People die. So why aren’t we hearing more about it? During the pandemic, it was impossible to escape the daily death toll, which recorded the number of people who had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid. It was relentless.
Well, the death toll is on the rise again. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the number of registered deaths over the past 10 weeks was 12 percent higher than expected, based on the average for previous years.
Just to be clear, these mysterious excess deaths are not caused by Covid, which currently accounts for around 4 per cent of deaths. So what’s up then? We do not know it.
Right. So here we have a situation where people are dying in significant numbers for months, well above average. And nobody can explain why this happens.
Where’s the massive public health outcry? Where are the widespread calls for urgent answers?
Nowhere. We went from panic of maximum mortality to thumb-twiddling indolence in a matter of months.
Why? Don’t these lives matter? Do you have to be a Covid victim to count?
A small number of scientists – notably Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr. Tom Jefferson of Oxford University – have called for an investigation into the ongoing rise in unexplained deaths.
Several possible explanations have been suggested.
dr Jefferson said that “there appears to be an increase in cardiovascular events and diabetes, consistent with a more sedentary lifestyle being caused by the pandemic restrictions.”
He added that “increased alcohol and food consumption, lack of exercise, stress and lack of treatment can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Then you call the ambulance and they don’t come.”
But as both scientists admit, “without access to the raw data in the certificates, the medical records and, in some cases, the coroner’s reports, we cannot provide an answer.”
Michael Simmons, a data analyst at Spectator magazine, has pointed out that most excess deaths occur in homes, a pattern likely being driven by people avoiding hospitals.
“Since the start of the year there have been 6,000 fewer deaths than we would expect in hospitals and care homes, but over 17,000 more in people’s homes in England and Wales alone,” he wrote.
Things are going badly in Scotland too. Mr Simmons reported that the excess death rate among Scots was 28 per 100,000 people by the end of July.
That’s 6 per cent more than in the south-west of England, the next worst affected area.
So what about excess deaths in Northern Ireland? Are we miraculously escaping this alarming trend?
Last month, DUP MLA Paul Frew wrote to Health Secretary Robin Swann, noting the worrying rise in mortality in England and Wales, well above the five-year average, according to ONS figures. Was an investigation warranted in NI?
Mr Swann replied that according to the Statistics and Research Agency of Northern Ireland (NISRA), between 4 March 2022 and 1 July 2022 there had been a 4.5 per cent increase in deaths compared to the five-year average of deaths recorded for the same period.
“This is a significantly smaller increase than that reported in England and Wales,” wrote Mr Swann.
Good news. Or is it?
As local data analysts have pointed out, ONS and NISRA calculate average deaths in different ways.
In its method, the ONS effectively left 2020 out of the calculation because the high number of deaths that year of the pandemic would skew the overall five-year average.
But in Northern Ireland, NISRA used a five-year average from 2017 to 2021, which included 2020, the “abnormal” pandemic year.
So it is obvious that the two methods cannot go together.
Calculated using the ONS method, the number of registered deaths in Northern Ireland has even increased by 8.85 percent compared to the average.
That’s nearly double Mr Swann’s figure of 4.5 percent.
So what is the real picture? Where are we now? After all, these figures refer to the period between March and July. We are currently at the end of August.
When unexpected large numbers of Northern Irish die, the public needs to be told who, when, where – and why.
https://www.independent.ie/news/what-are-nis-excess-non-covid-death-figures-telling-us-41938454.html What do NI’s Surplus Non-Covid Death Numbers Tell Us?