Be wary of junk data and junk conclusions
Death data has become a political tool (stretched both up and down by vested interests). We’ve all heard of the motorcyclist who crashed into the Covid tally, and the payments for US docs. We know there’s junk data out there, but the suggestion we only count deaths “from” Covid, and not the deaths “with” Covid is unscientific in the extreme.
Stick with me. We all want WuFlu to be nothing, but scientists and skeptics need to pick their targets carefully. Don’t lose sight of the real scandal and the real solutions. It’s a travesty that people are dying while cheap vitamins and antivirals are being ignored. Let’s fight for Vitamin D, HCQ, Ivermectin, and all the other potentials like Interferon, Bromhexine, Melatonin, steroids, asthma drugs etc etc. But let’s not get distracted by a hopeful fantasy that the true US “death tally” is only 6% of Covid deaths in the US.
There’s an idea out there that only 9,680 people have died of Covid in the US, not 161,392 people. It’s because of this CDC quote:
“For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death. “
Ask yourself: Does Diabetes protect you from Covid?
Think it through. In this scenario, in order to be considered a real coronavirus death, the deceased not only have to have been tested, they can’t have any other contributing factor listed on the death certificate. Which means effectively that people with high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease, asthma, diabetes now cannot possibly die of Covid. (Won’t they be glad to hear that?) Nor can people who don’t get tested. And nor can obese people — unless they slim down first, then die.
In a world where only 6% of the US Covid death tally are truly due to Covid, you can protect yourself from Covid by getting fat, not getting tested and getting diabetes. I don’t think so.
Deaths are not simple one-cause events
Most deaths are due to a bunch of bad factors overwhelming the system. The only pure deaths are things like bullets to the head (in homocide, not even in suicide which has its own collection of contributing factors). Death certificates reflect that, allowing doctors to list a lot of contributing factors (read ZdoggMD for a US doctors perspective). The 6% of certificates which didn’t list other factors may represent 10,000 totally healthy people cut down ahead of time, which is it’s own tragedy, surely. But, mundanely, it may also represent that some busy distracted doctors don’t always fill in the form properly.
The question that matters is: How much longer would victims have lived if Covid hadn’t hit them?
We will all die sometime. What matters is whether we are losing people who would have lived years longer. The average age of death in the US might be 78, but that means about half the population expects to live to be older than that. Some 78 year olds have a lot to contribute. Sometime in the next four years, the leader of the free world will be 78.
So people with co-morbidites are at higher risk of dying of Covid, but someone with high blood pressure can survive years with the condition. Covid may trigger their early death, but if the US borders had been shut in time, that same person might have survived for another decade of holiday and family moments. Another decade of voting and adding a long-life perspective to younger generations.
The real toll of Covid may be higher than the listed Covid deaths
Get ready: Rather than being 6% of the official tally, there are credible arguments that the real tally is probably higher than the official tally, not lower. The US is not testing adequately, the test positivity is still above 5%, and for large periods it’s been as high as 15%. Australia’s test positivity has mostly been below 1%. We know there are many missed cases in the USA.
Nationwide, 223,900 more people have died than usual from March 15 to Aug. 8, according to C.D.C. estimates, which adjust current death records to account for typical reporting lags. That number is 62,000 higher than the official count of coronavirus deaths for that period. Higher-than-normal death rates are now widespread across the country; only Alaska and Hawaii, states outside the contiguous United States, show numbers that look similar to recent years. — New York Times.
So 60,000 extra people have died in the pandemic above and beyond the covid deaths listed on death certificates. Some of them were due to the pandemic, and not due to Covid. But equally, some of them were due to Covid in people that didn’t get tested. There were people who died from heart attacks and strokes who wouldn’t have died if they weren’t afraid to visit hospital during an epidemic. We know people died of cancer due to delays in treatments. We know people in homes died because their families couldn’t get in to see them and report neglect, or changes that only loved ones can spot. We know people died because of the way governments responded to the pandemic — but some of these people, or even more, would have died even if there were no lockdowns. If the virus ran free in the population, more high risk people would have been afraid to visit the local ER.
For every motorcyclist who was listed as a Covid death — and shouldn’t have been — there might have been ten heart attacks or strokes in people who didn’t realize they had Covid. Ambulance officers reported turning up to homes to find people sitting up with blood oxygen saturation levels we thought were impossible — a classic sign of covid-19.
We need to know excess deaths for the next ten years
Has Covid lowered life expectancy in a measurable way? Anyone who claims to know the definitive answer at this stage is making stuff up.
All death statistics now are subject to change. Three quarters of mild to moderate Covid cases showed signs of heart damage. How do we know if a heart attack victim who wasn’t tested for Covid had an infection that ultimately caused their death? We don’t.
Only changes to excess deaths in coming years will reveal how many effective years Covid has stolen from people. We’ll never know on an individual basis, but only on a population-wide basis as we plot ongoing changes in deaths due to many conditions. Will there be a drop in stroke deaths next year because people at high risk of strokes died a year too soon? Has Covid fished out the high risk people from 100% or only from 20% of the population?
After the pandemic has long gone, PhD’s will be made by studying graphs of excess mortality from various conditions in various towns. Will there by a dip in mortality figures “after the virus” — a classic sign that the virus took only a short time off the tally, or will the spike stand above the norms, marking deaths of people who died too young? Will there be fewer stroke victims in 2021 because they died in 2020, or will strokes continue at much the same rate?
The Cause of Death is not singular or obvious
Death is a complex event with a chain of dependent variables, which all contribute to the outcome. The true cause of death is often impossible to know without a full autopsy, and sometimes even with one.
To understand how complicated this is, read the 8 page coroner’s report on Patricia Dowd, possibly the first Covid death in the US. She was 57, with no known cardiac risk factors, but was overweight. To accurately figure out what caused her death took hours of work by someone with years of medical training, plus many blood tests, a long write up, and a cost of $3,000 to $5,000.
Her cause of death is listed — somewhat ambiguously, and in desperate need of punctuation — as:
“Acute Hemopericardium due to Rupture of Left Ventricle due to transmural myocardial ischemia (Infarction) with a minor component of myocarditis due to Covid-19 infection.” Feb 10th 2020
SARS-Cov2 RNA was detected in Dowd’s heart, trachea, lung, and intestine. She had no coronary atherosclerosis or thombosis. She complained of a “flu like illness” in the days leading up to her death. But, since she was foolish enough to have one comorbidity (excess weight and a BMI of 31, possibly by following the recommended low fat diet), she would later be described by some as “died with covid” not “died from covid”. So even though her heart was officially described as “rupturing”, which was broadcast in many sensational headlines, some people appear to be saying it is just a coincidence that she died at the same time as she had a Covid diagnosis. Seriously?
Even car accidents can be caused by Covid
It sounds ridiculous. But it’s even possible that people who died of road trauma might not have if they weren’t infected. How many? Who knows. We’ll have to wait for those excess death studies, and even then we won’t know for sure. I make the point only to show how complicated the cause of death can be.
Imagine someone with early stage Covid, untested and unaware that they were sick. Rapidly sinking into fatigue, they they make a stupid driving error that they wouldn’t have made if they weren’t infected. This sort of thing often happens, even just with the spring daylight savings transition.
The evidence shows about a six percent increase in the risk of fatal traffic accidents in the week after the time change each spring. In other words, more than 28 fatal accidents could be prevented yearly in the U.S. if the DST transition were abolished. The effect is especially pronounced in the morning hours and in locations further west within a time zone.
Since it was first introduced, the spring transition to DST has been linked to a variety of problems, including increased risk of heart attack, workplace accidents, and suicides. There had been evidence suggesting an increased risk of car accidents, too. (Fritz et al, 2020)*
The cause of a driving death is often a judgement mistake, and we know Covid infections cause cognitive deficits, loss of attention, dizziness, and fatigue. In other words, a true post mortem would take a PhD thesis length analysis of their past driving record, level of illness, type of mistake, sleep patterns, etc. etc. ad infinitum — and we probably still couldn’t say for sure whether they would be alive today if they hadn’t had Covid.
What looks like, smells like and acts like a deadly pandemic?
A wave of excess deaths is traveling around the world. The places with the highest peaks in excess deaths also happen to have the largest positive tests to coronavirus RNA. Coincidence? They also have the highest rates of healthcare worker morbidity and mortality.
Twelve days after quarantine restrictions start or significantly increase in severity, the rate of new infections drops off to a lower rate of exponential growth. People change their behavior in reaction to this new threat as they learn more about it, which is constantly changing all our statistics. It’s highly dynamic situation.
Covid is known to cause major blood clotting which damages organs. It has caused strokes, heart attacks, heart damage, low oxygen levels, and kidney damage, even in mild to moderate cases. There is still much we don’t know about it. Covid probably came out of a Chinese biowarfare lab. Is there something they know about it that we don’t yet? Is it significant that the Chinese put on the most strenuous quarantine measures to date, stricter than any other country? Or is that just another coincidence?
Ominously, there are now four known cases of reinfection only months after the original infection.
* * *
It’s a hot contentious topic. Sorry if it’s not what some what to hear, but thanks greatly to those who stuck with this and read this far. Kudos to skeptics who maintain civility and accurate language even when they passionately disagree. Civil debate is what makes skeptics great.
Current Biology, Fritz et al.: “A Chronobiological Evaluation of the Acute Effects of Daylight Saving Time on Traffic Accident Risk” www.cell.com/current-biology/f … 0960-9822(19)31678-1 , DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.12.045
* Fritz et al say that there were no lives saved in the fall, though this seems rather odd: “there were no effects of the fall-back transition to Standard Time (ST) on MVA risk“.