Many people are waking up to the fact that the Covid-19 “pandemic” is not turning out as billed. When we finally emerge from it, the big question will be how many people have died from the virus. Here’s the most likely outcome.
You can bet that the institutions of international government, and the “experts” advising them, will try to massage and cherry-pick statistics to present the version of events that most closely matches their worst-case scenarios. The fact is, according to their early predictions, we are already long overdue millions of Covid-19 deaths that have failed to materialise.
But even when Covid-19 deaths are recorded, we have seen how it could be that people are dying with coronavirus rather than dying of it. This concept is easy enough to understand, and it encourages one to take a closer look at the breakdown of deaths across an entire society. The more you follow this rabbit hole down, the more interesting the numbers become. It may be somewhat morbid, but it is nonetheless very important.
The most popular twoarticles on the website of The Spectator over the weekend were by Dr John Lee, a recently retired NHS consultant and professor of pathology. He remarks that ‘’we have yet to see any statistical evidence for excess deaths, in any part of the world’’.
To check this out, I looked at the British government’s own statistics on total deaths registered weekly across the UK. It shows that in the week ending on the 8th of March 2019, 10,898 people died in total in the UK. This year, in the week ending the 6th of March 2020, the equivalent figure was almost identical: 10,895.
Make of that what you will. Statistics are currently available up to March 20, and while there is a lag between the spread of the virus and the resulting deaths, so far only about 1 percent of all mortalities bear any relation to coronavirus, and there is no visible spike. If nothing else, it helps to view the extent of the crisis in proportion – thousands of people die each week, and from the long-term view what we are seeing is not a plague, but a blip.
So when all is said and done, will any additional people die of the coronavirus? And what is meant by extra or additional?
Risk of dying
Understanding this requires a bit of lateral thinking, but it helps to remember that everyone on Earth has a terminal disease: being alive. We all have to go sometime.
Recording exactly how and when we do is a big part of the job of statistician Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter. In a recent blog post, he outlined the concept of background risk. This is obtained by recording all of the people dying in any given year, at any given age. At its most simple, this is the percentage chance a person has of not reaching their next birthday, based solely on their age. Of course, that is not to say that if you are a 40-year-old man you have precisely a 0.2% chance of dying this year – the data are based on averages, and do not apply to individuals.
But nonetheless, across a country or given populations, the averages will be right, and it is possible to predict with great accuracy how many people will die in a given year. In the UK, for example, 600,000 people die annually. But wait a minute! A novel, brand-spanking new coronavirus is terrorising us all. Therefore surely we can expect more people to die this year than would in a normal year? And come year’s end we should be able, with simple arithmetic, to count exactly how many more there were.