For earlier entries “Against the Corona Panic,” see:
Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven,
Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve
One of the central problems with the media’s Corona reporting, with its beloved “rolling death counts” is the “Deaths With” vs. “Deaths From” Problem. How many of the reported deaths are truly “deaths from the virus” and how many are “deaths with the virus” of people who were dying anyway or clearly died of some other cause?
This is well-known to (many of) us on the anti-Panic side, but I think we have made little progress in raising awareness of it. So it goes, when the other side controls the media and is running a martial law regime with heavy use of saturation-level propaganda and suppression of dissent.
Getting straight answers on this has been difficult, especially since the extreme escalations of March (the unnecessary shutdowns, the disastrous Lockdowns). Following the coup d’etat, the Fauci junta in the US and similar Corona juntas in other countries do not seem to want to elucidate this matter. We are somewhat on our own, aided by quite a few honest experts and specialists, though, as often as not the experts too are subject to suppression (as in the case of the late-April deletion of the Dr. Erickson COVID briefing video by Youtube for unspecified “violating community policies” after their anti-Panic briefing got five million views in five days; Dr. Wittkowski’s video was also suppressed).
There are people doing great work on this, including experts and specialists who lack any kind of bullhorn and are used to scribbling away in obscurity (one of these experts, Knut Wittkowski, was profiled and his anti-Panic writings/expertise were featured here as Part V). Among the best and most comprehensive sources is Swiss Propaganda Research, which two days ago has come out with another comprehensive update; see some relevant excerpts below, in this post.
Sweden: Has a proxy for Deaths With vs. Deaths From been hiding in plain sight?
We know “deaths with vs. deaths from” is a problem, but its magnitude is always at least uncertain. I dealt with this in Part IV on New York City. The whole thing gets confusing enough that the media, and the pro-Panic side generally, can just ignore it and up the intensity of Corona-prolefeed in circulation on the news and social media. Confusion, muddied-waters, and fear are the pro-Panic side’s bread-and-butter.
I’ve been closely following the numbers out of Sweden (See Part VII) for a few weeks and I think I can now say this:
The number in Sweden may be around two-thirds as “deaths with,” one-third as “deaths from.” If this is true, the pro-Panic projections by Ferguson and others are comfortably off by more than 100x.
In other words, if the epidemic in Sweden ends with 4,500 reported deaths, 1,500 may be true virus deaths and 3,000 may be those positive for the virus, and dead, but for whom the virus played either no role at all, or a highly ambiguous role at most, in their deaths.
This is not a novel observation for the anti-Panic side but one that deserves to be marked out clearly; it has important implications, not just for defeating the pro-Panic side on the facts, but for analyzing how the Panic began in the first place, which I return to at the end of this post.
Long recognizing this problem, and frustrated by the media’s refusal to mention it, the anti-Panic side has come up with memes like the one at the top of this post and this one:
On Sweden. A key insight has long been in plain sight. I showed the graph to a friend and he immediately made a simple observation:
Deaths significantly exceed ICU Intakes.
Look at the area beneath the two curves in the latest graph. At a glance, the Deaths (blue) curve for Stay-Open Sweden covers much more ground than the ICU-Intake (orange) curve. There are about twice as many deaths as ICU intakes.
This is not because of a lack of space in the ICUs, as Sweden has never exceeded 70% capacity at any point this year.
The other relevant observation from the graph is that ICU Intakes peak before Deaths, which would be expected. The thing about this “Deaths far outnumber ICU intakes” point, though, is it is not expected.
I haven’t seen anyone else point this out, or ask what it means.
The implications of the “twice as many deaths as ICU Intakes” may be highly significant not just for Sweden but for others, if the general pattern holds elsehwere.
The two relevant facts:
(1) The ‘Deaths’ curve for Sweden is all coronavirus-positive deaths, including those who die of something else but who are known to be positive at death.
(2) We know that the virus does not cause instant death, but brings about an onset of flu symptoms for which people would seek medical care. The most serious cases would be given the most serious treatment, which is intensive care (ICU).
Combining (1) and (2), it’s reasonable to assume that the typical case of a true, virus-caused deaths will be someone who first goes through the medical system, with the worst cases ending up in ICUs, and that the number of Corona Deaths who never get any treatment at all is minimal in Sweden. This means the figure “Total ICU intakes” could be a reasonable upper-bound for our sought-after “Deaths From.”
Calculating a “Deaths With, Deaths From” estimate from Observed Data for Sweden
As of May 8, there are:
- 1,672 cumulative ICU-Intakes for COVID19 in Sweden, and
- 3,175 coronavirus-positive deaths.
(3,175 is equal to about one-quarter of expected deaths for the same period. This is, coincidentally, about the rate the virus has spread in the population by mid-April, according to the randomized studies.)
We also know that the number of current coronavirus-positive current ICU patients has fallen below 500 as of May 8, with the remaining circa 1,185 being resolved cases: Deaths and recoveries.
If the recovery rate once entering an ICU is somewhere between 40% and 60%, as it reportedly is elsewhere, it means that 475 to to 725 ICU patients who entered an ICU for a respiratory disease and were corona-positive have died. This is only 15% to 23% of the 3,175 corona-positive deaths. The remaining ca. 2,225 never entered an ICU and died in other circumstances.
This leaves us with 20% of corona-deaths as absolutely-definite “Deaths From,” against 80% being either “Deaths With” or ambiguous.
Of the ambiguous category, how many might realistically be “Deaths From”? Given that half died at nursing homes, places with short life-expectancies anyway, it’s possible that a fifth of the remainder (80%) are true Deaths From, three-fifths are “Deaths With,” and one-fifth are a coin toss, cause of death at examining doctor’s discretion. This gives us:
- 20% of deaths being those taken into an ICU who died there,
- 15% being genuine-virus-caused deaths outside ICUs,
- 50% are “Deaths With” who definitely died of other causes, and
- 15% Coin Tosses, those with severe health conditions whose cause of death is arguable, but in any case have lower life-expectancies than the usual person of their age.
The result of this exercise. We are left with 35% likely “Deaths From, those who would have had some appreciable number of years of meaningfully healthy life left. The sum can push higher, to 40% or slightly more, depending on how generous you are with classifying other deaths.
This “up to two-thirds deaths with the virus, not from it” estaimte happens to also be the same as the reported in early April (Fraser Nelson, “Coronavirus: To Swedes, it’s the rest of the world engaging in a reckless experiment,” Telegraph [UK], April 3):
[…] [U]pdating [Sweden’s] statistics to say if someone died from Covid, or of something else – but with Covid […] might reduce the “death” figure by two thirds. [Emphasis added]
Also in April, the head of Hamburg’s corona response emerged as an anti-Panic figure and ordered a review of causes of death, announcing he would only report “true” coronavirus-caused deaths, which reportedly reduced the total by half immediately. His desired reporting procedure was not in line with the Robert Koch Institute, which counts all coronavirus-positive deaths.
As for Sweden, the current trendline suggests that by the time the virus fades from the scene in Sweden, there will be 5,000 corona-positive deaths over a three-plus month period, mid-March to June. If this finding that “up to 40% are genuine deaths from the virus who wouldn’t have died anyway” holds, we are left with circa 2,000 genuine coronavirus-attributable deaths in Sweden. If excess deaths are about this level, and the rest of the year is normal, this flu epidemic will not push Sweden above its 2018 full-year mortality.
(This point is expanded on in Part XI.)
Swiss Propaganda Research updates relevant to Deaths With vs. Deaths From
The “counting people as Covid victims who would have died anyway” problem overlaps with the “nursing home deaths” and “Panic-induced deaths” problems. The point being that it is unclear what many are dying of. It is for certain that (the direct effects of) the virus are only partly to blame for these deaths, and in some cases direct-virus-deaths are a very clear minority.
See these reports from Swiss Propaganda Research:
[U]p to 50% of current British excess mortality might not be caused by the coronavirus, but by the effects of the lockdown and general panic. This amounts to up to 3000 deaths per week. In fact, this figure could be even higher, as the British Covid19 definition… includes deaths with (rather than from) coronavirus as well as „suspected cases“.
The director of the Illinois Department of Health confirmed that even terminally ill people who clearly die of another cause but who test positive for Covid19 virus before or after death are recorded as Covid19 deaths.
The conservative Project Veritas whistleblower platform spoke with New York funeral home directors who stated that currently Covid is written „on all death certificates“ (of suspected cases), whether there was a test or not. […] The Covid19 statistics are inflated for political or financial reasons, the directors stated.
In most Western countries, 30% to 70% of all deaths „related to Covid“ occurred in nursing homes (in some regions even up to 90%). It is also known [that the crisis in] northern Italy […] began with a panic-induced collapse of nursing care for the elderly.
Nursing homes require targeted protection and do not benefit from a general lockdown of society. If one looks only at the deaths in the general population, in most countries these are in the range of a normal or even mild wave of influenza.
Moreover, in many cases it is not clear what people in nursing homes really died of, i.e. whether it was Covid19 or stress, fear and loneliness. From Belgium, for example, it is known that about 94% of all deaths in nursing homes are untested „presumed cases“.
A new analysis of French statistics moreover shows the following: as soon as there is a „suspected case“ in a nursing home (e.g. due to coughing), all deaths are considered „suspected Covid19 deaths“, and as soon as there is a „confirmed case“ in a nursing home (even if symptomless), all deaths are considered „confirmed Covid19 deaths“.
A report from Germany vividly describes the extreme conditions under which hundreds of thousands of patients in care and nursing homes have had to live in recent weeks, often against their will. Many of the patients were barely allowed to leave their rooms, were no longer allowed to go out into the fresh air or receive visits from their relatives.
In several nursing homes, the error-prone PCR virus test moreover led to serious false alarms and panic. In one Canadian nursing home, employees fled in fear of the corona virus, resulting in the tragic death of 31 patients due to lack of care.
The former New York Times journalist and Corona critic Alex Berenson writes on Twitter: „Let’s be clear: the fact the nursing home deaths are not front and center every day in elite media coverage of COVID tells you everything you need to know about the media’s priority – which is instilling panic (and punishing Trump), not driving good health policy.“
(That the goal of the “elite media” is to “instill panic” is accurate. The reasons can be debated [as in this comment-thread in which JR Ewing argues for a reason the media may be pushing Corona], As these reports make clear, the pro-Panic side and their leaders in the media and elsewhere may already responsible or more deaths than the minor flu-strain out of Wuhan, before the effects of the recession really start to bite.)
As I realized and attempted to show in Part IV (on New York City), there are really three types of deaths relevant here:
- (1.) genuine, direct, coronavirus-attributable deaths (deaths from the flu, not something else);
- (2.) people who would have died anyway and happened to be corona-positive at death;
- (3.) Panic-induced deaths, who may or may not be corona-positive but for whom the virus played no, or a highly ambiguous role in death. The most unambiguous, unarguable of these are the thousands of outright corona-negative excess deaths reported in the Panic hotspots like NYC and London, due to untreated heart attacks and similar problems, with victims too scared to visit a hospital due to the media’s pro-Panic drumbeat). Some of the nursing home victims may also qualify, people at the end of their lives giving up as a stressful situation saps their remaining will to life, or in some cases their care staff flees in panic.
These are conceptual categories and in practice it may be unclear how to sort a specific case. But, in general terms, it is now clear that if we want (1.) only, the true number plummets by a considerable amount below the reported number, a drop of up to two-thirds, and potentially more in some cases.
The image that opens this post is an extreme example of (2.). Here it is again:
Just how wrong were the models? Revisiting Neil Ferguson’s evil deed
I believe the Corona-Panic can be defeated easily by this point, if emotion were removed from it, by graphs like this:
In light of the “deaths with vs. deaths from” problem, the true magnitude of the “projections vs. reality gap” is even starker.
Downward pressure on the Actual Deaths curve: Removing “deaths with“
The blue curve is all coronavirus-positive deaths whereas the orange (Do Nothing projection) and gray (Swedish-style response projection) curves are only for direct, virus-caused deaths. They are not measuring the same thing.
In practice, the blue curve should be pushed down a ways, deflated by the degree to which the reported number includes “deaths with.” If it is true that two-thirds of these are natural deaths are not attributable to the virus, the blue curve should be one-third as high as it is.
Upward pressure on the Prediction curves: Those phantom “swamped hospitals”
Additionally, Ferguson and co.’s fantasy “swamped hospitals” scenario under a Swedish-style response would have potentially added 50% to, or doubled, both projection curves.
When all is said and done, then, the Ferguson horror scenario may have been off by 100x, and plausibly even more.
The implication, if it is correct that only something like one-third of reported deaths are genuinely attributable to the virus’ direct effects, is this:
The idea that there is a uniquely terrible flu pandemic going on is largely an illusion stemming from the very act of hyper-tracking it (hyper-tracking a particular virus and intensely focusing on it), misinterpreting what we are hyper-tracking, then having people scare each other with these misinterpreted/hyper-tracked figures built on a foundation of fluff. Result: A hysteria escalation spiral, with nothing really gained by it, and with very, very much lost.
Why did ‘we’ hyper-track it, leading perhaps inevitably to these kinds of mismeaures?
Were the misinterpretations of ‘our’ hyper-tracking (of some flu-virus) innocently done? Was it a big misunderstanding? How much of it was malicious?
Being that the Panic has created its own inertia, these questions may be somewhat academic, but it’s still worth asking. It’s worth seeking to understand how something like this could happen to rational (we hope) people.
Superb post. Is there any way you can write up a distilled form of this.
No more than three or four short paragraphs that captures the important details. Something that can be sent to those who are unlikely to read through something of this length- sadly.
Another way to understand this is as you obliquely referenced is “straight from the horses mouth”:
New York City officials began to count “suspected” COVID-19 deaths in addition to cases confirmed by a laboratory, following a WNYC report revealing a staggering increase in the number of people dying at home but not included in the official tally because they hadn’t been tested for the novel coronavirus.
Here is the statement from Stephanie Buhle, a spokeswoman for the New York City’s Health Department, who confirmed the change in protocol:
“The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) and the NYC Health Department are working together to include into their reports deaths that may be linked to COVID but not lab confirmed that occur at home.”
Why all of the sudden a change in protocol?
Mayor Bill di Blasio stated and I quote, “It’s safe to assume that the vast majority were coronavirus related.” That is a breathtaking statement. There will no testing done, there will be no diagnoses taken -yet it is safe to “assume” these people have died from COVID. They will be placed into that category and the stats will be padded and the fear will be ramped up.
Here is the exact quote from the director of Illinois Department of Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, transcribed from Illinois Governor’s health briefing on April 19th :
“I just want to be clear in terms of the definition of people dying of COVID. The case definition is very simplistic. It means at the time of death it was a COVID positive diagnosis. So that means if you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you also were found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death. It means technically even if you died of a clear alternate cause, but you had COVID at the same time, it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who’s listed as a COVID death doesn’t mean that that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of the death.”
Report shows up to 88% of Italy’s alleged Covid19 deaths could be misattributed
“The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus […] On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many had two or three,”
– Professor Walter Ricciardi, scientific adviser to Italy’s minister of health
Allen, the short version is:
We know that we don’t know how many deaths are genuine, virus-caused deaths. We know some of the deaths are misclassified for various reasons. Not necessarily any malice needed, but misinterpretation at least.
We aren’t getting clear answers, and this flu-virus’ “death count” is subject to considerable politicization (though not along normal ‘Red-Blue’ lines, really).
My small contribution is to point out, from the Swedish data I have looked at and followed closely for a few weeks, that Deaths considerably outnumber ICU Intakes there, and ask why. I have tried to demonstrate here that tugging on that string ends up showing us that about 20% of the Swedish Covid-19 death count are definite, confirmable virus deaths, and the rest are either “deaths with the virus, not from it” or ambiguous cases.
I conclude that it’s likely this works out to “one third of deaths are direct, virus-caused deaths,” and hard to imagine a scenario where more than 40% of Swedish reported deaths are genuine virus-caused deaths. If someone chooses not to believe my calculation, there is also the same figure reported in the UK Telegraph some five weeks ago estimating the same. I’d forgotten about that when I made my calculation.
This means against the Ferguson (and other’s) predictions of deaths in the hundreds of thousands under a Swedish approach, the direct-hit of the virus will not exceed 2,000 and swamped-hospital deaths will be zero, which is a final epidemic around 100x lower than the horror-models released in March.
Do you have a link to that UK Telegraph article?
An example in practice. We know up to half of the deaths are nursing home patients with highly limited life-expectancies. In those cases, it is especially hard to know what caused some of the deaths. According to reports from the top, some nursing home staff abandoned their duties or misunderstood them, language barrier.
Another relevant general point is the average age at death in Sweden has been steady at about 82, with almost 90% of deaths over age 70 and a considerably number (25%) over age 90. This overlaps with normal death ranges, and so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to question whether some these are dying of “natural causes” with the virus’ presence being incidental.
None of these criticisms is new, but the insight that ICU-Intakes vs. Deaths might be a signpost on the way to the truth was new to me, when I realized it after that simple observation was pointed out to me.
Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Part XI: Stay-Open Sweden set to lose 0.02% of total population to Coronavirus, in line with usual peak flu years; 2020 may equal 2018 in total mortality; why did we destroy the economy over this? | Hail To You
Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Part IX: “Corona-Paranoia” and the case of pro-Panic US Congresswoman Haley Stevens, a character study | Hail To You
Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. VIII: The coronavirus transmission rate (“R0”) fell long before the Lockdown orders; What caused the decline? | Hail To You
Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. VII: Sweden’s vindication is complete; Graphing the actual coronavirus epidemic in Sweden against the pro-Panic side’s wild projections | Hail To You
Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. VI: Where has the regular flu gone? The CDC reports unprecedented crash in non-COVID flu-positives, raising questions | Hail To You
Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. V: A Hero of the Hour, Dr. Knut Wittkowski | Hail To You
Pingback: Against the Corona Panic Pt. IV: What about New York City? A Case Study in Hysteria Pandemic vs. Virus Pandemic | Hail To You
Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. III: “Just the Flu” Vindicated by the Data; Or, Why to End the Shutdowns Now | Hail To You
Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. II: “Honor the Truth, be Steadfast, Defend the Nation” — Say ‘No’ to jockeying for political advantage on the coattails of Corona Hysteria | Hail To You
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Pingback: Against the Corona Panic Part XII: An anthropological study into the “Corona Cult.” Pro-Panic hardliners and the media succeeded in erecting a virus-centered apocalypse cult as state religion and inducing a mass-conversion event to it, in Marc
Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Part XIV: Total Mortality data in Europe now confirms the Wuhan-Coronavirus was comparable in magnitude to flu waves of the 2010s; the Panic and lockdowns are fully discredited | Hail To You
Pingback: Against the Corona-Panic, Part XV: The coronavirus death curves in Stay-Open Sweden and the Stay-Locked-Down USA are remarkably similar over four months, discrediting lockdown-pushers | Hail To You
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