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UK Covid deaths with no underlying factor.

Written By: - Date published: 10:51 am, January 22nd, 2022 - 106 comments
Categories: covid-19, health, Propaganda, quality of life - Tags: , ,

Keeping it short. Here are the links to the Official Information Request responses from the the UK’s Office of National Statistics.

Please can you advise on deaths purely from covid with no other underlying causes.

From the above link. Please see below for death registrations for 2020 and 2021 (provisional) that were due to COVID-19 and were recorded without any pre-existing conditions, England and Wales. (emphasis added)

17 371 deaths with the average age being between 82 and 83 years old.

&

And a January 17th release covering 1st February 2020 through to 31st December 2021 .

We have provided analysis on COVID-19 as the only cause of death by age and sex in England and Wales for your requested time period. 

If you want a walk through of the first release (from December of last year)…

106 comments on “UK Covid deaths with no underlying factor. ”

  1. Anker 1
    • Just wondering how many of the people who died, died of pneumonia and that was listed as their cause of death, but that it was covid that lead to pneumonia?

    these stats look nothing like the numbers coming out of the UK

  2. This is a pretty pointless exercise. What is it trying to prove……possibly to minmise that getting Covid can make you so ill you die and then I guess you are well on the way to saying that Covid is just a figment of people's imaginations. Also if you accept that some people die 'well it is only the older ones and they don't matter so much' even if they were pretty healthy at the time.

    Anyway so we have these figures. For the rest it is highly probably/possible that even with co-morbidities these people would have had a longer life and having been affected with Covid cut their lives short.

    So what is the point, the argument?

    Also though I like John Campbell and have been an avid watcher, on this occasion he seems to have had a bit of a mash-up of figures for age etc. For instance he says the figures are for 2021 when the figures are for 2021 to the end of the third quarter ie 30/9/21. Not sure about the UK and whether this allows for the full counting of Delta figures. So Covid only deaths were in the older age group.

    What about the younger folk whose co-morbidities were under control and who had a long life to look forward to even with the co-morbidities they do not figure or a disregarded, how convenient, when you just focus on solely Covid deaths.

  3. barry 3

    I have been following John Campbell for some time. His youtube channel is a useful source of information. Unfortunately his filter is a bit off sometimes. For example he is pushing the benefits of vitamin-D supplements and Ivermectin, which don't have strong evidence as a treatment or preventative for Covid-19. He does include caveats, but makes it clear what he thinks.

    He compares the official count and the excess deaths (which are comparable) to the number from the OIA response (which is much smaller). However we don't have any estimate of the prevalence of the sort of contributory factor that would be included in the wider figure and excluded from the OIA figure. Anything like asthma, obesity, diabetes, heart conditions, dementia, cancer, smoking, mental health problems might be included.

    Something like 10% of the population will have asthma. About 10% diabetes. 14% of over 80s will have dementia. 35% of men over 80 have CHD. It is almost amazing they found any without pre-existing conditions.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.1

      I notice that the opinions of people who make regular YouTube videos are given huge coverage, weight and prominence, in my opinion often out of all proportion with their actual knowledge in the technical field.

      Actual researchers and experts working in relevant fields often don't spend heaps of time making popular videos. They do author highly technical papers, present at conferences and give advice to health authorities etc, i would emphasise listening to those people.

      The best of the youtube crowd are doing balanced science communication, but many are after ad revenue and push their private amateur perspectives.

      • gsays 3.1.1

        Not a lot to disagree with there, missed out the bit where the experts and researches are funded too.

        The 'funders' need to have their interests represented.

        In the case of Campbell, I fail to see where money is his prime motivation.

        • Incognito 3.1.1.1

          But importantly there has also been an evolving rationale for why governments support R&D. Beyond economic, and defence and public safety imperatives, there is a growing public expectation that governments will promote research in public health, in environmental matters and that policy development itself, especially in social and environmental matters, will be supported by robust research and data. Governments also need to support research that is broadly defensive by addressing risks and promoting resilience, whether it be to address a potential animal or human pandemic or dealing with natural hazards.

          https://informedfutures.org/why-do-governments-support-research-2/ [21 October 2015]

    • RedLogix 3.2

      For example he is pushing the benefits of vitamin-D supplements and Ivermectin, which don't have strong evidence as a treatment or preventative for Covid-19.

      Well in each case he presents references and sources to back his case.

      Also it is worth being a lot more skeptical about what <strong evidence> really means.

      • barry 3.2.1

        Yes, but he ignores (or downplays) the evidence against, and doesn't come back and address the studies that are later invalidated. I am sure he tries to be objective, but (like all of us) he is prone to confirmation bias.

        He gives a good summary of the statistics from around the world, but is a little prone to over interpreting the numbers sometimes. there are wild inconsistencies in how the data are collected even in the UK.

        I think he is a bit too certain that Omicron is a good thing. It is alright to posit that it might replace all other variants and end the pandemic. Up until now expecting the worst has been a good strategy.

        But still he is telling people to get vaccinated and recognises the value of wearing masks and isolating when ill.

  4. lprent 4

    Very few deaths from infectious diseases are single cause. Most people have underlying conditions that make an infection on top of it fatal. Being older being the obvious other cause, but also previous infections, diabetes, smoking, alcohol, weight, previous heart disease, being sedentary because of injury or birth defects, cancer etc etc.

    You could go off and do some really stupid queries using the same criteria. For since looking for a cause of death from renal failure. Very few people actually die from their cancer. They die from the effects of a cancer, like renal failure. But their death certificates show cancer as the cause – not renal failure.

    People don't die from bullet wounds – they actually most die from blood loss or shock.

    The query simply doesn't make any sense. It just reads like a fool straining for a technical answer to confirm a bias.

    Basically the cause of death is fraught in every country because it is a judgement call by medical staff or coroners.

    The best measure and probably the only realistic measure is the rate of excess mortality of populations during a pandemic compared to previous pre-pandemic periods. Especially when you look at the highest other predictor of deaths – age groups. Or against other recent epidemics.

    The Economist has a recent page on it. I particularly liked this chart for explaining just how different covid-19 is from influenza outbreaks.

    It also has a excellent set of charts showing the excess mortality against the number of deaths officially attributed to covid-19. Looks like Russia (for instance) has a interesting philosophy on causes of deaths.

    But Britian appears to have developed the same problem recently. I suspect that it is probably a brexit problem. Freed from the constraints of EU required accurate reporting….

    • Bill 4.1

      The point is very simple Lynn, and not the one you're suggesting.

      On the comorbidity deaths beyond those ~17 000, covid would have had an impact on a proportion of them – ie, have been a major factor. On others, covid would have been largely incidental. But even the incidental presence of covid has been been enough to have a death registered as a covid death (WHO guidelines on Covid deaths being followed by NZ).

      Meanwhile, there is a very strong age stratification present on Covid death.

      Not that we'd know any of that from government pronouncements and media coverage. Healthy children and working age people have been injected, and societies shut down to the extent that many people with cancer (for just one example) have missed out on diagnosis and treatment. A proportion of them are now dead.

      'Odd' how those people (ie – the collateral damage from Covid policies) , and the avoidable (some would say "stupid and pointless") impositions that contributed to their deaths, or drastically shortened their lives, simply don't register in this officially sanctioned rush to huddle before Covid, don't you think?

      • McFlock 4.1.1

        So covid has absolutely, stone cold, guaranteed without any equivocation killed at least 17,000 people in the UK in 2 years.

        • Blazer 4.1.1.1

          This doesn't register though…

          ' Hunger claims 25,000 lives every day across the globe. The war against hunger needs to escalate. The United States must lead the international community in this fight.'

          *plenty of sources validate this.

          Who…cares?….don't need a ..vaccine.

        • Bill 4.1.1.2

          No McFlock. ONS reports 17 371 deaths where no pre-existing conditions were present. And I dare say ONS data ought to be subjected to some statistical tweaking – which you would know.

          I'm sick and tired of your bullshit.

          That comment was the very final comment you ever made beneath one of my posts on 'the standard'.

          • lprent 4.1.1.2.1

            Actually, that was almost exactly what McFlock said. Except it should have been —

            So covid has absolutely, stone cold, guaranteed without any equivocation killed at least 17,371 people in the UK in 2 years.

            The difference between 17,000 and 17,371 deaths doesn't appear to be that significiant. What McFlock stated was factually correct. At least 17,000 deaths can be attributed without equivocation directly to covid-19.

            I'm unsure why that was worth a ban.

            • Bill 4.1.1.2.1.1

              I'm unsure why that was worth a ban.

              What ban? I just can't be arsed with his constant "shit posting" beneath and across all posts I submit. He can still 'go for gold' across the rest of the site.

        • Shanreagh 4.1.1.3

          Yes agreed, as a minimum and possibly up to around 138,000 if you go the excess deaths way.

      • RedLogix 4.1.2

        To put this into some sort of context, the UK mortality rate is 9.38 per 1000, which for a population of about 67m gives roughly 630,000 deaths per year. Over the past two years roughly double this at 1.25m.

        What this data tells us is that COVID has been the sole and unequivocal cause of 17,000 deaths or about 1.36% of the total mortality in that period.

        And its reasonable to assume that these would have been otherwise relatively younger and healthy people, so the predominate loss of life years would likely be in this group. So it is not nothing, but equally the always grim cost-benefit tradeoff involved in turning our societies inside out in response, probably invites another look.

        • lprent 4.1.2.1

          But if you look at the sole and unequivocal cause of death for any cause apart from the kind of violence from accidents or straight violence. Then you will probably find that they are all well less than 2% of all deaths.

          That is because contributing factors for death in coroners reports and death reports include such things as obesity, smoking, age, previous medical history, excessive exercise, etc that may or may not have been contributing factors.

          I haven't seen many death reports (about 15-20), but I can't remember one that had a sole cause.

          Unless you can point to an equivalent statistic that says how many causes of non-violent non-accidental death had a sole and unequivocal cause – then this claims is simply just complete propaganda bullshit designed to convince fools.

          There is simply no sole and unequivocal context to say how significiant this particular statistic is.

          Giving stats without comparable context is simply another way of lying.

          In other words, in my view, John Campbell is spinning bullshit. I'd have to ask why?

          Incidentally by way of context – what was the death rate in the UK in 2019?
          https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.CDRT.IN?locations=GB-NZ
          9.0 – you have to go back to 2008 to get a death rate similar to 9.38.

          • RedLogix 4.1.2.1.1

            I agree that most deaths have a number of contributing factors – often related to choices around lifestyle or just bad luck with your genetics. Hell even that gunshot wound could be related to the fact that you chose to be a drug dealer or a soldier.

            But as I suggested below, what were talking about here are pre-existing co-morbidities, serious illnesses such as extreme obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.

            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 2.9 additional conditions or causes per death.

            That is even lower than the roughly 10% of COVID deaths Campbell uses and the date of this CDC report is June 2020, so it needs to be considered in that light. Essentially the people dying from COVID are already ill people.

            Besides the numbers Campbell sources are direct from a UK govt FOIA source and I am not sure why you think they are bullshit. I can understand you disagreeing with how to interpret them, but the simple reality a lot of people do not want to hear is that if you are under 60, and not already seriously ill with a chronic condition, then COVID is not a very dangerous disease.

            And I do understand that each one of us will evaluate COVID depending on their own particular circumstances. I fully appreciate you having strong and legitimate reasons to be concerned, it can be no fun reading the articles are realising that you are in the COVID crosshairs. And I am older than you, so I have no reason to be smug either.

            Yet politics is about the whole of society, and how we weight cost-benefits across all interests and concerns.

            Edit: I used the data value of 9.38 for UK mortality given in the reference I offered. I would guess it represents an average of some period.

      • lprent 4.1.3

        But basically I completely disagree with your basic preposition – covid-19 is a bloody dangerous disease to a population. This is obvious when you look at excess mortality for every country that reports births and deaths. Somehow that sems to have escaped your attention in my comment.

        I can understand that. Explaining what other cause there is for excess mortality seems to have directed you towards avoiding that question and using ridiculous avoidance behaviours…

        Healthy children and working age people have been injected, …

        With their consent of that of their guardian. It isn't like someone came along held then down and shoved a blunt needle in their arm. FFS Bill – that one is straight out of the idiot propagandists playbook – the one that expired in the 1960s.

        For some reason informed choice doesn't matter?

        …societies shut down to the extent that many people with cancer (for just one example) have missed out on diagnosis and treatment. A proportion of them are now dead.

        Sure. But you're making the presumption that without treatment, people getting covid-19 wouldn't have died? If you're arguing that, then I'd suggest that the very statistics you and John Campbell relying on seem to say that is idiotic and unrelated to the facts. Unless you can suggest another cause for those rather large excessive mortality rates.

        BTW: You really don't want to look too closely at medical systems if you think that is an issue. Using limited medical resources to help minimise excessive mortality rates happens all of the time.

        If you're looking at ontological resources for instance, in any well managed medical system scarce resources like machine time or drugs are preferentially given to cancer patients with the highest probability of getting well using them. In badly managed systems they are given to those with the most money or political pull.

        At a emergency level triage has been a long established part of medical practice since I was trained as a army medic, and well before that. It deals with limits on emergency medical resources to maximise the outcomes.

        The way that our (and almost every other countries) pandemic response laws are based is to maximise the greatest good across a whole population for the available medical resources. It is a classic policy triage system designed to maximise the health of whole populations.

        • Bill 4.1.3.1

          But basically I completely disagree with your basic preposition – covid-19 is a bloody dangerous disease to a population.

          It's a dangerous disease for those with comorbities, and very old people – not "the population". Do go and look at the links pertaining to death certificates – if Covid is detected, then the death is recorded as being a Covid death. That inflates the perception of peril. Anker asked (in the top comment) whether a covid + pneumonia fataity could have registered as a pneumonia death on a death certificate. The answer is "no" (if WHO guidelines are being followed). It will always be a Covid death.

          With their consent of that of their guardian. It isn't like someone came along held then down and shoved a blunt needle in their arm. FFS Bill – that one is straight out of the idiot propagandists playbook – the one that expired in the 1960s.

          For some reason informed choice doesn't matter?

          Health measures are about informed consent, which is a very different kettle of fish to 'informed choice'. People have lost mental and emotional well being on top of losing jobs and careers because of this injection choice put before them by government. Medical ethics have hit the bin. Offering kids – who face no discernable risk from contracting Covid – bribes to 'choose' an injection that will do nothing insofar as it's protecting them from something that never posed a risk to them, is entirely fucked up. There was and is no medical basis for insisting that health practitioners and workers in education accede to an injection under pain of losing their right to work. (And now a booster before March or April)

          But you're making the presumption that without treatment, people getting covid-19 wouldn't have died?

          No.

          • Shanreagh 4.1.3.1.1

            Pneumonia is a common follow on from a Covid infection. Once the infection has gone the ruined lungs, kidneys and other organs are left. Getting infections such as ARDs is common. 'Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening lung injury that allows fluid to leak into the lungs. Breathing becomes difficult and oxygen cannot get into the body. Most people who get ARDS are already at the hospital for trauma or illness.'

            Dialysis is often needed for the future. Prior to Covid it was estimated that 23% died within a month of starting dialysis and the prognosis for others is not that brilliant.

          • weka 4.1.3.1.2

            Anker asked (in the top comment) whether a covid + pneumonia fataity could have registered as a pneumonia death on a death certificate. The answer is "no" (if WHO guidelines are being followed). It will always be a Covid death.

            Last time I saw this come up, we looked at death certificates, and they clearly showed multiple causes. Are you conflating death certificates with how the WHO report on case numbers?

        • swordfish 4.1.3.2

          .

          in any well managed medical system scarce resources like machine time or drugs are preferentially given to cancer patients with the highest probability of getting well using them. In badly managed systems they are given to those with the most money or political pull.

          This is only tangentially related [not quite about "getting well" exactly] … but there's a slight whiff of the latter in this Country … For terminal Colorectal Cancer patients, for instance, targeted therapies that will potentially double or sometimes triple remaining life-span are not publicly funded … that's in stark contrast to other Anglosphere nations like the UK & Oz … so here only the affluent can afford the 60-80k per year price tag … with crowdfunding, as welcome as it is, very unlikely to raise anywhere enough funds to reach that sort of target.

          Not to mention – at the other end of the spectrum – the woeful history here of bowel cancer screening programmes … initially severely geographically limited to a lucky few … now increasingly nationwide but limited only to the over 60s.

          Once again, a clear highly negative contrast with other Anglosphere Countries.

        • Shanreagh 4.1.3.3

          At a emergency level triage has been a long established part of medical practice since I was trained as a army medic, and well before that. It deals with limits on emergency medical resources to maximise the outcomes.

          Lprent this is why I feel the information about Crisis Standards of Care in some US hospitals is concerning. Some state hospitals have had to invoke them with Omicron just as they did with Delta. This spells out starkly that triage of some sort is expected.

          Last time it happen some US hospitals placed automatic Do Not Resuscitate notices (DNRs) on all of those coming into the hospital and invoked it for those who were ventilated and who then suffered a cardiac arrest.

    • RedLogix 4.2

      People don't die from bullet wounds – they actually most die from blood loss or shock.

      I think you have that argument back the front. Yes it would be stupid to list the cause of death as blood loss, when the direct cause of that blood loss was a bullet wound.

      But I recall reading US data showing that the vast majority of their COVD deaths had on average four pre-existing co-morbidities, such as obesity, diabetes and heart diseases, etc. COVID does not cause these conditions, it exploits them to bring about death sooner than might have otherwise been the case. Essentially these are people who are already ill, and have minimal ability to deal with yet another assault on their system.

      • lprent 4.2.1

        Oh I agree, however in the event of someone bleeding out from a bullet wound – then both will be listed as a causes of death. That is because either could have been fatal. There would probably be no way to tell even from an autopsy.

        You also wouldn't have a unequivocal cause of death on the death register.

        The problem with things like diabetes, heart problems, obsesity and covid is that they will often also be listed as a contributing cause of death. If they didn’t have them, in the opinion of the physician, they would have probably survived having covid-19.

        Which is why I think that this sole cause thing is crap. All it says is that someone who gets covid and dies from it didn’t have anything else wrong with then that could have obviously contributed to the death. That there was nothing else the attending physician could have done to increase the probability of survival.

        With most patients with an infectious disease, the probability of survival goes up markedly if they donr’ have a comorbidity

      • tsmithfield 4.2.2

        That is true. The issue with people in this state is that often any disease such as a cold or flu etc will overwhelm people in this state and result in their death, not just Covid. So, if they hadn't caught Covid, they may well have caught something else the next day that lead to the same result.

        My wife's mother was elderly and very ill. She ended up dying of a urinary tract infection because her immune system was too weak to fight it.

    • Tricledrown 4.3

      Lprent very good information.

      Funny how island Nations have had negative excess death rates during covid.

      While most other Nations have had high excess death rates directly corresponding to their covid outbreaks and peaks.

      Thanks Lprent for putting up good facts and reason.

  5. People don't die from bullet wounds – they actually most die from blood loss or shock.

    The query simply doesn't make any sense. It just reads like a fool straining for a technical answer to confirm a bias.

    I love the quotes Lprent.

    This concern about deaths and how death notices are completed has been part & parcel of the 'let's minmise the effects of Covid' crowd since an elderly lady (in Auckland I think) died from Covid and had pre- existing comorbidities.

    Here is an extract about completing NZ death certificates from MOH dated 21 November 2021.

    Our certs have a provision for a direct cause and antecedent causes.

    https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/burial-and-cremation-act-1964/completing-death-documents/medical-certificate-cause-death/completing-medical-certificate-cause-death-form

    • Bill 5.1

      Our certs have a provision for a direct cause and antecedent causes

      Yes. And here is the parent link for reporting in NZ on where Covid is present (go through this link provided and you'll find – (emphasis added)

      The new coronavirus strain (COVID-19) should be recorded on the medical cause of death certificate for ALL decedents where the disease caused, or is assumed to have caused, or contributed to death.

      &

      Due to the public health importance of COVID-19, the immediate recommendation is to record COVID-19 in Part I of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

      • Shanreagh 5.1.1

        Makes sense. If you have lots of comorbidities but are brought to deaths door not by a comorbidity but by Covid then what is the problem of recording it as such?

        Many have comorbidities that are in balance and people go out and about living happy lives and would have done for as long as the drugs and their own innate constitutions allowed them.

        From memory the way of recording deaths from Covid, the pandemic, has been standardised across the world so the metes and bounds of Covid can be tracked

        • lprent 5.1.1.1

          Pretty much my point.

          If they have covid-19 it is a comorbidity, and likely to be one of the many possible causes of eventual death. If they had influenza or even a head cold – the same applies.

          • Bill 5.1.1.1.1

            Part one of the certificate is of an elevated importance compared to part two. Part two would be read as contributory factors or possible contributory factors, and part one as the main cause or only cause of death.

            The result is to inflate the numbers of death attributed to Covid.

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I'm going to hazard a guess that those death certificates predate covid, and were designed with something else in mind other than misleading humanity on how many covid deaths there are.

              • Bill

                Results can be by either accident or design.

                But I'd hazard a guess that your hazarded guessing is accurate.

      • weka 5.1.2

        Our certs have a provision for a direct cause and antecedent causes

        Yes. And here is the parent link for reporting in NZ on where Covid is present (go through this link provided and you'll find – (emphasis added)

        The new coronavirus strain (COVID-19) should be recorded on the medical cause of death certificate for ALL decedents where the disease caused, or is assumed to have caused, or contributed to death.

        &

        Due to the public health importance of COVID-19, the immediate recommendation is to record COVID-19 in Part I of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

        It doesn't say to record only covid-19 though. What it actually says,

        Due to the public health importance of COVID-19, the immediate recommendation is to record COVID-19 in Part I of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

        Specification of the causal pathway leading to death in Part I of the certificate is important and all conditions and symptoms should be included. For example, in cases when COVID-19 causes pneumonia and fatal respiratory distress, both pneumonia and respiratory distress should be included along with COVID-19 in Part I alongside the duration of each disease and symptom. Certifiers should include as much detail as possible based on their knowledge of the case, medical records, laboratory testing, etc.

        https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/1205.0.55.001?OpenDocument

        • weka 5.1.2.1

          eg

          that’s multiple causes.

          • Bill 5.1.2.1.1

            And cancer, along with any other co-morbidity like diabetes or whatever other deadly ailment you care to mention, and no matter its stage of progress, would have been placed in part 2, because, as per instructions – Due to the public health importance of COVID-19, the immediate recommendation is to record COVID-19 in Part I of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

            • weka 5.1.2.1.1.1

              I don't actually know what you are saying there.

              Are you saying that if someone dies of cancer complications, and they tested positive for covid before their death, but didn't have any active covid infection, that the disease or condition leading to directly to death would be listed as covid-19? ie line A would read covid-19?

              • Bill

                I'm saying that something along those lines won't always be the case, but that sometimes it most certainly will be, because…

                2. DEFINITION FOR DEATHS DUE TO COVID-19
                A death due to COVID-19 is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness, in a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to COVID disease (e.g. trauma). There should be no period of complete recovery from COVID-19 between illness and death.
                A death due to COVID-19 may not be attributed to another disease (e.g. cancer) and should be counted independently of preexisting conditions that are suspected of triggering a severe course of COVID-19

                (page 12 of the WHO doc in the link provides a somewhat parallel example of HIV and Covid)

                By my reading, if cancer (or HIV) can result in pneumonia and death, but Covid is detected, then Covid infection, and not cancer (or HIV), will be listed as the reason for the pneumonia and subsequent death.

                edit. In your example above, the certificate reads as Covid caused pneumonia caused ARDS – ie, covid death, not “multiple causes”.

    • RedLogix 5.2

      This concern about deaths and how death notices are completed has been part & parcel of the 'let's minmise the effects of Covid' crowd since an elderly lady (in Auckland I think) died from Covid and had pre- existing comorbidities.

      Because at some point we have to ask what is the net value of shutting down our societies to essentially extend the lives of predominantly very elderly and frail people by often a matter of days or weeks.

      Arguing that every life is precious is an easy argument. It automatically claims the moral high ground, and plays well to the crowd. And nowadays no politician in the western world wants to be seen making tough decisions, and given the immense amount of money and power swirling around this issue, no doubt a lot of self-interest is in play as well.

      Hence the main game in town has been maximising the risks of COVID, with no end-point contemplated.

      • Shanreagh 5.2.1

        Not just elderly and frail people……I'm not in those categories and I don't see the need or desire for me to catch covid just for kicks so I can keep some till ka-chinging or enable some person to travel overseas or some tourist to come in. We can be excused for thinking of our own at some stage……neo-lib has kept this away all these years with the concentration on globalism etc.

        The way I look at it is that the covid trajectory will end when it ends. Until that time we do our best to keep our people safe. We have widening abilities to get out and about. We have a traffic light system that seems as though it will work better than nationwide lockdowns. (Though these are not off the cards if the situation becomes too dire)

        When it ends hopefully we will have a future that is not BAU to look forward to. If we all spend any spare time thinking about ways to go forward differently then this could be a bonus. Thinking about ways to go forward differently is more valuable than gnashing our teeth about 20:20 hindsight driven thoughts about about what we coulda. shoulda, oughta done.

        Reviews are essential. I have faith that those on the job are learning on the job and our best practice today is far from what we knew 18months or so ago.

      • Shanreagh 5.2.2

        Hence the main game in town has been maximising the risks of COVID, with no end-point contemplated.

        Totally disagree. The main game in town has been our public health response. This has had to work with incomplete info because this is a novel virus and with an abundance of caution.

        I used this analogy before that our public health response is like walking a tightrope not knowing if the other end is tied to a tree. In that case maximising risks is the last thing you do…so you don't decide to do a hand stand or juggle a few plates.

        • RedLogix 5.2.2.1

          This has had to work with incomplete info because this is a novel virus and with an abundance of caution.

          And in 2020 I would have totally agreed with you. I am on record here as fully supporting the NZ govt actions in that period because there was still a great deal we did not know. Caution was entirely justified.

          However we are now two years in and we now know far too damn much about COVID, way more than even the experts can fully digest.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 5.2.2.1.1

            However we are now two years in and we now know far too damn much about COVID, way more than even the experts can fully digest.

            "We now know far too damn much about COVID" is a damn bizarre assertion, imho. With a reported 65 million active cases worldwhile (approacing 1% of the global population, and an order of magnitude more that the 6.7 million active infections you know when), this virus isn't finished with its hosts yet. I hope scientific and medical experts continue to learn more, and apply that knowledge to minimise the impacts of COVID on human health.

            I'd support any new initiative(s) that will hasten this pandemic's end, provided that they're unlikely to cause more deaths than the evolving strategies that have prioritised health and protected Kiwis so well, so far.

            When my rage at the egregious infringements of human rights during this pandemic builds inside, I recall that the purpose of precautionary public health measures is to restrict the freedom of the virus, not its hosts, and the rage ebbs.

      • aj 5.2.3

        And you have a link to a reputable study?

        to essentially extend the lives of predominantly very elderly and frail people by often a matter of days or weeks?

        • RedLogix 5.2.3.1

          No such thing as reputable studies in the age of COVID. devil

          If you care to watch the whole of the Campbell clip he does touch on age data, which if I recall correctly suggests the average age of people dying of COVID are at or around normal life expectancy.

          • mpledger 5.2.3.1.1

            Normal life expectancy is the average for all people including people just born. A person who is still alive at the age of normal life expectancy has quite a few more years to live

            .

            • RedLogix 5.2.3.1.1.1

              True – but what this data tells us is that COVID is absolutely not killing large numbers of people well under the age of life expectancy.

              The point of this whole conversation seems to have been lost. For the UK:

              • At least 17,000 odd have died where COVID is described as the sole cause
              • At most some 180,000 odd have died where COVID can be implicated to some degree.
              • On average around four pre-existing co-morbidities are involved in a death that is recorded as being due to COVID
              • COVID is not shifting life expectancies dramatically

              Essentially we are dealing with a range – a low number that we can be reasonably certain is solely due to COVID, and a much higher number that is a lot fuzzier – with a more variables in play.

              In particular the co-morbidity factor will vary widely, from people who are ill but with many years of good life ahead of them, to those already right at deaths door before COVID knocks on it for them.

              And to be blunt – as a matter of public health policy there is a plain difference between a death close to the end of life and one at the beginning. I know this has become a third rail topic but it remains the truth.

              If you doubt me consider a bomb that is going to fall on a school full of children, OR a rest home full of the very frail elderly. Obviously no-one would wish for either, but if any sane person who had the power of choice over where the bomb would fall would instantly know the correct answer. It is still a disaster either way, but one is different to the other and we all know it.

              Rather than deal with this ambiguity and all the moral controversy that would be provoked (as this very thread is a testament to) – public health authorities have opted for the simple message and headline the largest possible number of COVID deaths, if for no other reason than to cover their butts.

              That this has the side effect of maximising the fear factor in the public mind did not hurt their cause either. I can understand why they did this, but it does make it harder to accurately allocate the costs and benefit to our pandemic response choices.

              • mpledger

                In the USA the life expectancy between 2018 and 2020 dropped by 1.9 years. In a country that pretty much let it rip, it does kill younger people.

  6. Descendant Of Smith 6

    "Meanwhile, there is a very strong age stratification present on Covid death."

    Not sure why you think we don't know that. We do. Just the same as we know that for cancer, and diabetes.

    "that many people with cancer (for just one example) have missed out on diagnosis and treatment. A proportion of them are now dead."

    What proportion? how many? Seems actually that many old people lived a few months longer than would otherwise have been the case. Maybe we should be celebrating the extra life these people and their families were given as well as the lack of rampant COVID-19.

    "Age‐disaggregated data show the surge in deaths from November onwards is concentrated amongst the elderly (Figure 2). Evidently, there is just a short postponement of death, by about four months, from strict containment and closure policies imposed to deal with Covid in 2020."

    https://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10289/14270/NZAE_Poster_postponed_deaths.pdf?sequence=14

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Seems actually that many old people lived a few months longer than would otherwise have been the case. Maybe we should be celebrating the extra life these people and their families were given as well as the lack of rampant COVID-19.

      Did anyone ask the elderly themselves. In many cases they have now endured social isolation in rest homes for almost two years and more than a few would tell you they would sooner die than to be separated from the people they care about, with no end in sight.

      And a hell of a lot would tell you that they have had a good innings and would sooner their grandchildren were free to get on with schooling and their still full lives ahead of them.

      • Shanreagh 6.1.1

        Mmmmmm I am sure you are right, NOT.

        Not all old people live in rest homes.
        What age is old?

      • Descendant Of Smith 6.1.2

        Is that anecdotal, did you just make that up?

        I haven't met one elderly person who thinks like that – and I've met quite a few given my mother is one of them as well as many uncles and aunties and the people they associate with.

        It is interesting talking to them – they have been through this before with polio and rubella and have seen the effects of people brain damaged and dying from those things. This isn't a first for them. All think these are sensible precautions despite the hardship and difficulties in seeing families, etc. They too however are used to not seeing families etc as well – very few of the women drove, many did not have cars and it was not unusual if a brother or sister moved towns – let alone countries they might only see them again once or twice in a lifetime and sometimes never again.

        Phone calls and letters were their usual means of correspondence. Today many have access to the internet and video conferencing and so on. They are in a much more enviable situation than the generation before them.

        My family of course are working class and grew up in poverty so didn't have the means of the well-off. A trip overseas is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Working class sensibilities are likely quite different from that of the middle class. (who knows maybe in a few more generations of climbing out of abject poverty our family descendants will turn into self entitled middle class wankers as well)

        Yeah but I get the rich and privileged who are used to overseas travel and doing whatever the fuck they want are feeling aggrieved. It pretty much been a truism for all pandemics – the well off spread it and while they are enjoying their "freedoms" the poor die.

        Still it is great that wine windows can be used again.

        https://www.cbsnews.com/news/wine-windows-italy-covid-food-alcohol-contactless-plague/

        • RedLogix 6.1.2.1

          Well here is one account of the impact of loneliness COVID has brought to the elderly.

          During two lockdowns in 2020, we explored these questions with 35 Victorians aged 65 and above who were living alone. We used a combination of interviews, surveys and diary-keeping.

          As for the rest of your comment – I am frequently struck at how the left simultaneously bemoans the poverty of working class life, while lionising their mythic social virtues.

          Its a rather weird position to be in – at once demanding that we should solve poverty by lifting people into the middle classes, and then immediately denouncing them as entitled wankers the moment we succeed.

          • Descendant Of Smith 6.1.2.1.1

            Lifting out of poverty does not equal being middle class.

            I have no desire to for instance own a rental property and live off someone else's earnings and am well aware that I could now be very wealthy had I been of a different mindset given the properties I have been offered cheaply over the years.

            "Yeah but I get the rich and privileged who are used to overseas travel and doing whatever the fuck they want are feeling aggrieved."

            That doesn't equate to the whole middle class – it is however a substantial vocal group. The attitude some have like the person who is very well off I have done three jobs for who hasn't paid me for any but is quite happy swanning off to wineries, All Black games, pop concerts and posting these pictures on line but keeps "reminding herself" to pay me. My business father-in-law always said the well-off were the worst payers. He was owed more money by miles by the well-off – some of whom actually left to live in Australia and still owe him upwards of $50,000. He found the majority of the working class at least tried to pay something each payday – though I suspect with the middle class rent extraction that would be more difficult now.

            Never imagined when watching this repulsive example of me, me, me and money back in 1987 that he would ever become Prime Minister in this country. Thought it horrible at the time.

            You clearly mistake wanting to live a good life, not in poverty, able to feed and clothe a family, pay the bills with wanting to be middle class – ain't nothing wrong with being working class.

            https://www.nzonscreen.com/title/close-up-big-dealers-john-key-1987

            • RedLogix 6.1.2.1.1.1

              Lifting out of poverty does not equal being middle class.

              Oh so now we are finely gradating the class distinctions so as you get to stay on the side of virtue.

              Here is the thing though – virtually all New Zealanders from a global perspective are most definitely in or close to the top 1% of income earners, and certainly middle class by any global economic standard.

              What I think you have in mind is something else:

              This is a snapshot of New Zealand that explores our unspoken class system and the hidden social boundaries that separate us from each other.

              I would not hold up this analysis as the last word in NZ sociology, but you seem to be talking:

              The Papatoetoe Tribe – Unpretentious

              Urban working people who hate “wankers” and define themselves by their unwillingness to think of themselves as better than their mates – or anyone else for that matter – the classic “state house and jug of beer” Kiwis.

              • Descendant Of Smith

                No fine tuning just pointing out that you extrapolated this:

                "Yeah but I get the rich and privileged who are used to overseas travel and doing whatever the fuck they want are feeling aggrieved."

                to describe everyone in the middle class as if they are a homogenous mass.

                No as working class we know the difference that being born with certain strengths and skills and abilities make. We know that luck plays a big part in success – not just hard work. We know that one accident tomorrow can ruin your or a family members life. We don't pretend that "if only you work harder" you will get ahead. We know we have to help and support each other – the whole community – not just our own family members.

                And yeah that does come across as no one is better than another. Different yes, more skilled, more knowledgeable sure – better – nope.

                • RedLogix

                  Actually I was responding to this:

                  Working class sensibilities are likely quite different from that of the middle class. (who knows maybe in a few more generations of climbing out of abject poverty our family descendants will turn into self entitled middle class wankers as well)

            • Blazer 6.1.2.1.1.2

              So,so true..

              'My business father-in-law always said the well-off were the worst payers. He was owed more money by miles by the well-off – some of whom actually left to live in Australia and still owe him upwards of $50,000. He found the majority of the working class at least tried to pay something each payday – though I suspect with the middle class rent extraction that would be more difficult now.'

              Met so many tradies who said they were not interested in working for the 'wealthy'…preferred average mid class people who..paid their..bills.

          • Descendant Of Smith 6.1.2.1.2

            "Jacko similarly explained the only people he had contact with were shop assistants. "You must understand that, for me, lonely is the norm. "

            That is the real issue.

            https://www.abc.net.au/religion/pandemic-ethics-herd-immunity-and-care-of-the-vulnerable/12227468

            • RedLogix 6.1.2.1.2.1

              My partner works in large Bunnings stores here in Australia. Every store has a well known collection of little old ladies whom the staff have to be polite to – regardless of how busy they are.

              Some are more fun than others. devil

        • McFlock 6.1.2.2

          It does show one possible slippery slope of minimisation quite well, though:

          • We don't want to be inconvenienced by pandemic control
          • To justify avoiding the inconvenience we lower the death toll by saying people with comorbities shouldn't be counted in the death toll
          • the ones we have to count, well for them death is a sweet release, almost a charity
          • therefore I should be allowed to do what I want, and all these extra dead people aren't my fault.
  7. Koff 7

    I an in Queensland. Until 13th December 2021, there were 7 deaths related to, from or with Covid since the pandemic began at the end of March 2020. In the last month, 88 more people have died from, or with, Covid. I assume it isn't because there has been a sudden increase of "co-morbidiities," or becaue of a sudden increase increase in crocodile attacks, jellyfish or flood deaths, but because the Quuensland state government opened the doors to the southern states just as the Omicron variant arrived, allowing those carrying the virus into the state. This Omicron wave is not yet at its peak and with hospitalisations and deaths lagging about a week or two behind case numbers, presumably there are many more still to develop long Covid or die. These people may have had a few, or many years still left to live, or are they just collateral damage?

    • RedLogix 7.1

      No they are not just collateral damage that we should not care about or mourn with dignity.

      But when faced with any serious enemy some losses must be sustained – or the battle itself will be lost entirely. Every great General or Admiral understood this and bore the moral responsibility for it.

      I fully understand this is not a popular sentiment.

      • arkie 7.1.1

        Trying parse your analogy; the enemy is COVID? And the battle is for what exactly?

      • weka 7.1.2

        …and bore the moral responsibility for it.

        In order to do that we'd have to have a conversation about how to value the lives of disabled people. How do you propose we do that?

      • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1.3

        I fully understand this is not a popular sentiment.

        Maybe not among the 'cannon fodder', but the 'great' understand collateral damage.

      • But when faced with any serious enemy some losses must be sustained

        'Some of you may die, but that's a consequence I'm prepared to live with.'

        The amoral option.

        • RedLogix 7.1.4.1

          We are not putting you in charge of the military then.

          • weka 7.1.4.1.1

            which is why we don't let the military run the health system. They're two very different skill sets.

            The pandemic might be seen as a war metaphorically, but it's not a literal one. War is often amoral. I don't see the rationale for treating the pandemic response as such.

            You haven't really said what you think the trade off should be (what things you want society to have that we don't have at the moment that are worth sacrificing lives and health for). Maybe make a list then we can look at the moral balance of scales.

            • RedLogix 7.1.4.1.1.1

              The point of the analogy is that in tough times, tough choices are necessary. Avoiding them is the path to disaster further down the path.

              And while wartime and the health care system are different contexts, the necessity to understand the short and long term trade offs applies to both.

              • arkie

                Sorry, still trying to understand this; the tough times is COVID? The tough choices are what exactly? And what is the disaster that comes from avoiding them?

                • Muttonbird

                  Confused me too. How is letting people die now saving lives in the future? Seems like an idea not based in medicine, but plucked from the dark corners of someone's brain.

              • Robert Guyton

                Trade offs?

                Should the Government then, treat far more harshly, the ideologically-opposed-to-vaccination community, because of the threat they pose to the wider community?

                • RedLogix

                  If you want. That is a choice you are free to advocate for, but then there are costs to it as well.

                  Which is my point – as much as the left wants to paint itself as having a monopoly on moral virtue – the reality is that every choice has both benefits and costs that need to be accounted for properly.

                  But what I am seeing is a consistent tendency to either ignore or minimise the costs of the pandemic choices made so far. We have reached the point where even asking questions is a thoughtcrime.

                  • Muttonbird

                    as much as the left wants to paint itself as having a monopoly on moral virtue

                    This trope is peculiar to the right, far-right, and alt-right. I'll let you decided which camp you are in.

                    It's pure projection, and by saying it, you betray deep seated guilt about your own moral stance.

                  • arkie

                    Please bravely risk prosecution for thoughtcrime, and extrapolate what you see as the costs of the pandemic choices made so far. I, for one, am having difficulty interpreting what exactly 'the fight' is for if it's not for public health.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Did that government get voted out because of it employed such strategies as the one you mentioned: enforcing blackouts, or because of other factors? Your implication, I think, was that aspects such as requiring vaccinations, masks, etc. will cost our Government, the next election.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    I was thinking about your "wartime" analogy and about the requirement to cover windows and block all light during bombing raids, and the disdain in which non-complaints would have been held.

                    I'm not sure war is a great lens through which to discuss the pandemic.

                    • RedLogix

                      And wardens were empowered to enter homes without warning to enforce the blackout. No-one enjoyed this, but people tolerated these impositions because the benefits during the bombing crisis obviously outweighed the costs.

                      But the moment the war was over, the government that was associated with so much of the war effort – far from being rewarded for their victory – was promptly voted out of office.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      "No-one enjoyed this, but people tolerated these impositions because the benefits during the bombing crisis pandemic obviously outweighed the costs."

                      Well, yes.

                      "But the moment the war was over, the government that was associated with so much of the war effort – far from being rewarded for their victory – was promptly voted out of office."

                      No need to remind you of the difference between correlation and causality, I suppose.

                    • RedLogix

                      Dismissing probable causation as mere correlation being a common enough dodge.

                    • mpledger

                      A new government was elected because they wanted social change which included establishing the NHS and other social bodies. It was good policy that got them elected.

                • mauī

                  Sounds quite totalitarian… I wonder if an internment camp for the unclean ones will somehow.. bring an end to the pandemic 🙄

              • weka

                The point of the analogy is that in tough times, tough choices are necessary. Avoiding them is the path to disaster further down the path.

                And while wartime and the health care system are different contexts, the necessity to understand the short and long term trade offs applies to both.

                Yes, I understand the analogy, but every government has been grappling with exactly that in the past two years.

                If you now don't mean it literally (that we should trade lives/health for something else), maybe just say that clearly. If you still mean that, then why not just list the things you think we are not making tough choices about already.

                • RedLogix

                  The big difficulty here is that often the long term costs are either hard to quantify, or are fundamentally unknowable. But it does not mean they do not exist.

                  For example – what will be the consequences of two or more years of massive disruptions across education systems worldwide. That could turn out a very mixed bag.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Those who believe schools are nothing more than training stations for an enslaved workforce, will argue that putting a spoke in those works has been a blessing.

                    • mpledger

                      Kids are learning machines, they are learning things at home and some of those things are more valuable then things they may learn at school. They may get behind in knowing "facts" but it will be interesting to see if that really matters, if the social and living skills they learnt at home are more fundermentally useful.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Parents (and home environments) as teachers?

                      They certainly can be.

                      There could be fundamental change as a result of closed schools, but whether that will be beneficial or damaging is a matter of (long) debate, I'm sure (as most of these issues are).

                      Curiosity is the essential element for learning, in my opinion. Wherever curiosity is best fostered is where the most valuable learning takes place, imo.

                    • mpledger

                      It will probably be both beneficial and damaging and to some more than others. But, I think, on balance, it will come out pretty even. I've seen some data on the Chch earthquake kids and they were amazingly resilient.

  8. Corokia 8

    Haven't commented here for years, but what I interpret as " those with co morbidites were going to die soon anyway, so let's just let it rip" thing is really pissing me off.

    I'm nearly 60, type 1 diabetic, haven't had a day sick off work for 7 years and was expecting to live quite a lot longer But hey, if I die of Covid, I'm just one of those older people with a co-morbidity…..

    Just saying

    • Muttonbird 8.1

      Comment of the thread, thank you Corokia.

      Real people have "underlying factors", all the time! Who is the author of this post and his amateur scientist, John Campbell, to insist people with underlying factors haven't a right to live in this pandemic just because of the well-used right wing nut job go-to quote, “life's not fair for some”.

      • Shanreagh 8.1.1

        Comment of the thread, thank you Corokia.

        I agree.

        The excruciating desire to wind down the numbers of those who died from Covid by inferring that those healthy people who had well controlled comorbidities do not deserve to have their premature deaths by Covid counted is bordering on obscene. People died from a virus and they would not have died had the virus not been here. Of course they may have had a car or bus accident or fallen into the lions cage at the zoo. But……

        On some of the sites I keep an eye on overseas there are still people who

        • don't believe that Covid exists, or
        • if it exists, has effects no greater than a cold

        or

        • seek to minimise its effects so then they can make a play for businesses to open, flights to come in from where ever, and it is just too bad if people die.

        We will get there when we get there and when we do it won't be BAU.

      • RedLogix 8.1.2

        Real people have "underlying factors", all the time!

        So serious illness is new normal.

        I get it that some chronic illnesses like Type 1 diabetes have no obvious cause, and good health is a bit of a lottery, yet medical people are telling us all the time that lifestyle and diet factors play a huge part in these modern diseases. As I have suggested a few times in the past year, public health in the age of COVID really should be prompting us to ask some much broader questions about why the hell we are all so apparently sick.

        Nor is anyone suggesting that we do nothing to protect the vulnerable. This is why we have the vaccines after all. It is why we spent 2020 being cautious in the face on an unknown virus, why we went through lockdowns and MIQ, track and trace – all done to protect these people.

        But that aside, Omicron presents us with the opportunity to revaluate the implied contract here; its parameters are clearly different from the previous variants. And its my sense even this Labour govt has tacitly acknowledged this – the goal is shifting from elimination back to the original goal of flattening the curve and protecting the health system.

        And sooner or later borders will re-open and the more onerous impositions like vaccine mandates will no longer serve any discernable purpose.

  9. Incognito 9

    From a Kiwi request under the OIA dd. 28 May 2020:

    In response to part two of your request, of the 22 COVID-19 deaths in New Zealand, all have been reported in EpiSurv as having COVID-19 as the primary cause of death.

    https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/information-release/h202003867.pdf

    • Shanreagh 9.1

      From memory those figures include the elderly North Shore lady whose death was originally not viewed as Covid as she had some comorbidities. This OIA may have been before the new way of completing deaths certificates came into play.

  10. adam 10

    My thoughts on this The greedy north strikes again.

    Lets be frank I'm in the danger group, the group who if I get Sars-Covid-19 I will probably die.

    But here the thing, many people who would not die from Sars-Covid-19 are burning resources and get vaccinated for little to no reason, whist people in the globe south who are in my group are dying, because they can't get a vaccine, nor treatment.

    It gets worse, vaccine's for other endemic diseases have been delayed in the global south. So once again the global south have to suffered whilst the greedy north have gone on this journey of shut down. How much damage have we done to the global south through our fear? How much more crap have they got to suffer – so the north can once again take the majority of the pie?

    Either were all in this together, or it's just the same old shit – different packaging.

    • weka 10.1

      same old shit as far as I can tell. Fear is a powerful motivator. I argued pre vaccine that NZ should hold off on vaccination so that countries with actual community transmission who were at the back of the vaccine queue could use our stock. Obviously omicron and even delta make that a much harder thing to argue.

      I'm definitely not going to argue that because another country is in need, NZ should have let covid into the community here without a well vaxxed population (that would be mad). But that's not actually the issue. Neoliberalism existed pre-pandemic, and there are plenty of solutions to the issues you raise that we could be doing now, but won't because most people want a certain kind of lifestyle.

      Few want to look too hard at big pharma and how that plays into it either.

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