age, obesity is the biggest risk factor of dying from Covid.
- It is strange that the government is not talking about these excess deaths which would constitute a public health emergency.
Norway, Sweden and Iceland had the lowest relative cumulative excess mortality.
- Between the week ending 3 January 2020 (week 1 2020) and the week ending 1 July 2022 (week 26 2022), the UK’s relative cumulative excess mortality was 3.1% above the average of 2015 to 2019; this was over a third less than the cumulative excess mortality in the week ending 18 June 2021 (week 24 2021; the period of the previous article), at 5.8%.
- The UK had the 16th highest relative cumulative excess mortality of the 33 countries analysed (UK, its constituent countries, and 28 European countries), and 15th highest of 28 countries when constituent countries are removed.
- The majority of European countries analysed (25 of 33) experienced above average relative cumulative excess mortality for the whole period, with eight countries showing relative cumulative mortality below average.
- Bulgaria had the highest relative cumulative excess mortality at 18.2% above average, followed by Poland (13.3% above average) and Romania (12.2% above average); Norway had the lowest with 4.1% below average, followed by Sweden (4.0% below average) and Iceland (3.9% below average).
- The majority of European countries (22 of 33) had higher relative cumulative excess mortality in those aged 65 years and over compared with those aged under 65 years.
- The UK had the fifth highest relative cumulative excess mortality rate in those aged under 65 years (8.3% above average); in those aged 65 years and over in the UK, the cumulative excess mortality rate was the 19th highest (2.2% above average).
- Overall, 19 of the 33 European countries had a decrease in their relative cumulative excess mortality rates since the last release (week ending 18 June 2021), including the UK and constituent countries; the largest decrease was in Czechia (5.4 percentage points lower), whereas the largest increase was in Cyprus (5.4 percentage points higher).
Figures reveal there were 18,394 deaths ‘due to’ Covid recorded this year in England and Wales. But since May there have been 23,195 excess deaths where the primary cause was another condition.
Some of those people did die with a coronavirus infection, but it was not the main reason for the death.
Experts continue to argue over the reasons behind this recent uptick in unexpected deaths, which shows no sign of slowing.
But it is likely that collateral damage from the pandemic, coupled with long term NHS problems, have collided into a perfect, and deadly, storm.
…Prof Banerjee fears that the indirect effects of the pandemic will turn out to be greater than the harm from Covid itself, and that it is vital for future preparedness planning to take into account long-term outcomes.
Deaths due to an irregular heartbeat are likely to be one of the reasons more people than usual have been dying this year – with the number well above average so far.
The number of deaths registered in England and Wales due to cardiac arrhythmias was more than usual for much of the first half of 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Deaths in this category had the second highest excess mortality figures in March and April, up from being the eighth highest in February and the fourth highest in January.
Excess deaths, or extra deaths, are the number of deaths that are above the long-term average for a particular week or month of the year.
The effects of lockdown may now be killing more people than are dying of Covid, official statistics suggest.
Figures for excess deaths from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that around 1,000 more people than usual are currently dying each week from conditions other than the virus.
The ONS data shows that between 1st Jan 21 and 31st March 22, double vaccinated children aged 10-14 were statistically up to 39 times more likely to die than unvaccinated children, and double vaccinated teenagers aged 15-19 were statistically up to 4 times more likely to die than unvaccinated teenagers.
…The ONS data shows that between 1st Jan 21 and 31st March 22, triple jabbed children aged 10-14 were statistically 303 times more likely to die than unvaccinated children of Covid-19, 69x more likely to die of any cause other than Covid-19 than unvaccinated children, and 82x more likely to die of all-causes than unvaccinated children.
This suggests that three doses of a Covid-19 injection increase the risk of all-cause death for children by an average of 8,100%, and the risk of dying of Covid-19 by an average of 30,200%. Whilst two doses increase the risk of all-cause death by an average of 3,600%.
But as things currently stand it’s the other way round for teenagers. Two doses of a Covid-19 injection increase the risk of all-cause death for teens aged 15 to 19 by an average of 300%. Whilst three doses increase the risk of all-cause death by an average of 100%.
[T]hree doses of a Covid-19 injection increase the risk of all-cause death for children by an average of 8,100%, and the risk of dying of Covid-19 by an average of 30,200%. Whilst two doses increase the risk of all-cause death by an average of 3,600%.
…Two doses of a Covid-19 injection increase the risk of all-cause death for teens aged 15 to 19 by an average of 300%. Whilst three doses increase the risk of all-cause death by an average of 100%.
There are signs that the latest wave of Covid infections may have peaked in children and younger adults, according to scientists tracking the outbreak.
But rates in those older groups most vulnerable to severe disease are continuing to increase in England.
UK health and statistics authorities allegedly used 14 inconsistent ways to define fatalities.
Many who died early in the pandemic were never actually tested for the virus while others may have died from something else entirely, according to experts.
…The Oxford study, from 800 freedom of information requests, found some deaths were attributed to Covid just because a care home provider said so and coronavirus was rife.
The report stated: “At the beginning of the pandemic, Public Health England linked data on positive cases to the NHS central register of patients who died.
“This definition meant that a patient who tested positive would be counted as a Covid death even if they were run over by a bus several months later.”
Did official figures overestimate Britain’s grim Covid death toll?
It’s a question that has been asked persistently by medics and members of the public alike almost since the start of the pandemic.
…Last week, in the first of a series of special reports probing the science that has underpinned our pandemic response, The Mail on Sunday set about tackling the ongoing concerns that tests used to diagnose Covid were picking up people who were not actually infected.
The conclusion of some scientists was, yes, they did. And there were those who maintained that despite shortcomings, PCR swabs – used by millions – were accurate enough.
A senior epidemiologist who advised the government during the coronavirus pandemic claims he was told to “correct” his views after he criticised what he thought was an “implausible” graph shown at an official briefing.
Professor Mark Woolhouse has also apologised to his daughter, whose generation “has been so badly served by mine”, and believes that closing schools was “morally wrong”.
The Edinburgh University academic is deeply critical of the use of lockdown measures and says “plain common sense” was a “casualty of the crisis”.
Speaking to Sky News, Prof Woolhouse seemed concerned about a possible “big-brother” approach to the control of information about COVID.
He says he was told to watch what he was saying following a briefing given by Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) Sir Patrick Vallance on 21 September 2020.
Long Covid could be being drastically overreported in children, an official report suggests.
The Office for National Statistics said only one in 100 primary-aged pupils actually have the condition, despite half of parents reporting at least one of its symptoms.
Professor Russell Viner, a member of SAGE and child health expert, said it showed ‘just how common tiredness and headaches are in children’.
The report showed that 47.5 per cent of parents said their child was still battling at least one symptom of the virus 12 weeks later.
But almost the same amount (46.6 per cent) had similar symptoms despite never having Covid. Most common symptoms were a sore throat, lost voice, coughs and shortness of breath.
The ONS estimated that fewer than one in 40 secondary pupils in the UK have long Covid.
“We knew from February , never mind March, that the lockdown would not solve the problem. It would simply delay it,” Woolhouse says, a note of enduring disbelief in his voice. And yet in government, “there was no attention paid to that rather obvious drawback of the strategy”.
Instead, lockdowns – which “only made sense in the context of eradication” – became the tool of choice to control Covid. The die was cast in China, which instituted ultra-strict measures and, unforgivably in Woolhouse’s book, was praised by the World Health Organisation for its “bold approach”. “The WHO,” he suggests, “got the biggest calls completely wrong in 2020. The early global response to the pandemic was woefully inadequate.”
The Government last month signalled its intention to scrap the legal requirement for infected people to self-isolate on March 24, and yesterday it was claimed that it will stop releasing daily Covid updates in April.
…The truth is that the advent of the highly infectious (although markedly milder) Omicron variant has changed everything.
Last week the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) – the proportion of infected people who died of Covid – was hovering at around 0.95 per cent.
That is way below the 15 per cent recorded when the death rate was at its peak in May 2020 when testing was minimal.
And since Monday, when the Office For National Statistics included ‘reinfections’ – people who have contracted the virus more than once – on its daily Covid dashboard for the first time, the CFR has plummeted still further.
With the addition of hundreds of thousands of cases to the weekly total, by Tuesday the CFR had fallen to 0.19 per cent, a percentage akin to that of flu, an illness which currently has a fatality rate of between 0.1 and 0.2 per cent.
The average age of death from Covid, meanwhile, remains at the pre-pandemic 82, with data from the US showing that 75 per cent of people who die with Covid have no fewer than four underlying serious conditions.
Doctors are among the health workers least likely to be vaccinated against Covid-19, while fitness instructors, artists and waiters have some of the highest unjabbed rates overall.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show vaccination rates by profession at the end of last year. The data provides an early indication of which parts of the NHS and social care workforce could be hardest hit by the compulsory vaccination rule that comes into force in April.
Daily reported Covid death figures are too high because people are dying from conditions unrelated to the virus after testing positive, Sajid Javid has admitted.
On Wednesday, there were 359 deaths reported in Britain, but the Health Secretary said that “many” people were being included in the count who “would not have necessarily died of Covid”.
His comments came after death data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show a large discrepancy in weekly death registrations compared to the figures released on the Government dashboard.
For the week ending Jan 7, the UK Health Security Agency reported 1,282 deaths of people who had died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus.
However, ONS data show there were just 992 death registrations with Covid mentioned on the death certificate in that week.
Covid was not the underlying cause of death in nearly a quarter of virus-related fatalities last week, official figures suggest.
The most up-to-date Office for National Statistics figures showed there were 922 deaths registered in England and Wales mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate in the week to January 7. Of them, Covid was not ruled to be the primary reason for the death in 210 cases, or 23 per cent — although it may have been a contributing factor.
For comparison, the share of deaths not primarily due to the virus stood at around 16 per cent when Omicron first arrived in the UK. With the Alpha wave last January, before the country embarked on its historic vaccination drive, the proportion was about 10 per cent.
The rise of the milder strain has led to a similar pattern emerging in hospitals, where nearly half of virus inpatients are not primarily needing treatment for the infection — compared to about 25 per cent with Delta.
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.
Thank you for your enquiry.
We have provided analysis on COVID-19 as the only cause of death by age and sex in England and Wales for your requested time period.