Government agencies report COVID related deaths. That word “related” is very important, because proving causality has proven contentious.
During the pandemic many deaths have occurred, approaching 2 million Americans. Ponder this: Have large numbers of excess deaths over pre-pandemic years resulted from something other than COVID infections?
There have been increasing articles and studies about excess deaths during the pandemic. Too many of these seem aimed at getting attention rather than being accurate and balanced. The concept of excess deaths is simple: deaths above what was normally observed before the pandemic. But why are more people dying even after accounting for COVID infection deaths? Getting to the correct answer is the goal of this article.
The core issue in seeking truth is how to evaluate excess deaths during the pandemic and then explain them if they are not caused by COVID infections. If there really are non-infection excess deaths, then the goal is to rise above often bad and uncertain data from government agencies to correctly figure out whether something especially concerning is happening. Perhaps something that governments do not want to acknowledge and deal with, as we shall see.
Classification of deaths
To get to the truth about excess deaths it is important to make a critical distinction by defining two classes of deaths.
Class 1: First, direct pandemic effects are twofold.
Most attention is needed to assess the magnitude of deaths from COVID infection. These include breakthrough cases that are COVID infections despite full vaccination.
The other direct impact is deaths from COVID vaccines.
Class 2: The second class is very different. They are indirect health impacts resulting from actions other than from direct medical actions aimed at addressing COVID.
These are the many collateral deaths resulting from severe contagion controls used by federal and state governments, especially lockdowns, stay at home mandates, limited hospital and physician access, school closings, job losses, travel restrictions and widespread impacts on personal and medical freedom.
These many indirect impacts cause large numbers of deaths across the entire population. They are the collateral damage caused by pandemic government authoritarian actions, but not infections nor COVID vaccines. They are done, supposedly, in the name of public health.
The government does not collect comprehensive data on these indirect deaths. Be clear about this category of deaths. They are caused by all the public health systems to address the pandemic.
To be clear, deaths directly associated with COVID infections cover a range of situations. Government agencies report COVID related deaths. That word “related” is very important, because proving causality has proven contentious. Most physicians see causality when deaths occur soon after COVID symptoms or a positive test result.
There are reasons why there are legitimate concerns and criticisms of official COVID death data. It comes down to what criteria are used to declare a death as either caused by COVID or just, in some way, related to the infection.
US federal and state agencies have, for the most part, been very liberal in declaring deaths as COVID ones. This has resulted from financial incentives, political motivations (maintaining public fear and acceptance of authoritarian government actions) and procedural government guidance.
In the latter category are guidelines from CDC for death certificates issued in March 2020 that replaced a practice used for the previous 17 years. This change allowed physicians, medical examiners and coroners to place less importance on all kinds of health problems contributing to a death and, if there was any evidence of COVID virus infection from testing (before or after death) or symptoms, to declare a death as a COVID one.
In other words, many people, especially the elderly, could have died with COVID but NOT from COVID. They may have died from their underlying medical problems and weakened immune system more than effects directly associated with COVID infection. Some die because they have been given the very expensive approved drug remdesivir that causes acute liver and kidney problems, and has a death rate of over 25%. Yet their deaths go into the COVID death column.
On the other side, is the view that some people have died from COVID infection but their death has not been officially declared as a COVID death. Most likely these have been people who have died at home without medical attention. It is difficult to believe that the numbers of deaths in this class could account for a large excess death figure. Why? Because people who die from COVID infection almost always experience severe symptoms as they move from stage one viral replication to stages two and three when vital organs are attacked, especially breathing problems. These typically cause them to seek medical attention, usually hospitalization where so many COVID deaths occur.
Not to be dismissed, is the reality that many COVID deaths have preempted a number of normally occurring deaths, such as from the seasonal flu and many types of accidents in a more mobile population. The latter are subsumed in the COVID death data. They do not explain excess deaths. If anything, they reduce non-infection excess deaths.
Taking all this into consideration means that COVID death totals are most likely to overstate the lethality of COVID. In fact, as I have discussed elsewhere, COVID lethality for the whole population was initially overstated by Fauci to justify extreme government actions and mass vaccination. He started the pandemic by wrongly saying that the China virus was so much more deadly than the seasonal flu. Only the elderly had a high risk of death (and younger people with serious underlying medical problems) that warranted focused government attention, initially by using safe and effective generics, namely ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, and later vaccines.
In seeking truth about excess deaths, it is most important to recognize the countless and not quantitatively reported indirect impacts of the pandemic on health and deaths of very large numbers of people who were not actually at significant risk from COVID infection.
Deaths have resulted, for example, from people not getting normal pre-pandemic health care from treatment to prevention and suffering from extreme mental stress (often pushing addiction and suicide) caused by abnormal living and negative economic conditions. Unlike direct pandemic deaths there is hardly any useful tabulation of indirect pandemic death impacts by government agencies. In the name of public health government agencies have harmfully impacted the lives of nearly all Americans.
There is need for caution when seeing numerical excess deaths beyond official COVID deaths, in coming up with explanations that involve controversial causes. The big example is blaming what seems as major excess deaths on COVID vaccines. Especially if the many indirect pandemic causes of death are not addressed, mainly because data are not readily available.
Also note that breakthrough COVID infections in fully vaccinated people that sometimes cause death are appropriately categorized as direct COVID deaths.
As I have discussed, declining vaccine ineffectiveness (especially for variants) make the fully vaccinated vulnerable to dying from COVID infection. But it would be wrong to say that these deaths are different than COVID ones. And wrong to place these deaths in a category of vaccine deaths. Moreover, as I have analyzed, breakthrough deaths in the US most likely account for tens of thousands of deaths, much smaller than true excess deaths. Though their numbers are likely to increase in coming months and years as mass vaccination continues. For example, recently this was reported: “Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said that more than 40 percent of people who have died from Wuhan coronavirus in the state of Maryland over the last 6-8 weeks were fully vaccinated.”
To recap, it is important to focus on the many causes of vaccine induced deaths and collateral deaths that do not result from the viral infection. Make no mistake, there are now widely recognized medical explanations of vaccine induced deaths, including a broad array of serious blood problems that this author has reviewed. Data on vaccine deaths will be examined below.
Indirect health impacts
A March 2021 study examined how the pandemic caused non-infection health impacts and made it clear that they cannot be ignored.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and global efforts to contain its spread, such as stay-at-home orders and transportation shutdowns, have created new barriers to accessing healthcare, resulting in changes in service delivery and utilization globally.”
“One hundred and seventy studies were included in the final analysis. Nearly half (46.5%) of included studies focused on cardiovascular health outcomes. The main methodologies used were observational analytic and surveys. Data were drawn from individual health facilities, multicentre networks, regional registries, and national health information systems. Most studies were conducted in high-income countries with only 35.4% of studies representing low- and middle-income countries.”
“Healthcare utilization for non-COVID-19 conditions has decreased almost universally, across both high- and lower-income countries. The pandemic’s impact on non-COVID-19 health outcomes, particularly for chronic diseases, may take years to fully manifest and should be a topic of ongoing study.”
A November 2020 article Death by Lockdown “forecasted more than 100,000 excess deaths due to drug overdoses, suicide, alcoholism, homicide, and untreated depression – all a result not of the virus but of policies of mandatory human separation, economic downturn, business and school closures, closed medical services, and general depression that comes with a loss of freedom and choice.” What was recognized is “that as bad as a virus is, policies that wreck normal social functioning will cause massive and completely unnecessary suffering and death. “
A new article from the New York Post made these wise observations:
“Instead of keeping calm and carrying on, the American elite flouted the norms of governance, journalism, academic freedom — and, worst of all, science. They misled the public about the origins of the virus and the true risk it posed. Ignoring their own carefully prepared plans for a pandemic, they claimed unprecedented powers to impose untested strategies, with terrible collateral damage. We still have no convincing evidence that the lockdowns saved lives, but lots of evidence that they have already cost lives and will prove deadlier in the long run than the virus itself. A few scientists and public-health experts objected, noting that an extended lockdown was a novel strategy of unknown effectiveness. In April 2020, John Ioannidis, Jay Bhattacharya and other colleagues reported that the fatality rate among the infected was considerably lower than the assumptions used to justify lockdowns.”
The TB case has been one of worst collateral health impacts of the pandemic. This was documented in a detailed story. “Tuberculosis killed roughly 1.5 million people in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, up from 1.4 million in 2019. And researchers say COVID is to blame.” And there is every indication that it has gotten much worse worldwide. “The COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress and efforts in the fight against tuberculosis,” said Dr. Tereza Kasaeva, head of WHO’s global TB program. Kasaeva said that COVID lockdowns, limited access to health care and patients’ concerns about visiting medical clinics made TB far more deadly during the pandemic.”
Justin Hart of Rational Ground said in October 2021 that “It’s estimated that 50% of regular child immunizations were missed in the spring of 2020. You can do some actual math and I feel confident in saying that more children will die from missed vaccines in a year’s time than died of COVID-19.” This is just another example of a collateral impact of the pandemic.
Another study “found that COVID-19 was cited in only 65% of excess deaths in the first weeks of the pandemic (March-April 2020); deaths from non–COVID-19 causes (eg, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, heart disease) increased sharply in 5 states with the most COVID-19 deaths.”
The conclusion is that when examining excess deaths, it is important to recognize indirect deaths resulting from pandemic control actions by governments.
The Economist article
Here are highlights from a discussion of this widely addressed article titled “The pandemic’s true death toll.”
This conclusion was the attention grabber: “Fifteen million more people have died during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to historical norms, according to a recent October report by the Economist. This figure is more than three times the reported COVID-19 deaths, which stands at 4.6 million people.” In other words, about 10 million excess deaths over direct COVID infection deaths.
“And what about people who died of preventable causes during the pandemic because hospitals full of COVID-19 patients could not treat them? If such cases count, they must be offset by deaths that did not occur but would have in normal times, such as those caused by flu or air pollution.” These ideas fall into the class of indirect COVID impacts.
The Economist had to invoke indirect pandemic impacts in addition to vaccine induced deaths. When speaking of many millions of excess deaths globally, the only rational explanation are the widespread indirect pandemic impacts that have devastated the entire global population. This means that it has not been the virus that has killed most people, but rather government actions. It is quite plausible that for every COVID death two more people have died from the indirect impacts of pandemic management.
Here are the data reported for North America: 675,000 COVID deaths and 843,000 excess deaths (middle uncertainty). That is a very large number of excess deaths that could only be explained by health impacts of government actions. For the US it was reported that the cumulative COVID-19 infection deaths have reached close to 650,000, and excess deaths are 820,000, presumably indirect deaths. Updating, for the current US 730,000 infection deaths that implies 921,000 indirect collateral deaths.
Important NIH and other results
Here is an important observation from a recent report from the NIH. “Roughly 2.9 million people died in the United States between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Compared with the same period in 2019, there were 477,200 excess deaths, with 74% of them due to COVID-19.” That amounts to 343,584 COVID deaths during the first year of the pandemic; it is consistent with the over 730,000 COVID deaths reported since 2020.