Last updated2020-04-19T16:16:01



214 APB, replying to APB, 14, #1 of 29 🔗

I still haven’t seen any mainstream media contextual reference to cumulative annual mortality figures from the ONS which clearly show 2020 (as at end of week 14) to be an exceptional year, right?

Wrong. Cumulative deaths to the end of week 14 in England and Wales are (Source ONS at https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/weeklyprovisionalfiguresondeathsregisteredinenglandandwales ):

2020 - 166444      2015 - 169533
2019 - 156144      2014 - 145368
2018 - 175419      2013 - 155189
2017 - 163698      2012 - 144103
2016 - 156041      2011 - 144733

I don’t remember any lockdowns in 2018 or 2015; or even noticing ourselves to be at increased risk?

Those attributable to respiratory disease over the same period are equally interesting:

2020 - 29134*     2015 - 30362
2019 - 23012      2014 - 23033
2018 - 31659      2013 - 27433
2017 - 27188      2012 - 23012
2016 - 24773      2011 - 23542

* 2020 only – For the last three months ONS have separated deaths with a mention of COVID 19 in the death certificate from those attributable to respiratory disease. Adding the two together makes more deaths than the total reported overall so there MUST be duplication. Subtracting the overall excess of 335 would make the 2020 total 28799.

My other more subjective points, which need to be caveated because I do respect what NHS care providers do for us, but:

– My own relatives who are nurses and doctors in various hospitals tell me that they are acutely embarrassed by the Thursday Clap for Carers because they, at least, are currently staring at empty wards and waiting rooms at hospitals and drinking lots of tea and snacking heavily on free goodies brought in by generous well wishers and food companies. Even ICU staff in their hospitals are still working normal shifts with no increase in overtime claimed (there must be a way to check this I presume?). Conversely, a nephew was extraordinarily busy, I gather, going round the hospital sticking COVID 19 warning stickers on every staff member’s smart phone. He felt so proud to be making a difference.

– They also remind me that the job of procuring stockpiles of PPE and policy for how much to hold sits with NHS managers not ministers. Those managers are, I gather, currently delighting in the privileges holding an NHS Staff Number and ID has unlocked for them. Perhaps someone needs to give Hancock a break?

219 ▶▶ John M, replying to APB, 2, #2 of 29 🔗

W14 was the first week that deaths started to “take off” with 3000 deaths reported in that week. You won’t see that in cumulative figures, only in weekly figures and, indeed, W14 had the highest death toll of any week in the preceding 10 years. In fact, the death toll was 6000 more than average – twice the number reported as Wuhan virus deaths. Why? Well… the reported death figures are only made up of people who died IN HOSPITAL and not from those who died in the community. Will be interesting to see what the weekly figure is for W15…

The real question/discussion to have is whether we should have just done what Sweden has done. Only time will tell.

228 ▶▶▶ mogg42, replying to John M, #3 of 29 🔗

Yes and we would expect another ~ 6k excess per week for some weeks to come. Issues would be a.) how much of this non-COVID coded excess is actually COVID releated and b.) how large will the annual excess be if people are dying a few months earlier than would otherwise be the case. Minor point but it is quite clearly stated that the COVID and respiratory rows in the ONS data may include duplicates.

242 ▶▶▶ APB, replying to John M, 4, #4 of 29 🔗

That’s my point John. My instinct is that of course we should have done exactly that (ie what Sweden has done). We have been infected by mass hysteria. We could lose 6k+ a week for over a month and still remain on par with 2018’s overall Q1 mortality. But in 2018 we did not put almost everyone on a publicly funded payroll and commit the nation’s only reserve.

243 ▶▶▶▶ APB, replying to APB, 5, #5 of 29 🔗

As an aside, while we the taxpayer are paying all these non-working furloughed employees, should we not be putting them into the fields to pick crops or into other public service functions in return for their stipends?

254 ▶▶▶▶▶ AntiLockdownRealist, replying to APB, -2, #6 of 29 🔗

They’d be no good at the crop picking, labourers are imported from Eastern Europe to the UK for that because they are genuinely better at it. We need to be keeping the borders open so we can get our usual seasonal workers, and getting the folks who live in Britain permanently back to the jobs they were doing before the lockdown began. No need for all the workers to be paid by the taxpayer if they can get back to normal work. We need to value people, wherever they are from, for all the things they are good at. And let them all get on with those things.

246 ▶▶▶ Mark H, replying to John M, 4, #7 of 29 🔗

And with the NHS currently sitting with around 37,500 empty beds, we can only assume that the people who once laid in them are ill – and dying – at home. Once the community death toll is added up and some smart cookies join the dots, how long it will take for the 2 Minutes of Love for the NHS to turn into the 2 Minutes of Hate.

No wonder the NHS is pressuring the government for further indemnities against legal cases laid against it by people affected by the COVID-19 response.

252 ▶▶▶▶ Karen57, replying to Mark H, 5, #8 of 29 🔗

We have to pity those living in prolonged but non-lethal agony because they’ve had various surgeries postponed by this crisis, for those who are terminally ill and would like to spend their last weeks walking in the hills unharrassed by drones and stasi-esque neighbours, for immigrants who’ve entered a country only to find the government abuses them and won’t help them and then locks down and cuts them off from the work and wages that were keeping them alive, for the doctors/nurses/cleaners/hospital-specialists who can’t get a takeaway after their tough shifts, and for the brave NHS personnel who know that if the lockdown goes on the economy will go down the drain so badly that their jobs get taken with it.

255 ▶▶▶ Sam, replying to John M, 6, #9 of 29 🔗

The stats about how the deaths stack up in nations that took different coronavirus policies are all well and interesting, but none of them account for the lives cost by the turmoil the lockdown is causing and will cause well into the future unless it is made extremely brief. I’m a lot more concerned with the numbers of suicides and lost QUALYs to mental health issues from folks trapped in small homes; the lowered life expectancies due to job losses, poverty and collapses of communities which occur when all the local businesses fail; the damage to future productivity and tech development caused by all the scientists who aren’t epidemiologists being sent home from their labs (and this includes medical researchers trying to cure non-coronavirus conditions); the depression that will follow when civil liberties are lost and never regained. Lockdown only seems a good idea because the (relatively few extra) coronavirus deaths without it would be immediate and countable while the deaths caused by it are more remote and further spread so easier for media to ignore.

216 Jimso, replying to Jimso, 6, #10 of 29 🔗

Admittedly, that’s a higher number than in Denmark (60 per million) or Norway (30), which have imposed lockdowns, but you’d expect it to be far higher if lockdowns are as effective as the zealots claim.

I think you’re conceding a bit too much to the zealots here – Norway is a huge country with a hugely dispersed population; and we know the virus is far more prevalent in urban areas. And undoubtedly Stockholm is one very large population centre. Some clever person with time and info could try and work it out, but the relationship may well have a bearing. Anyway, c’mon the Swedes! And more power to your excellent blog.

247 ▶▶ Mark H, replying to Jimso, 10, #11 of 29 🔗

I live in Scotland. We have roughly half the population of Sweden. Sweden’s deaths per capita and Case Fatality Rate are lower than Scotland’s. Scotland has been under lockdown since March 24th. Sweden hasn’t…

218 Oldsoldier, 1, #12 of 29 🔗

With regard to the differences between the Nordic countries this interview with Prof Johan Giesecke might help – start at 12:15 minutes in – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfN2JWifLCY

220 AN other lockdown sceptic, 8, #13 of 29 🔗

Excellent stuff. Thank you Toby. You’re a hero. More than happy to pay for your excellent journalism. Happy Sunday.

225 Gko, replying to Gko, 5, #14 of 29 🔗

1) Sweden numbers didn’t even reach 170 – Worldometer and other counters are completely off. Let’s refer to the government website here: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/09f821667ce64bf7be6f9f87457ed9aa . As you can see, they reassign with correct dates all death and ICU entries — which media is ignoring. You can see a clear decline pattern and also a much lower “peak” than thought. Furthermore, I’d add that in the short term, Sweden is expected to see more deaths but to reach a return to normal faster – the question is what it looks like on the long run

2) BTW on the Charles de Gaulle, another sailor just entered ICU and 12 are under oxygen (not in ICU). I hope it settles there.

3) It is interesting to see that France doesn’t want to suggest an “age lockdown” once measures are eased (i.e. keeping elderly under lockdown and protection) because of an outrage about how discriminatory this would be… It is the virus that discriminates by age… Yet another example of “political pressure and correctness” impacting what should likely be the correct course of policy.

248 ▶▶ Mark H, replying to Gko, #15 of 29 🔗

France’s lockdown certainly knocked the Yellow Vest protests on the head, didn’t it?

253 ▶▶ Danny, replying to Gko, 2, #16 of 29 🔗

Easy way to avoid a discriminatory lockdown, make it optional for the old. Let out anyone who is willing, for say an hour a week amid their normal lives, to do their bit ferrying supplies (both essentials and luxuries) to those old people who still (quite reasonably in their positions) fear to come out. This way everybody wins.

231 mogg42, -1, #17 of 29 🔗


249 Richard1, #18 of 29 🔗

Re the Wuhan Institute of Virology point, reportedly in 2015 NIH Sent $3.7M to the Wuhan Lab:

251 John, 5, #19 of 29 🔗

It’s really interesting to see who among us is standing up for our freedoms, sanity, long term health and jobs against the lockdown. It transcends all the usual left-right, Brexiteer/Remainer, optimist/pessimist and other such political boundaries. Many of us utterly despise each other’s views on anything but the lockdown, but we know that lockdown is wrong, it’s putting quantities of lives (the brief extension of life for that small fraction of those who can be saved with treatment but would otherwise die, most COVID-19 victims have a miserable but non-damaging illness and most of those who do get severe cases can’t be saved with even the best current treatment) before quality (the quality of all lives, both those trapped under lockdown including the terminally ill who would like a chance to enjoy themselves and might not last naturally long enough to see lockdowns end, and for all who survive the pandemic to meet what future waits beyond). The harm of lockdowns to everyone can’t offset whatever amount they achieve in reducing deaths. I hope this site can provide a place for us to work out how we can go about getting the lockdowns ended in the way that does most to restore life and least to further spread the disease.

260 V1NN0, replying to V1NN0, 5, #20 of 29 🔗

I’m acutely aware that it’s easy to read all the websites and news articles that support my view. As a result, I thought it might be useful to actually try to find some evidence for the opposing side. Does anyone know of actual scientific evidence for lockdowns and social distancing? In particular, is there any evidence that we know was actually used to justify these measures?

Or was this really all based on kindergarten science – i.e., we know a respiratory virus spreads by human interaction, therefore we just need to ban human interaction?

268 ▶▶ Thomas Pelham, replying to V1NN0, 6, #21 of 29 🔗

Hi V1NN0. The best I’ve found is a graph which purports to show that there is a slight correlation between lockdown starting and lower deaths. That said, it only had a r of 0.15, so the lockdown accounted, in theory, for 15% of the differences in death rates. Also it was using raw death data and not deaths per capita.

I’d like to see a number of things, including the difference between social distancing/washing hands and lockdown in terms of effectiveness, I suspect it only reduces the R0 by a small amount (washing hands and voluntary social distancing doing the majority of the work), whilst being disproportionately damaging.

I also suspect that there is very little transmission outside – I’d like to see proof of transmission outside.

311 ▶▶▶ V1NN0, replying to Thomas Pelham, #22 of 29 🔗

Thanks for that Thomas. I guess I was more asking for evidence that was used prior to the epidemic and consequent lockdowns. Have there been studies from previous viral epidemics that showed lockdowns were effective? Surely there must have been some scientific evidence to justify them?

264 Oaks79, replying to Oaks79, 4, #23 of 29 🔗

“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,” Prof. Walter Ricciardi (scientific adviser to Italy’s minister of health)

Is there any data like above for the UK, Spain, France, etc.?

270 ▶▶ giblets, replying to Oaks79, 2, #24 of 29 🔗

ONS has some data on this: “91% had at least one pre-existing condition. On average those who died had 2.7 existing conditions”. They have fairly decent set of figures, interesting the age data. The media is clearly hyping up anyone with so much as a cough under the age of 30, the Imperial data suggest that under the age of 30, you more likely to die in a car crash over your lifetime than of covid (after you have actually caught it)

266 Steve Austin, 6, #25 of 29 🔗

At last! A rational site that asks all the right questions! Well done Toby. Long may you continue to stand up to the MSM hysteria that currently surrounds Coronavirus. I can now grind my teeth at 8pm on a Thursday safe in the knowledge I am not alone.

269 giblets, 3, #26 of 29 🔗

People really are repeating the stay home save lives mantra, with little understanding, they think it’s as deadly as Ebola. Remind them that if you are under 65 then you are more likely to die in a car crash (over your life), than die of the virus and they don’t believe you, even with the figures.
Seem to get more buy in when you mention all the excess deaths due to the lockdown (my partners uncle died over the weekend with a heart attack and his colleagues chose to call his wife over an ambulance as they were worried about the whole wasting NHS’s time etc. ) . People question the numbers, but a simple explanation makes sense to them. Suicides…. a 3% gdp drop in 2008 let to how many suicides (with social support plentiful), compared to a 35% drop with isolation….

273 Nigel Vandyck, replying to Nigel Vandyck, 7, #27 of 29 🔗

Dear Mr Young,

On Saturday 18th April you asked how to explain the change in national character reflected in our immediate acceptance of ‘lockdown’ regulation. The short answer is 30 years of gradual acceptance of imposed ‘Health and Safety’ legislation. As a nation we have individually lost the the ability to judge ‘risk’, so rely on ‘authority’ and legislation after the event to protect us if things go wrong. Compare your quoted Finnish national example leaving shops and other public institutions open for business. Scandinavian culture depends on individual self-reliance having little need for remote direct government safety or health edicts. The answer to your question is in Government’s departure from its historic function – tax collection and national security – a long way from individual safety. All this is reflected in our praise for doctors and nurses despite National Health Service organisational shortcomings. Cultural personal ‘safety’ should primarily be a matter of personal responsibility.

Nigel Vandyck

287 ▶▶ Ross, replying to Nigel Vandyck, 4, #28 of 29 🔗

The phrase “be it on my own head” is one I would be proud to live by. We have a moral right to take risks to ourselves and not to be held down by the nanny state, the people just need to start enforcing their rights. I’ve tried so many tiems to find campaigns in the UK against the intrusive aspects of “health and safety”, can’t find anyone who has organised against such abuses of power. Note here that the Health and Safety Executive as an organisation isn’t responsible for most of the nanny state nonsense, they put the majority of their effot looking at stats about real accidents and puting in commonsense and evidence based precautions in industrial settings like interlock switches on high powered equipment or more visible signage. The problem is little busybodies and jobsworths scattered all over the country, backed by paranoid profit hingry insurers and greedy lawyers who are happy to sue the blameless yet never do hard work around defending or prosecuting real crimes. The harm caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns needs to be our call to action for our individual right to take risks.

282 Clarence Beeks, 8, #29 of 29 🔗

The single question that needs answering now is:

After four weeks of lockdown, where are the new infection transmissions coming from? Are they from within hospitals, within care homes, within the family home, on public transport, in shops or factories, or even in open public spaces?

Once this is addressed, we can make some informed decisions about which parts of our life can return to normality with no risk. If, for example, it can be shown that virtually no infections are transmitted in the open air then public parks and other open spaces can be re-opened without further delay.

If, on the other hand, the majority of transmissions are taking place in hospital – then we would need to see some changes in hospital procedures.

If we are really “following the science” then is it too much to ask that this fundamental question of the origin of current transmissions could be raised and answered at the next briefing, instead of continuing with the usual PPE obsession?


22 users made 29 comments today.

23APB14, 4, 5
14Mark H4, 10, 0
8AN other lockdown sceptic8
8Clarence Beeks8
7Nigel Vandyck7
6Steve Austin6
6Thomas Pelham6
5V1NN05, 0
2John M2