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The number of people dying is not the same as in any other year (fullfact.org)
74 points by kirkbackus on Nov 19, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 104 comments

Key point:

> The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 6 November 2020 was 14.3% higher than the five-year average.

But it is good to know that the measures to control COVID-19 are also suppressing flu and pneumonia (though not enough to make up for COVID-19 mortality).

Also, they didn't write the standard deviation, so that 14% is kind of useless

Over a stable population of 10s of millions of people, it's unlikely to be notable.

That misses the point. I want to know whether +14% is a 1,3, or 5 sigma event.

For that calculation stddev is in the denominator and whether it's 2%, 4% or 6% makes a huge difference, notable or not.

It's still very subjective. The thing is that people that are dying of COVID-19 would very likely have died in the new few years, so if you compare deaths over the the last few years to a previous time period their would be very little difference.

I really hope that is "14.3% higher than the 5 year average mortality rate for the first week of November from 2015 - 2019" not "14.3% higher than the 5 year average mortality rate for the entire time period from the start of 2015 to the end of 2019." Because mortality is pretty strongly seasonal.

Edit: "So far this year, up to 6 November, 517,650 people have died from any cause in England and Wales. This is 58,555 more than the five-year average." So the definitely seasonality adjusted excess mortality for the year to date is about 12.7% (or 12.4% possibly, depending on how the leap day was handled).

A whole week of data!?

Oh god just click through, dude. Why are so many hn commenters obsessed with these banalities https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsde...

I should warn you that you might have to scroll a little, lest you find yourself writing a comment in response before you read section 2.

Yup, the data is right there. HN commenters just want to "but aktsualllly..."

The spike in deaths from the UK's first wave is pretty visible in the graphs, and the spike from cases we're seeing now will probably take a few weeks to show up in the data.

what these numbers and the media and your average joe terrified of dying seem to miss is something thats qualitative, not quantitative: quality of life. length of life could be enhanced for many, safe and securely shackled to a bed in a quasi-coma with a feeding tube down your throat. such a person may very well ask to die. it pains me to see ederly and terminally ill people saying goodbye to loved ones on zoom connections. to me, that is a crime against humanity, in the name of safety and security. there are others. we are in a difficult place, to be sure, but how we live matters. but nobody talks about this very basic concept without fear of being labelled a "covidiot".

If _everyone_ wore masks and followed very basic guidelines, the virus would be dead in the water and we could go about living mostly normal lives. People could visit their loved ones, say goodbye to the terminally ill, work, have outdoor dining, see drive in movies. Scarce little impact on quality of life.

Instead vast swathes of the U.S. and other countries flout even the most basic precautions making it impossible for the rest of us to live normal lives.

The argument that being safe == poor quality of life presents a false dichotomy. The truth is that we can be safe _and_ have the same quality of life. Instead many have chosen the third option: they believe that their "right" to shop at Walmart without an extra piece of clothing is more important than people being able to say goodbye to loved ones; more important than their neighbor's wellbeing; more important than the economy.

I would further argue that not only would quality of life not suffer if everyone took basic precautions, in many ways QoL would be _better_. As the statistics are showing we've seen a massive dropoff in cold/flu related deaths, even with poorly implemented COVID protections. Less auto accidents and less pollution. A rise in work from home. The list goes on.

Contrary to the doom and gloom of this year, COVID was really a chance to build a better world. We might just yet do it in small ways. But much of the potential good is being squandered, as it always is, by selfish, ignorant, hateful people.

lots of things can be said when prefaced with, "if everyone would just...". i'm more concerned with reality.

Extripating the virus completely from the population, and keeping it out through total physical isolation of that population from the rest of the world, is a tall task. The question of whether it's an achievable or practical goal to pursue needs to be answered before that is made the objective, and the lifting of lockdown restrictions is made conditioned on the goal being reached.

Anyone advocating that as the goal for society needs to present a plan that has a high chance of succeeding without an unreasonable burden being placed on society. I think maybe the development and mass-deployment of rapid tests for the virus could achieve that, but ironically we don't see much emphasis on this strategy by lockdown advocates. It's almost as if the opposition to the lockdown is all the proof needed to convince some of its advocates that it's the right strategy.

On a side note, we now we see that the lockdown advocates have simply switched their rationale for the lockdown, from "flatten the curve", to "eliminate the virus from the population", once the curve was flattened. For those who believe society is better off being tightly controlled, with heavy restrictions on individuals to achieve larger goals that benefit the public, the coronavirus is the gift that keeps on giving.

> Extripating the virus completely from the population, and keeping it out through total physical isolation of that population from the rest of the world, is a tall task.

The goal is not to erradicar the disease. The goal is to take basic measures so that it's incidence and transmission rate are kept low.

Spain achieved that during the first wave, where in a matter of weeks they managed to get the fatality rate from hundreds per day to the single digits, even achieving days without covid-related deaths.

If the disease is contained, we not only avoid the chance of being infected but we also have a shot at normality.

If the disease is not contained and allowed to ravage the world then all we get is the despair of having people dying left and right while hospitals are saturated far beyond capacity and unable to respond to any need.

>>If the disease is contained, we not only avoid the chance of being infected but we also have a shot at normality.

There is no normality with incredibly disruptive restrictions in place.

>If the disease is not contained and allowed to ravage the world then all we get is the despair of having people dying left and right while hospitals are saturated far beyond capacity and unable to respond to any need.

First of all, the average age of death for the coronavirus is something like 79. For most age groups, the virus is not extremely dangerous - even if it were allowed to spread like wildfire in a population without immunity, far more people under 50 will die from causes other than COVID19 in the virus' first year of exposure to humans. So no, society will not far into despair. 2.8 million people die in the US every year, and people seem to be able to continue to function.

Second, this doesn't go on indefinitely. Eventually people die or recover, with immunity. A population fully subjected to one wave of a virus will be far lessa affected in subsequent waves.

> Extripating the virus completely from the population, and keeping it out through total physical isolation of that population from the rest of the world, is a tall task.

Note that I wasn't arguing for that. My argument is that a few simple, low impact measures would be enough to drop the effective infectivity of the virus low enough that it would fizzle out. There's reason to believe that a simple combination of limiting high-risk social engagements coupled with _strict_, enforced universal face mask requirements would be enough.

That wouldn't 100% eliminate the virus, as it would continue to spread and pool in countries without those guidelines. But for countries that do maintain them it would never gain a foothold.

Keep that up until a vaccine is deployed.

Easy. Low impact on quality of life. That's all I'm arguing.

>>Note that I wasn't arguing for that. My argument is that a few simple, low impact measures would be enough to drop the effective infectivity of the virus low enough that it would fizzle out.

What's the difference between a virus being extripated from a population, and a virus "fizzling out"?

If it's not extripated, then it will immediately start spreading again as soon as those measures are lifted.

>>That wouldn't 100% eliminate the virus, as it would continue to spread and pool in countries without those guidelines.

Note that I didn't say that you argued for eliminating the virus from the entire world. I said that you are advocating extripating the virus from one particular country, and I argued that that would be extremely difficult to pull off and then maintain by physically isolating that country from the rest of the world.

> If it's not extripated, then it will immediately start spreading again as soon as those measures are lifted.

The goal is to maintain measures until a vaccine arrives, eliminating the threat for any said country.

> I argued that that would be extremely difficult to pull off and then maintain by physically isolating that country from the rest of the world.

You don't need the country to be isolated from the rest of the world. If the effective reproduction (R) of your country's population is below 1 it won't spread there, even if the rest of the world is letting it run wild and free.

And it's likely we can get R below 1 for any given population with just strict mask usage and curtailing some higher risk social activities. That's my argument. We don't need to do messy lockdowns, ruin our social lives, etc. If everyone just got on board with those simple measures instead of being selfish.

>>The goal is to maintain measures until a vaccine arrives, eliminating the threat for any said country.

Yes of course, but if the crop of vaccines prove, after more extensive usage, ineffective, or if the virus mutates quickly enough to make the currently developed vaccines ineffective, as many coronaviruses have been known to do, it may lead to indefinite on-off lockdowns.

>You don't need the country to be isolated from the rest of the world. If the effective reproduction (R) of your country's population is below 1 it won't spread there, even if the rest of the world is letting it run wild and free.

That only persists as long as the lockdown measures you mentioned are in place. Yes if you maintain those measures indefinitely, you can keep the virus at bay indefinitely, and that's a different claim than I thought you were initially making.

I think it's very hard to see people dying and suffereing (often) alone. But I'm not sure what the solution to that is...do we open the Covid units up to visitors and ignore the consequence to spread from doing that?

Unfortunately, the politicization has turned this issue into a binary decision with bad outcomes on both ends. I think there is a place for people to engage in a more "normal" life even in the context of the pandemic...but it's hard to define that space in 2020.

Also, in my view, the covidiots aren't the people that wish they could be with their sick or dying relatives/friends. Those are the people that absolutely refuse (as a matter of principle) to do the bare minimum to help contain this...or worse, the people who pack clubs, parties, etc fantasizing that his pandemic doesn't really exist.

> what these numbers and the media and your average joe terrified of dying seem to miss is something thats qualitative, not quantitative: quality of life.

What? What led you to come up with that absurd baseless assertion? I see or saw no such thing ever anywhere. Ever.

What I do see is people forced to social distancing and into lockdowns because irresponsible, egocentric, and outright sociopath people have been perpetually and actively contributing for the disease to spread far and wide due to their apalling behavior.

They keep referencing 5 year average instead of what the maximum deaths were in any of the past 5 years. There were some flu death years that were pretty bad but never got any attention so wonder if that is why they don't mention how it compares to one of the maximums.

.. or standard deviation, for that matter.

This really depends on how far back you look. I was looking at the data for Sweden the other day. If you look at the last 20 years in terms of overall mortality, 2020 is right around the middle: https://mobile.twitter.com/TLennhamn/status/1295269941109764...

It's certainly more than last year, or the year before that, but it's not an outlier for the last two decades.

If you zoom out 200 years, this year's mortality looks awesome!

Yes, the world has become a safer place to live in over the years.

Given the downward trend in age adjusted deaths per million over time, it makes a lot of sense to compare only the most recent years to 2020.

See here to compare monthly mortality rates for every country in 2020 to the the prior 5 year period: https://ourworldindata.org/excess-mortality-covid

I think looking at the last 20 years is pretty reasonable. All the years are within my lifetime. I agree we should not zoom out for the last 200 years.

If the data only looks bad when you look at 5 year window, and not 20 year window, that seems like a pretty fragile argument.

What problems have had advancements in treatment in the last 20 years? HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes. Those are just three things off the top of my head that I know have improved, even without data to support me.

I'm not sure, with the speed of technological improvements in the last decade, that 20 years is appropriate.

Over the last two decades, life expectancy has either peaked in the developed world, or has even declined for some demographics.

Seems appropriate to me.

Not in Sweden. Life expectancy has gone from 77.4 to 81.3 for men since 2000. It does go up every year except for 2014/2015 (80.4 to 80.3).


Interestingly, in the UK the average age of people who die from coronavirus (82.4) is slightly older than the average age of people dying of other causes (81.5).


Why, think about it.

Covid deaths are practically concentrated on age groups over 65 years old.

People dying from other causes aggregate multiple causes which, due to the aggregation, are spread out over the whole age range.

Due to the pyramid shape of the population distribution (they call it population pyramid for a reason) then the median and the mean are shifted towards the base/younger age groups.

Hell, if a disease affected mankind in a way that killed everyone uniformly, the average age of people dying would be around 30 years old.

The way you presented your conclusion implies that dying from covid actually extends your life, which is absurd.

Instead, it just reads that it kills older people disproportionately, and the older you are the more likely you are of dying from it.

Curious if you looked at the underlying data.

Aside from 2018, this year does not even look like much of an outlier: https://mobile.twitter.com/TLennhamn/status/1295269505984344... . 2012 seems to have been deadlier, for Sweden, than 2020, which was 8 years ago.

What about other countries?

Other coutries used lockdowns.

Sweden basically did a lockdown - it just wasn't state-mandated.

If you look at the mobility data [1], you'll see that Sweden followed a very similar trend to its neighbors, and actually maintained lower mobility after other state-mandated lockdowns let up.

[1] https://www.teliacompany.com/sv/om-foretaget/uppdatering/mob...

The arbitrary choice of the reference point makes that bad data.

Either way, using Stockholm as the geographical reference point the chosen point correlates against dark cold Januari/Februari with average temperatures of -1°C and 7-8 hours of twilight. Considering that keeping the relative number below at the height of summer is quite impressive.

To get a better idea of why zooming out 20 years isn't reasonable, take a look at the past 120 years in the US (Sweden's numbers likely follow the same trajectory): https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data-visualization/mortality-trends...

Directly comparing 2000 to 2020 makes little sense given the consistent downward trend and magnitude of difference between 2001-2005 and 2015-2019.

Given the downward trend in adjusted deaths per million over time, a more reasonable approach is to average the last 5 years and compare it to 2020. Doing so, you will find that 2020 has ~750 more deaths per million in Sweden than prior periods. (Keep in mind this approach likely understates the affect of COVID on mortality rate due to the aforementioned trend).

I am afraid it is more complicated than that.

For example, before we decide that the last 5 years are a good average we should look at what the trend of the last 5 years looked like. If for example there was an upwards trend (which it was for many countries around the world) then even without COVID you'd expect that 2020 would have continued on that trend for whatever reason it was going that way. In that case it would be fairly unexciting to say that 2020 was above the 5 year average in the context of COVID.

In my opinion the fairest comparison would be to check if 2020 continued the trend of the last 5 years, or if it had a non linear jump upwards from that trend, but looking at figures such as "above average" doesn't mean anything if every year in the last 5 years was "above average" because it started to trend upwards again.

Swedish life expectancy has been trending up and death rate trending down (the latter from 10.5 to 8.6 per thousand) since 2000.


I think if you look at "excess mortality" rates from other countries and average them out, the 14% increase of deaths in 2020 might make more sense [1]. A +14% increase in mortality rates is statistically significant when compared to the UN projection of +0.44% made before covid-19 [2].

Looking at one county's stats and ignoring all others is making a fragile counter-argument on worldwide death rates.

[1] https://ourworldindata.org/excess-mortality-covid [2] https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/WLD/world/death-rate

> If you zoom out 200 years, this year's mortality looks awesome!

If you compare it with 1666, this is paradise.

Sweden had pretty good numbers over the summer, but sadly have a spike of cases over the last month. Essentially half of the total covid cases in Sweden have occurred in time. So with some lag, I'd expect another jump in deaths soon, too.

The twitter thread linked above is from August, so definitely does not account for these rapidly changing numbers.

(Recent data is available all over the place--here's one source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/sweden/ )

What does "Cumulative Excess Deaths" mean and why does it spend a lot of time trending down?


And what is "Age Adjusted + Population Adjusted Deaths"? (Yes, I get "population adjusted".)

[As of 2019, Sweden's population has increased 16% since 2000, 13% in the 0-17 yrs and 35% in 65+ yrs groups. The population of "Foreign Born" is up 97% (!) vs 11% growth in Swedish citizens. In that time, life expectancy has gone from 77.4 to 81.3 for men, 82.0 to 84.7 for women. "Crude death rate" has gone from 10.5 to 8.6 (per 1000). Source: https://www.scb.se/en/finding-statistics/statistics-by-subje... As a bottom line, I'd suggest Sweden's demographics changes in the last 20 years have been crazy pants.]

Conceptually, age adjustment is something like population adjustment with consideration for age or age bins. As a simple example, suppose you find that the death rate for people 0-64 is X% and 65+ is Y% in 2019.

These rates change in 2020, but the proportion of the population in these age groups changes, too. So you set a baseline proportion (maybe equal to 2019), compute the per-age-group death rates in 2020, and rescale the total death rate so that the age proportions are the same as the 2019 baseline.

The ultimate goal is to correct for the effects of changing age demographics in computing the death rate. You'd use it if want to look at changes that are corrected for, for example, the population as a whole aging.

So many people looking at Sweden which is strange since it’s so middle of the pack.

Looking at the outliers Norway, Denmark on one side and Peru and Ecuador is so much more interesting: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/07/15/tracking...

There are underlying trends in that chart that aren't evident on first glance. The latest data on that chart is from July 2020, several months ago when Sweden had their numbers under decent control.

Even at that take a look at the last few columns, more particularly the slope from month to month in the last couple years. Note how from July 2019 through March 2020 the levels were at or below the previous years, however in the last few months the slope accelerates to an increasing upward monthly trend. I would be quite curious to see this chart with August, Sept, and Oct 2020 data included to see if that acceleration continued. Consider this is what Sweden's case count has looked like: https://i.imgur.com/ofUhXvK.png

In essence this chart is really showing only about 4 months of pandemic influence, and at a time when Sweden was doing pretty well. But in those last 4 months there is a clear accelerating trend in relation to the previous years. I won't say this was cherry picked to be misleading, but at the least it is an incomplete representation of what is happening now.

Looks like 10 normal months and a large spike in April and May to me.

You realize the year ain't over yet.

The data is linearly adjusted to fill out the 2020 data. You are right though, that we don't have the full year's data.

Does it take into account that more people tend to die in December, January, and February than other months? In other words, did they adjust December properly?


I agree that we can't look at the whole year until it's over, due to the irregular level of spread throughout the year.

However, it's interesting to note that during the first ten weeks of 2020, 8% fewer people died in Sweden compared to the average of 2015-2019, and 2020 had in fact the lowest number of deaths of the last six years[1] during the first ten weeks of each year.

[1] https://scb.se/hitta-statistik/statistik-efter-amne/befolkni... (Excel file, Tabell 5, fairly easy to translate)

Well, that does pose a bit of a problem comparing across years, doesn't it? I'd like to see this sort of statistical analysis done after the calendar flips over to 2021, taking into account the trend of fewer deaths per year, so we could see if there is a "COVID spike" in the data, and what the magnitude of it is.

The part I found interesting was the number of death from flu and pneumonia:

5 year average: 28,140 deaths

2020 so far: 18,325 deaths (does not include November and December!)

COVID 2020: 53,675 deaths

So while it does seem to be killing some people who would've died from the flu/pneumonia anyway, it's still nearly double the 5 year average which would make it one hell of a bad flu strain.

In Germany the number of deaths from COVID-19 is below the number of people who died from influenza in 2017/2018. So far COVID-19 klilled about 13000 people, while the official numbers for influenza 2017/18 is between 20000 and 25000.

Because you guys in Germany took the virus seriously and put measures in place. The US went full YOLO.

Nope, that's not a good explanation. German measures we're about the same as the in Western and Southern european nations, even too late. Most others were 2 weeks earlier.

The best explanation is that Germany and similar countries just have proper healthcare for seniors, esp. the retirement homes. The protected the vulnerable better. The bad countries are all united in cost cuts in those homes and healthcare. France, Belgium, UK, Spain, NL, Italy, US, Brazil. Belgium had the highest IFR due to not enough masks for caregivers. They had to share it. Spain et al also destroyed their previously excellent systems with the recent rightwing governments.

Socialism is apparently the best cure for COVID-19. Even if Germany is extremely rightwing, they still have proper healthcare and caregiving infrastructure.

People in the US complain that the pandemic is mismanaged and that too many people are dying. People in Germany complain that the pandemic is taken too seriously. Grass is always greener, I suppose.

You'll find both kinds of people in both countries.

the reason is they instituted lockdowns and better leadership through crisis. flu is transmitted pretty much identically to covid so any mitigation that slows down covid by nature slows down the flu. coupled with a vaccine that is moderately effective you have a much lower incidence rate of the flu occurring and killing.

Keep in mind we have no control for these numbers as a point of comparison; these are numbers which factor in efforts to quarantine and reduce contact spreading among the symptom-less.

The western world is much more cavalier when it comes to the flu and cold viruses (shopping and coming into work sick, not wearing masks on public transport, etc.)

I think the measures account for the lower flu/pneumonia deaths as a side effect.

I am 100% certain that bunch of so called covid deaths were due to other things non covid related.

And a bunch of non-COVID deaths were COVID related. This is why you look at all-cause mortality---where in the US/UK at least, things look worse, not better.

Some of the excess deaths this year were due to the way we handled covid and not the disease itself. Suicides are up. Medical care is being skipped or postponed (cancers are not found as early). So no, I don't think you can look at all cause mortality and say that any excess means the lockdown should be stricter.

Suicides are easy to identify.

There's no reason to believe that cancers missed in the past 8 months would have appreciably immediate consequences as there's not much that can be done about late stage cancers. Plus, like suicide, cancer deaths are obvious and I haven't seen any substantial increase in those numbers.

Finally, studies from just a couple of months ago studying cardiovascular disease deaths showed that there's been a decrease in those deaths. It's hypothesized that deaths from early intervention (e.g. bypass surgery) have been avoided, and the expected increase from untreated disease is still further out. Even if deaths from untreated CVD are finally upon us (post study period), it wouldn't substantially effect mortality numbers from the previous 8-month period.

In other words, it's easy to subtract these things from all-cause mortality. But AFAIK doing so doesn't significantly change the numbers.

Furthermore, there's little reason to doubt the potential lethality of COVID-19, given the hard and indisputable CFRs and IFRs from Italy, New York, and Wuhan, all of which occurred during a very short period of time, and largely before significant mitigations were put into place. Thus, while mortality rates clearly vary across different regions, there's little reason to believe that this fact alone disputes the inherent lethality of COVID-19, but rather reflects environmental (including social) differences across regions and across time, and thus little reason to believe that mortality increases elsewhere are principally the result of anything but COVID-19.

The sun may never come up tomorrow. Aliens might land and wipe us out in the next hour. You might spontaneously quantum teleport to Alpha Centauri while reading this reply. These are all possibilities. But possibilities aren't probabilities; they're two different things. Merely suggesting that something is possible does not refute the probable likelihood of an alternative. Conflation of those is what makes FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) seem credible to the naive or wanton contrarians.

Suicides are up.

The evidence for that is quite weak.

From https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4352

Overall, the literature on the effect of covid-19 on suicide should be interpreted with caution. Most of the available publications are preprints, letters (neither is peer reviewed), or commentaries using news reports of deaths by suicide as the data source.

"Some commentators made predictions of a large rise in suicides, which was reported in some cases with sensationalist language. But so far, thankfully, this hasn’t been borne out. While the publishing of suicide figures normally takes many months, the initial indications for 2020 suggest that there hasn’t been a rise this year."


Most of those excess deaths won't show up this year.

In general, it takes longer than nine months to go from cancer screening to death.

We don't actually know that suicides are up, because the data is yearly (which is a problem we should probably solve).

All cause mortality is a rough number, but it's the only one that will eventually allow us to measure the impact of the pandemic in a few years.

You san say that for the flue and friends as well.

And don't forget the long-term health impacts for those that survive. This will have implications for years to come.

Yes, the long-haulers and COVID-19 heart damage are particularly concerning. Also there is some evidence suggesting that a large fraction hospitalized for COVID-19 end up with mental health issues even if they did not have them before. Some of that might be down to the traumatic experience but there's some reason to think COVID-19 infections cause neurological impacts.

IMO, there's reason to think that COVID-19 has negative mental health effects even on people who never get the disease.

That's definitely true too -- the rates of mental illness are something like doubled in the base population. But the frequency for people who have been sick is much higher than the general population, even accounting for the spike in overall mental illness.

For sure, this needs study too. There have been studies of those who were given treatment though and it shows a correlation. We don’t know, for sure, that COVID-19 is the direct cause of mental issues or a side effect but it’s been recorded in a sample.

I think a study of a general population sample for mental health issues with or without a prior COVID-19 diagnosis would show how varying the COVID-19 patients experiences are vs how everyone else is fairing.

I’m not a scientist or a therapist so I don’t know the exact approach to use to do the comparison but I suspect it could be done.

As with other types of viruses. Nerve damage is very common.

> As with other types of flu.

COVID-19 is not a type of the flu, in the same way that a human is not a type of bat.

Unless you’re Bruce Wayne. Sorry, couldn’t resist...

Probably a better analogy would be a bat is not a type of bird.

Fun fact:

The Bible counts bats as birds.

Leviticus 11: 19

“And these you shall detest among the birds;a they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon of any kind, every raven of any kind, the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind, the little owl, the cormorant, the short-eared owl, the barn owl, the tawny owl, the carrion vulture, the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat."

Interesting, I never knew ostrich or heron were "haram". Herons used to be a famous delicacy in mediaval Europe.


And ostriches are moderately popular now

There is no evidence that these kinds of impacts are even remotely common.

Are you sure? From https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/... :

> In this study of a cohort of German patients recently recovered from COVID-19 infection, CMR revealed cardiac involvement in 78 patients (78%) and ongoing myocardial inflammation in 60 patients (60%), independent of preexisting conditions, severity and overall course of the acute illness, and time from the original diagnosis. These findings indicate the need for ongoing investigation of the long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19.

Note that this study includes a group of COVID survivors who have recently recovered, and 2 control groups: healthy, age-matched participants, and a group of risk-factor matched control patients. It is published in JAMA Cardiology.

Obviously, this study doesn't say anything about truly long-term consequences of COVID, but that, IMO, is more because we haven't had time to reach "long-term" status yet. I would give it at least another 6 months to a year before making up my mind about the incidence of long-term consequences.

Was the same study conducted for influenza in 2017/18? I had a really bad case of flu for about two weeks and feld like I got five years older during that time.

The major problem I see is that we currently watch the whole COVID-19 under amicroscope and discover a lot of horrible things. Actually, if you are a researcher, the only way to get attention is by finding horrible things. If we had done the same for epidemics in the past, would we have found horrible things as well?

> Obviously, this study doesn't say anything about truly long-term consequences of COVID

Exactly. And it's insane to just assume there is long-term damage with no evidence whatsoever.

Also, it would likely be possible to say something about actual long-term damage if it existed by monitoring patients' recovery and extrapolating.

How about this, then. From https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-hidden-long-term-cog... :

> There is one inevitable conclusion from these studies: COVID infection frequently leads to brain damage — particularly in those over 70. While sometimes the brain damage is obvious and leads to major cognitive impairment, more frequently the damage is mild, leading to difficulties with sustained attention.

> Although many people who have recovered from COVID can resume their daily lives without difficulty — even if they have some deficits in attention — there are a number of people who may experience difficulty now or later. One recently published paper from a group of German and American doctors concluded that the combination of direct effects of the virus, systemic inflammation, strokes, and damage to bodily organs (like lungs and liver) could even make COVID survivors at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease in the future. Individuals whose professions involve medical care, legal advice, financial planning, or leadership — including political leaders — may need to be carefully evaluated with formal neuropsychological testing, including measures of sustained attention, to assure that their cognition has not been compromised.

I think brain damage counts as "long-term damage," don't you?

No. The brain is an organ, not a span of time.

Well, now you're being deliberately obtuse, didn't bother to read the link, or perhaps both. The link I posted above compared the symptomology of COVID-related brain damage to moderate TBI. As the American Association of Neurological Surgeons says at https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-T... :

> Patients with moderate head injuries fare less well. Approximately 60 percent will make a positive recovery and an estimated 25 percent left with a moderate degree of disability. Death or a persistent vegetative state will be the outcome in about 7 to 10 percent of cases. The remainder of patients will have a severe degree of disability.

Lack of sleep also significantly impacts the performance on neuropsychological testing. The question is not what kind of symptoms Covid can cause, but how long they last.

The interesting question, to me, is whether we will see a visible spike in all-cause mortality for, let's say, 2020-2025.

COVID-19 is particularly hard on the elderly, which is by no means an inevitable fact about epidemics. Every person who dies of this disease would have lived longer, which makes their death a tragedy: but how much longer?

Cards on the table: my suspicion is that we won't. I could be wrong, particularly if recovering from the disease shortens lifespans for an appreciable number of patients. We'll know when we know.

Add to that the health complications of missed cancer scans, "quarantine 15" weight gain, economic turmoil, lost education, drug addiction and mental health. I'm guessing middle aged people's death rates will be increasing the next few years with cancer, heart disease and suicides all increasing.

If you look at data for my country (Scotland) it the 45 - 64 age group have occupied the most hospital beds during the pandemic.


Scroll to “Hospital Admissions by Age Group”

So while some scans etc will have been missed for this age group during lockdown, they would also have suffered losses as a result of an overwhelmed health system.

The way I look at covid for older demographics is that they now have an additional top killer in addition to cancer and cardiovascular disease. So effectively, people are about 2x more likely to die this year* than they would have otherwise. So if their odds of surviving one year from 60 to 61 was 5% last year, then they're odds of dying are 10% this year* . The same can sort of be applied for under 40s. If they had a 0.01% chance of dying in the next year, then they now have a 0.02% chance this year*

*given that they contract covid

February through July, an average of 9.3 years of life lost.


"Deaths among adults 65 and older accounted for 80% of excess YLL in April but only 36% of excess YLL in June. Since April, working age adults 20-64 have accounted for 47% of excess YLL, and males 20 to 64 have contributed 34%."


I suspect we might even see a reduction in all cause mortality: Those who were going to die in 2020-2025 without the virus for health reason, were more likely to die this year because of covid.

Maddening that they don't manage to present clear data points - deliberately, or because they don't know any better?

Like what is the point of comparing flu deaths between January and August with Covif219 deaths in the same time period? Perhaps those two diseases have different seasons? (Maybe not, but they way they present it, it is impossible to know). Perhaps all the flu deaths happen in December and all the Corona deaths in March? (Just an example). Also for example Sweden had exceptionally few deaths last years, leaving exceptionally many people "ripe to die" this year (what Marginal Revolution calls the "Dry Cinder Effect").

Also comparing to averages can also be very misleading. It is in fact to be expected that any given year deviates from the average. It would be very odd if every year was exactly on the average.

Then in the middle of comparing death rates of previous years, they seem to jump to absolute counting of Covid19 deaths again ("The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show"). When the whole point of looking a death rates of previous years is to establish how many excess deaths were really attributable to Covid19.

exactly. to boot, if you look at death rates for all of the UK, they have been on an upward trend for the past several years so it is no surprise that deaths would higher this year than in any year in the past five years https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/GBR/united-kingdom/dea...

UK death rate, 2015: 9.179 / 1000; 2020: 9.413.

Calculated total deaths, 2015 (pop. 64.85 million): 595,258.15; 2020 (pop. 67.89 million): 639,048.57.

Difference: 43,790.42. Weekly averages: 11,000 - 12,000.

See Figure 1, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/... for a chart of England's excess mortality.

"In week 16 2020, an estimated 22,351 all-cause deaths were registered in England and Wales (source: Office for National Statistics). This is an increase compared to the 18,516 estimated death registrations in week 152020. ... In the devolved administrations,no statistically significant excess all-cause mortality for all ages was observed for Northern Ireland or Wales in week 17. Statistically significant excess all-cause mortality for all ages was observed for Scotland in week 15." (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/...)

It looks like the peak occurred in week 17, with 22,351 deaths.

Might be true, and likely is for England, but not for Wales. The data presented on this website doesn't show the flu death curves for 2017 - 2020, only the spike of this year. And you cannot compare a spike with a 5 year average. You either compare the absolute numbers or the curves.

Here are some proper curves where you can see the UK (England) problem: https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/#z-scores-by-country

And compare to other countries with a similar failing nursing system, to the ones with a proper one.

This year has brought major lifestyle changes to a lot of people. Can you tell how much this affects mortality?

Hopefully they can redo this article with more countries stats, I would love to know USA, China, India, etc

CDC's numbers as of today, scroll down to the "Weekly number of deaths (from all causes)" section


The worst thing is: healthcare in my country is so focused on some bogus COVID "pandemic" that it starts to neglect other branches of medicine. Yes, there will be more deaths this year than average, but those people won't die from coronavirus, they will die from untreated cancer, cardiovascular disease, etc.

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