Categories
News

Regulator criticises data used to justify lockdown – BBC

The government has been criticised by the official statistics watchdog for the way it presented data to justify England’s second lockdown.

The UK Statistics Authority highlighted the use of modelling at Saturday’s TV briefing showing the possible death toll from Covid this winter.

It said there needed to be more transparency about data and how predictions were being made.

The projections were out of date and over-estimated deaths, it has emerged…

It is understood the graph was used by the two senior advisers in meetings last week where the decision to impose a nationwide lockdown in England was made.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54831334

Categories
Publications

Harms of public health interventions against covid-19 must not be ignored – BMJ

The harmful consequences of public health choices should be explicitly considered and transparently reported to limit their damage, say Itai Bavli and colleagues

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge for governments. Questions regarding the most effective interventions to reduce the spread of the virus—for example, more testing, requirements to wear face masks, and stricter and longer lockdowns—become widely discussed in the popular and scientific press, informed largely by models that aimed to predict the health benefits of proposed interventions. Central to all these studies is recognition that inaction, or delayed action, will put millions of people unnecessarily at risk of serious illness or death.

However, interventions to limit the spread of the coronavirus also carry negative health effects, which have yet to be considered systematically. Despite increasing evidence on the unintended, adverse effects of public health interventions such as social distancing and lockdown measures, there are few signs that policy decisions are being informed by a serious assessment and weighing of their harms on health. Instead, much of the discussion has become politicised, especially in the US, where President Trump’s provocative statements sparked debates along party lines about the necessity for policies to control covid-19. This politicisation, often fuelled by misinformation, has distracted from a much needed dispassionate discussion on the harms and benefits of potential public health measures against covid-19.

https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4074

Categories
News

Death forecast used to justify national lockdown is based on old stats and may be four times too high, scientists say – The Sun

Death toll forecasts used by the government as grounds for another nationwide lockdown are out-of-date and could be four times too high, experts have said.

A Downing Street press conference led by Boris Johnson on Saturday included data suggesting that England could be seeing up to 4,000 deaths each day by early December.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/13082035/death-forecast-national-lockdown-four-times-too-high/

Categories
News

Coronavirus second wave has claimed the lives of just 17 victims under 40: Official figures show the disease is 100 times as deadly for the oldest victims as it is for the young – Daily Mail

  • Only 17 people under 40 died with Covid between the end of August and the middle of this month.
  • Increased infections among children and young adults has not led to their hospitalisations or deaths.
  • One person under the age of 20, and another 13 under 40, have died with coronavirus in English hospitals since the start of September.
  • 1,425 patients over 80 have died over the same period, along with another 1,093 aged between 60 and 79.
  • 247 deaths among working-age people since the end of summer compared with 2,026 among pensioners

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8890811/Coronavirus-claimed-lives-just-17-victims-40-figures-elderly-risk.html

Categories
News

How teenagers ended up operating crucial parts of England’s test and trace system – The Guardian

 workers at the call centre who have been “upskilled” to this level are mostly school-leavers and students, with no relevant qualifications. While the job is officially advertised at between £16.97 and £27.15 per hour, they are all being paid the minimum wage, which means £6.45 for the 18- to 20-year-olds (most of them) and £8.72 for over-25s.

Serco issued an internal notice explaining this change, which was leaked to the press. From 21 October, it said, “a number of experienced agents from Serco and Sitel will assist with index case tracing”.

What it didn’t say is that some of these “experienced agents” are 18 years old. The “appropriate training” for the magical transformation to “experienced clinician”, my contact tells me, lasted four hours. It was conducted remotely, as they now work from home, and consisted of a PowerPoint presentation, an online conversation, a quiz, some e-learning modules and some new call scripts.

…People ask me, “is this a cockup or a conspiracy?”. The correct answer is both. The government is using the pandemic to shift the boundaries between public and private provision, restructure public health and pass lucrative contracts to poorly qualified private companies. The inevitable result is a galactic cockup. This is what you get from a government that values money above human life.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/28/england-coronavirus-covid-test-and-trace-teenagers

Categories
News

Coronavirus not among 10 most common causes of death in September – Sky News

There were 2,703 excess deaths across England and Wales in September, official figures show – but coronavirus was not in the 10 leading causes of fatality.

The leading cause of death in September for both nations was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-not-among-10-most-common-causes-of-death-in-september-ons-12111980

Categories
News

Covid: Deaths near lowest level since March – BBC

Coronavirus accounted for 1% of all deaths in England and Wales in the second week of this month.

That’s among the lowest figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) since March when the pandemic took hold.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54248150

Categories
Opinion

Covid-19: Does Sweden have herd immunity? – Sebastian Rushworth M.D.

  • Sweden never went in to full lockdown. Instead, the country imposed a partial lockdown that was almost entirely voluntary.
  • The only forcible restriction imposed by the government from the start was a requirement that people not gather in groups of more than 50 at a time.
  • People followed the voluntary restrictions pretty well at the beginning, but that they have become increasingly lax as time has gone on.
  • After an initial peak that lasted for a month or so, from March to April, visits to the Emergency Room due to covid had been declining continuously, and deaths in Sweden had dropped from over 100 a day at the peak in April, to around five per day in August.
  • Dr. Rushworth hasn’t seen a single covid patient in the Emergency Room in over two and a half months.
  • COVID has killed under 6,000 people.
  • On average, one to two people per day are dying of covid in Sweden at present, and that number continues to drop.
  • In the whole of Stockholm, a county with 2,4 million inhabitants, there are currently only 28 people being treated for covid in all the hospitals combined.
  • Sweden seemed to be developing herd immunity, in spite of the fact that only a minority had antibodies, was due to T-cells.
  • Immunity may be long lasting, and probably explains why there have only been a handful of reported cases of re-infection with covid, even though the virus has spent the last nine months bouncing around the planet infecting many millions of people.
  • Almost all cases of reinfection have been completely asymptomatic.
  • People develop a functioning immunity after the first infection, which allows them to fight off the second infection without ever developing any symptoms.
  •  England and Italy have mortality curves that are very similar to Sweden’s.
  • Lockdown only makes sense if you are willing to stay in lockdown until there is an effective vaccine.

https://sebastianrushworth.com/2020/09/19/covid-19-does-sweden-have-herd-immunity/

Categories
News

How Bolton only has TWO Covid-19 patients in hospital despite being England’s locked-down virus hotspot – and there are 141 people on wards across all 18 ‘intervention’ areas – Daily Mail

Public Health England has listed 18 areas of intervention with stricter rules

They had only a combined 141 people in hospital as of September 3, NHS shows

One person in hospital for every 38,000 in a population of over 5.4million 

Despite an infection rate of more than 120 cases per 100,000 people and local lockdown rules preventing people from meeting anyone they don’t live with, fears about the virus spreading translate to only two people in hospital.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8744625/How-locked-Bolton-TWO-Covid-19-patients-hospital.html

Categories
News

England death count review reduces UK toll by 5,000 – BBC

A review of how deaths from coronavirus are counted in England has reduced the UK death toll by more than 5,000, to 41,329, the government has announced.

The new methodology for counting deaths means the total number of people in the UK who have died from Covid-19 comes down from 46,706 to 41,329 – a reduction of 12%.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53722711

Categories
Publications

Coronial autopsies identify the indirect effects of COVID-19 – The Lancet

Review of autopsy reports enabled the determination of the relative contributions of undiagnosed COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions on deaths. Of the 67 autopsies done at our hospital during the first 2 months of lockdown, only two autopsies identified COVID-19 that was undiagnosed before death. More frequently, reduced access to health-care systems associated with lockdown was identified as a probable contributory factor (six cases) or possible contributory factor (eight cases) to death. These causes included potentially preventable out-of-hospital deaths such as acute myocardial infarction and diabetic ketoacidosis, in which patients contacted the health services by telephone and were advised to self-isolate at home rather than attending hospital. Direct reference to financial or work pressures caused by COVID-19 was identified in three of ten cases of suicide.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(20)30180-8/fulltext

Categories
News

Daily covid death count could be scrapped – The Telegraph

  • A review will examine reports that officials were “over-exaggerating” the number of deaths from coronavirus.
  • On July 17, the Health Secretary asked PHE to urgently investigate the way daily death statistics had been reported, leading PHE to say it was “pausing” the daily release.
  • Under the previous system, anyone who has ever tested positive for the virus in England was automatically counted as a coronavirus death when they died, even if the death was from a car accident.
  • Weekly rather than daily counts could help improve accuracy for future death counts, but could also make it harder to draw comparisons in the event of a second wave of the virus.
  • Prof Carl Heneghan, director at Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, has called for a cut-off period for the way the death toll is calculated in England of 21 days.
  • Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, reportedly holds the view that excess deaths are the best measure to use, which will be unaffected by the PHE review.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/08/09/daily-covid-death-count-could-scrapped/

Categories
Publications

Why no-one can ever recover from COVID-19 in England – a statistical anomaly – CEBM

Here, it seems that PHE regularly looks for people on the NHS database who have ever tested positive, and simply checks to see if they are still alive or not. PHE does not appear to consider how long ago the COVID test result was, nor whether the person has been successfully treated in hospital and discharged to the community. Anyone who has tested COVID positive but subsequently died at a later date of any cause will be included on the PHE COVID death figures.

By this PHE definition, no one with COVID in England is allowed to ever recover from their illness. A patient who has tested positive, but successfully treated and discharged from hospital, will still be counted as a COVID death even if they had a heart attack or were run over by a bus three months later.

https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/why-no-one-can-ever-recover-from-covid-19-in-england-a-statistical-anomaly/

Categories
Opinion

This is what we shot ourselves in the foot for – Hector Drummond

Novelist Hector Drummond decided to look at the annual death figures for England and Wales from the Office for National Statistics. This is what he found after graphing the numbers all the way back to the turn of the twentieth century.

The 2020 death figures on the right cannot even be considered a spike over the course of the century.

He explained his methodology in this post:

Categories
Opinion

Near identical dynamics for England, Sweden, Spain – Professor Paul Dennis

Professor Paul Dennis, a geologist and isotope geochemist at the University of East Anglia, compared the deaths in England, Sweden, Spain. He found near identical dynamics, which supports the theory that COVID-19 appears to follow the Gompertz curve in every outbreak region. This implies that social distancing and lockdown has no effect.

Categories
News

Why the English sacrificed liberty for lockdown – UnHerd

When our American cousins cry “Live Free or Die” and take to the streets to protest overweening state authority during lockdown, whether they know it or not, they are honouring the tradition of English liberty.

Categories
Publications

Office for National Statistics Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending20march2020

Categories
News

All-cause mortality report for England and Wales – Public Health England

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/weekly-all-cause-mortality-surveillance-2019-to-2020