Tuesday, July 21, 2020

COVID-19 Statistics - Manipulating the Data to Suit the Narrative

As the COVID-19 pandemic winds on, seemingly with no end in sight, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the statistics used by governments to manipulate public opinion and justify the massive changes to society that we have experienced since March 2020 are becoming harder and harder to believe.  A recent posting on the website of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) provides us with clear proof that one of the nations with the greatest death toll from the SARS-CoV-2 virus is, to put it mildly, "data challenged".


An article entitled "Why no-one can ever recover from COVID-19 in England - a statistical anomaly" by Yoon K. Loke and Carl Heneghan opens by noting that people in England have become increasingly concerned as they see the daily rate of COVID-associated cases and deaths as released by Public Health England (PHE).  Here is a graphic showing the daily number of lab-confirmed COVID cases in England by date:


Here is a graphic showing the daily number of COVID-associated deaths in England for June and July 2020:



As you can see, there are still a significant number of COVID-associated hospital deaths on a daily basis but the situation looks far more dire when "all settings deaths"(i.e. COVID-19 deaths that do not take place in hospitals.  You may ask, why are there so many people in England dying of COVID-19 infections outside of hospitals?  The authors have covered that issue.


Public Health England's COVID death data is a standout compared to its neighbours in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  This is because PHE compiles its "out of hospital" deaths in a different manner than the other parts of the United Kingdom.  PHE regularly searches the National Health Service database who have ever tested positive for COVID-19 and checks to see if they are still alive or if they have died.  PHE does not consider how long ago the person tested positive for COVID-19 or whether the person was successfully treated for COVID-19 in hospital and then discharged once the treatment was complete.  Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 but subsequently died at a later date of any cause will be included in England's COVID death data.  In the case of both Scotland and Northern Ireland, a 28-day cut-off is used; if the person tested positive for COVID-19 more than 28 days previously, COVID is not used as a cause of death.

Here is akey quote from the article:


"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."


This is why you see such variation in the daily COVID-19 deaths for England and why "out of hospital" death statistics remains so high as shown in the above graphic (red bars).


As background, here is a graphic from PHE showing the number of excessive deaths in England since March with the number of COVID-19 deaths (where COVID-19 is mentioned on the death certificate) highlighted in yellow:



Here is a graphic showing the cumulative number of excessive deaths in England, again showing the COVID-19 deaths in yellow:



As you can see, if, in fact, PHE is exaggerating the number of COVID-19 deaths in England by using the "never allowed to recover from COVID" philosophy, that would substantially push up the number of excessive deaths due to COVID-19 when it is not factual.


PHE data shows that more than 125,000 patients have been admitted to Englands hospitals for COVID, treated successfully and most being discharged after treatment, leaving less than 1900 patients still in hospital.  So far, there have been roughly 80,000 recovered COVID-19 patients in the community who will continue to be monitored and added to the COVID-19 death statistics even though they are during of other illnesses and other causes.


In case you happen to think that this is just more of the COVID-19 conspiracy theories at work, the United Kingdom government has finally admitted that its COVID statistics are inaccurate.  Here is a quote from Dr. Susan Hopkins, the Incident Director at Public Health England once this issue was raised:


"Although it may seem straightforward, there is no [World Health Organisation]-agreed method of counting deaths from Covid-19. In England, we count all those that have died who had a positive Covid-19 test at any point, to ensure our data is as complete as possible.


We must remember that this is a new and emerging infection and there is increasing evidence of long-term health problems for some of those affected. Whilst this knowledge is growing, now is the right time to review how deaths are calculated.”

I guess getting hit by a bus could be considered a "long-term health problem" related to COVID if you want it to be the case badly enough.  (sarcasm intended)


Let's close with this example.  Just in case my American readers think that this misreporting of COVID-19 deaths is only a problem in the United Kingdom, here is a recent example from Florida:



That's correct, until FOX 35 News raised the issue, a person who died in a motorcycle accident was included as a COVID-19 death.  The Orange County Health Officer, Raul Pino, had this to say when asked if the man's data was removed:


"I don’t think so. I have to double-check.  We were arguing, discussing, or trying to argue with the state. Not because of the numbers -- it’s 100…it doesn’t make any difference if it's 99 -- but the fact that the individual didn’t die from COVID-19…died in the crash. But you could actually argue that it could have been the COVID-19 that caused him to crash. I don’t know the conclusion of that one."


Manipulating the data to benefit the narrative; a government pastime brought to you by the COVID-19 pandemic.


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