It’s the way they tell ’em

The ongoing public manipulation over COVID-19->∞ goes on unabated. Depending what news article you happen to click on, you can find a different minister or SAGE member assuring us that all restrictions will go on the delayed Freedom Day in a fortnight’s time, or else that “freedom” will mean more or less the same as now only without the Furlough Scheme. And all points in between. Reports of lucrative new Test and Trace contracts for 2022 rather contradict the “free at last” narrative, as does today’s BMA announcement that:

“…keeping some protective measures in place is ‘crucial’ to stop spiralling case numbers having a ‘devastating impact’ on people’s health.”

I was going to mention today’s new variant that “may” be far more virulent and evade the vaccines – just like every other bloody variant so far – but the story I read seems to have slipped off the front page. Even the tabloids can’t generate interest for long by telling the same old scare story with a new Greek label.

{Edit: it was the Lambda variant (yawn) – though it’s from Peru, which is even more exotic than India or Nepal so may have some mileage in it, especially if it’s found to spread through exchanging marmalade sandwiches.}

As I have said before, there can be no doubt now that the shilly-shallying is the game, because drip feeding hints of more draconian restrictions will make the ongoing impositions actually announced on 19th seem a bit less totalitarian, and also appear to provide welcome certainty. “What a relief – they are going to hang me today!” After all, the trends in basic ONS statistics have been clear for weeks – long before the June 21st date was overturned by SAGE’s deceptive and already outdated modelling.

It is now very easy for the Government to know exactly what will be happening in just two weeks time from the data, so they could announce their plans now, in full detail, if they wanted to. That would allow businesses and families to prepare. But “forewarned is forearmed,” and a disarmed population is easier to control. We have no Second Amendment here.

What will be happening in the figures is easy to tell from today’s summary page of the ONS stats, thus:

Even these crude figures give the lie to the BMA’s fearmongering: almost nobody is going into hospital, and the death rate is down at the false positive rate for any kind of testing. There is no “devastating impact” in sight, but only a welcome chance for greater natural herd immunity if the harmless infections amongst the young were only real. There is even less going on when you consider the fact that the increased testing rates shown, in combination with surge testing in geographical hot-spots, account for much of the rise in “cases.” But our media prove that even such a non-story can be turned to a disaster in the telling. They have 16 months of practice, and plentiful guidance from SPI-B.

On the question of hospital admissions, bear in mind that the definition of a “COVID admission” is “any admission with a positive test in hospital or within the last 14 days.” Careful analysis of the stats by John Dee has shown that a majority of these admissions are people who test positive whilst in hospital for something else. Many of the rest happen to test positive on admission for, say, childbirth, or routine renal dialysis (and the latter are recounted every time they go in thereafter!). With no direct connection between the admission and the disease, increased testing will inevitably increase “COVID admissions” to a proportional degree. We have no way of knowing how many are actually admitted with the disease COVID-19 from the figures easily available.

For non-British readers, I will add that even these largely spurious case-numbers are only a tiny fraction of the disruption being caused by asymptomatic testing, which pre-COVID pandemic guidelines universally dismissed as useless for pandemics in general, and for PCR tests specifically.

Around 250,000 perfectly well school children, including my son’s eight-year-old, are quarantined at present because some other healthy child tested positive using the unreliable Innova kits banned in America, sometimes testing lemon juice, which work-averse kids have found triggers positive tests. Each of the younger quarantined children needs to have a parent at home, such as our plumber who can’t work and therefore can’t earn any money this week.

All adult contacts of asymptomatic positive testers must self-isolate for ten days – so it is projected that 2 million people will soon be off work at a time, although of course many will ignore it. We all know a few. On the radio people are talking about ignoring the Test and Trace app when they are “pinged” – their real idiocy lies in downloading the thing in the first place. Or if they are parents, their greatest folly is in subjecting their children to invasive tests rather than binning the kits. Note that since the app is not compulsory, those who don’t sign in when they visit the pub could happily spread the infection whilst the healthy who did scan-in are needlessly confined to home for ten days. Fortunately, asymptomatic spread is largely mythical, so the collateral damage is at least nothing to do with falling sick, but just losing in an electronic lottery.

To put all these things in context, many people in Britain still know nobody who has even suffered from the worst pandemic in a century. Our church has been handicapping its ministry for sixteen months by intrusive defences against the fabled pre-symptomatic spread, and yet to my knowledge as an elder only one member has had the disease anyway, and he caught it off a sick guy at work and so stayed home. We can know in retrospect that every single registration, hand-wash, mask, singing-ban and seating restriction since last March has achieved absolutely nothing, because there was nothing to achieve, and nobody to be protected from.

But the most impressive indicator of the exaggeration of the problem came to me from a Freedom of Information request I came across today. Birmingham is Britain’s second largest city, with 1.2 million densely-packed inhabitants, many from vulnerable minorities. Back in January 2021, the number of COVID deaths in hospitals in Birmingham and surrounding areas was published as 3,642. A majority of those would have been in Birmingham hospitals.

But as we know, the ONS definition of a COVID death is any death within 28 days of a positive test (and in earlier months that was six weeks). The FOI questioner therefore specifically asked the Birmingham Healthcare Trust for the significant numbers behind these figures, that is the number who have died (a) with the actual disease of COVID as well as any underlying conditions, and (b) the number who died of COVID alone. The period for which he requested figures was from February 2020 to April 2021, that is for the whole pandemic up to the time of his request. The information was to hand, and freely given (without redactions!).

The results are astonishing: the total number of people who have died in Birmingham hospitals with COVID-19 is just 79. The number who have died of COVID is … 2.

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
This entry was posted in Medicine, Politics and sociology, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to It’s the way they tell ’em

  1. Peter Hickman says:

    Jon,

    A quick Google revealed that Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust hospitals serve a population of over 5.7 million and treat 2.2 million people each year. But only 81 ‘COVID’ deaths in total, presumably with a positive PCR test (whatever that means), and only 2 of them not complicated or caused by concomitant diseases.
    As you say. astonishing.

    Perhaps it would help inform the ‘forthcoming’ (?) Public Inquiry if FOI requests were issued to all major NHS hospital trusts.

  2. Jon Garvey says:

    Perhaps it would help inform the ‘forthcoming’ (?) Public Inquiry if FOI requests were issued to all major NHS hospital trusts.

    That thought occurred to me as well! One problem with that is that closing down the entire economy for 18 months whilst abusing science, controlling the population with propaganda, destroying human rights, neglecting health provision, etc, etc, etc, etc makes the Gulf War fiasco look like a storm in a teacup. But look how long it took for the Chilcot Enquiry to reach any conclusions, only then to disappear down the memory hole.

    Almost as interesting would be to know the meaning of that 3,642 figure. Presumably it suggests a massive number of evidently coincidental deaths also tested falsely positive for COVID. If that’s the case, the pattern will be repeated across all trusts as it will be the result of national policies and definitions more than individual Trusts’ practices. Two or three FOI requests would make the point sufficiently for a Scoop health scandal story, if anyone in the media has escaped being bought up.

    That seems unlikely – did you see that Robert Malone, inventor of the mRNA technology, has now been cancelled by Linked In? It’s hard to think of an institution that hasn’t sold out hook line and sinker to propaganda.

  3. Peter Hickman says:

    I’ve identified a potential problem with the Birmingham deaths analysis.
    The FOI was for the Community Trust and this does not, I think, include the figures for the University Hospitals Trust, which comprises five hospitals.
    This may account for the Birmingham Mail reporting much higher deaths, “2,578 coronavirus-related fatalities” from March 2020 to March 2021.
    https://tinyurl.com/abcwsxf4

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