How do we know what the real fatal effects of the Covid pandemic will be?

11 September 2020 By Paul Martin

A very worrying statistic has just emerged from a new survey, reported by the professional Health Service journal HSJ.

HSJ News
Cancers detected by screening services fall by over 60pc

It seems obvious from this that far fewer cancers will have ben detected this year than in any of the last five years. And therefore far more people will only discover they have cancer at a much later stage – which means that far greater numbers of cancer victims will die than would usually pass away in ‘normal’ times.

This trend will probably apply to detection of many diseases, including heart problems, brain diseases and so on.

As has previously discussed, the real way to measure the damage done by the Covid pandemic, and by our reaction to it, will come from the “excess deaths” statistics that the Office of National Statistics gathers. After two years we will be able to see how many “excess deaths” there have been in 2020 and 2021.

The suspicion is that 2020 will show a huge number of excess deaths – probably around 90 thousand. The usual average number of deaths per year from all causes in the Uk is around 600 thousand, so we can expect it will be 690,000 this year.

Cumulative deaths since 20 March 2020, by date of registration, England.
Cumulative excess deaths (A) and the ratio of registered deaths to expected deaths (B) by age group, males, England.

Then, because many of those will have been elderly or very sick people who then were infected by Covid which hastened their deaths, there should be a lower-than-average death rate in 2021. That’s because more will have died in 2020 rather than in 2021 (the year they would have died had there been no Covid).

Weekly excess deaths by date of registration, England.

However the problem with assuming we can now rely on this vital statistic is: who knows if large numbers of deaths from Covid, or from illness exacerbated by Covid, will in fact continue in 2021 ?

Oh dear.

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