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Although I work in cyber-security, I spend a fair amount of my time doing data analysis. I was having a discussion the other day on Facebook about excess UK deaths due to COV-SARS2 (Covid-19), which according to the ONS (Office of National Statistics) as of Jan-21 stands at approx 70,000 for the year. I was surprised the figure was so high, although I must confess that I’ve been avoiding the BBC for months and I hardly ever look at official graphs. I always feel divorced from the figures when it’s someone else’s work. For me, the only way to understand what any figures are trying to tell you, is to go immerse yourself in the source data and wait for the patterns to emerge. So I did. And here’s what I found.

ONS Dataset

The ONS figures consist of four main categories: deaths in hospital, deaths at home and deaths in hospices/care homes. In the graph below, all of these figures have been added together. You can see that there is a huge spike in deaths during March/April 2020. By the middle of May deaths are running below the 5-year average. They pick up again towards the end of August 2020.

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Firstly, I deduce from the above graph that lockdown #1 made no difference to the way that the virus played out (the virus waveform is standard – see the section below on Virus Trends). This is not really surprising, as based on historical evidence lockdowns of healthy people have never been used because they do not work and they damage the economy. Some say that if the lockdown hadn’t happened it would have been worse. There is no supporting evidence for this claim.
Secondly, I deduce that the introduction of mandatory masks has made no difference to death rates, which have continued to climb since the legislation was introduced. The start of the rise in death rates corresponds roughly with the implementation of mandatory masks indoors (8th August). It is not surprising that masks have made no difference. Boris Johnson said back in April 2020 that masks were ineffective, but that the government would probably introduce them anyway, to help ‘get the frightened people back out of their houses’. The WHO tell us that masks do not prevent the wearer from catching a virus. They are being used solely to stop transmission of the virus from asymptomatic people. I’m not going to dive fully down that particular rabbit hole right now, other than to say that the WHO clarified in July 2020 that asymptomatic spread doesn’t happen, only to retract the statement the next day. Furthermore, a study of 10 million people conducted in Wuhan, China concluded that not ONE case of asymptomatic spread occurred. See the following British Medical Journal (BMJ) article.

ONS Breakdown

Here is a breakdown of the ONS figures by Hospital and Other, for COV-SARS2 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. Other consists of nursing homes, hospices and residential homes.

In the above graph, there is a steady rise in COV-SARS2 deaths beginning towards the end of Sept 2020. We know that deaths overall are up for this period and account for 25k of the 70k excess deaths. During the initial spike we weren’t doing any testing, so there are no accurate figures available for COV-SARS2 deaths, only deaths with COV-SARS2 symptoms (which mostly mirror flu and pneumonia). We’re doing testing now though [1] and I can say for certain that many of the excess deaths from the end of Sept 2020 onward have an associated positive test for COV-SARS2. It therefore looks like we might have the start of a second wave. However, the supporting waveform isn’t there (see Virus Trends below).

You can see that as per the first graph, the introduction of masks has had no effect on the spread of COV-SARS2. My eye is immediately drawn to a disparity on the right-hand side of the above graph. Clearly more people are dying with a COVID positive test in hospitals than at home (red and purple lines). However, when it comes to total deaths (green and blue lines), the gap between the lines has narrowed. If we track the deaths back over the year we see that the gap between the blue and green lines is pretty constant until around the end of Oct 2020. Referring back to the first graph, we see that the trend line for overall deaths more closely matches the trend line of Total Other Deaths on this graph. I therefore conclude that although deaths are up this year by 25k over a three / four month period, total hospital deaths are proportionally down for these months. Which means more people are dying at home, in hospices and care homes than normal.

Virus Trends

Listening to the virus experts, with any seasonal flu we would expect to see an initial spike early in the year followed by a downtrend to flat, then a slight uptick into the autumn. By this point the flu has burnt itself out. A new one will likely come around the next year. For the US, this is illustrated in the graph below.

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You can see how COV-SARS2 follows this general trend in the UK throughout 2020. What is missing from the very first graph is a seasonal flu spike in the 5-year average figures. For some reason, averaging the figures produces a flat line and makes it appear that COV-SARS2 is unique and scary. It isn’t. The graph below shows seasonal flu trends in the US. As you can see, we have a spike in flu and a spike in deaths around the same time every year.

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The 1918 Flu Pandemic

What the UK government is frightened of more than anything else is a repeat of the flu pandemic that ravaged the world in 1918/1919. A quick trawl of the internet shows me that the graph below is used to illustrate the life of this virus.

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It was the second spike towards the end of 1918 that did the real damage. Hence the UK government acted in Oct 2020 to stop a further outbreak of COV-SARS2 which they feared would mirror the 1918 pandemic. One thing which is not often discussed is that in 1918/19, the main killer was bacterial pneumonia, not the flu. This is described on the website for the US National Institute of Health (NIS). Amazingly, we find that in the US in 1918/19, the same heated discussions we’re having about masks today played out. They were mandatory in many States. There were dissenters. There was mass hysteria. There was a (propaganda) campaign to encourage the patriotic wearing of masks to help contain the spread. Of course, the masks of 1918/19 were not like today’s medical masks, being mostly homemade and employing 6-layers of cotton. Crosscut have an interesting article and some good photos.

I find the reference to bacterial pneumonia infections interesting, because I recently read an article quoting Dr Robert Zoellner, who is suing Tulsa Health Dept because he’s concluded that bacterial pneumonia infections are on the rise in the US due to the use of cloth masks.

UK Hospital Admissions

In December 2020 and January 2021 the UK mainstream media reported on a new variant of COV-SARS2. They are also reporting that because of this new strain (which has been about since Sept 2020 internationally) hospitals are overwhelmed. The majority of the people being admitted are under 30. This is a new trend. However, the under 30s are not dying. Deaths in this category have not spiked. The vast majority of COV-SARS2 deaths are in the over 70s. This has always been the case.

Conclusion

Based on the analysis I’ve carried out, I have the following observations to make:

1) The introduction of the first lockdown made no difference to the progression of COV-SARS2, which followed a standard seasonal flu waveform.
2) The introduction of mandatory masks and lockdown Tiers have made no difference to infection rates and deaths. Deaths have actually climbed above the seasonal average since the introduction of masks.
3) There is no second wave forming. The pattern of deaths in the UK is following the seasonal trend, although there are 25,000 more deaths this year than the seasonal average.
4) The additional deaths are occurring at home, in care homes and hospices, and not in hospitals.

The interesting question for me is what caused the excess deaths in the last three months of 2020? I’m not a medical expert, obviously, but if this was an analysis of network traffic I’d point my finger at the introduction of masks and start the investigation there. That’s the point when deaths started to climb. There is anecdotal evidence that bacterial pneumonia infections are on the rise with the introduction of masks. Cloth masks are the number one bacteria incubator, due to the warm, moist environment they provide. Cloth masks were made mandatory in many US States just before the main wave of flu struck in Autumn 1918. Bacterial pneumonia was the main killer in 1918/19. If not pneumonia, then perhaps a different bacterial infection. I can’t be 100% certain, but this is where my investigative nose tells me to look.

Unfortunately, I am not able to find the supporting data I require to take this analysis further. People don’t die from COV-SARS2 per se, they die from a symptom of COV-SARS2, such as breathing difficulty, pneumonia or a heart attack. The available government data tells me that COV-SARS2 appears on a death certificate, but it does not say which symptom of the virus caused the complications. If there’s anyone out there who can point me at additional data, please get in contact.

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[1] The test for COV-SARS2 is a nightmare to try and navigate. I’m not going to dive into the complexities of the mess that is the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test which, according to the inventor Kary Mullis should never be used to try and detect a virus. But I will say, that according to UK minister Dominic Raab, the UK were not testing passengers at UK airports in the summer due to a success rate of ‘1 in 10’. Which translates to a 90% false positive.

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