Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Mark Twain famously said: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

He was right. When it comes to this corona virus story there is no end of misinformation. It is not just that however. The biggest problem is the complete lack of context. But then reporting these things correctly just might not have the desired effect. That of scaring the population into hiding, terrified, in their own homes eh? Think about it.

Here is a look at some statistical data and how it can put this present “crisis” into context. A serious, but sometimes light-hearted, look at some numbers the media will probably not be telling you (just yet)…

Finding Data – Not as Easy as it used to be…

Firstly a quick point to be aware of. Finding this kind of data is actually harder now than it was only a couple of months ago. More on this to come in future posts…

Italy

I love Italy (just thought I should say) so let’s start there. Italy is now supposedly the hot-spot. That’s if China’s figures are now to be believed -and we all know that China would not hide anything from the rest of the world right? 

There have already been reasonable explanations as to why the Italian outbreak was so intense (e.g. the extremely high number of Chinese imported as slave labour to make fashion items so they can be labelled “Made in Italy”). Similarly for Iran, being another area of high incidence. I decided to look into some data about Italy….

After a little digging I found a report on deaths in Italy between the 2013/14 and 2016/17 winter flu seasons. In those four winter flu seasons the report highlighted the following:

  • An estimated average of 5,290,000 flu related cases occurred in Italy, corresponding to an incidence of 9%.
  • More than 68,000 deaths attributable to flu epidemics were estimated in the study period.
  • Italy showed a higher influenza attributable excess mortality compared to other European countries. Especially in the elderly. (Does this last one sound familiar?)

Now for the interesting detail. In the “Results” section it lists numbers of deaths per season over this period:
“We estimated excess deaths of 7,027,  20,259,  15,801 and 24,981 attributable to influenza epidemics in the 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17, respectively…”

Those figures are quite a surprise eh? The first one has already been passed with this corona thing. But only if you believe that all the deaths in Italy this past few months were corona related and there are no (zero/zilch/zip/nessuno) normal flu deaths. Is that even possible in any given year? I think not, but I will come to this in a moment. It is also worth noting that in this study there were several strains of “flu” in action.

If you want to read the article yourself, in full, then here is the Link:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1201971219303285

ONS Data…

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is, by their own words, “…the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and its recognised national statistical institute. We are responsible for collecting and publishing statistics related to the economy, population and society at national, regional and local levels.”  So its data should be the best place to start for UK cases. Right?
Wrong!

Up to week 10 they only had deaths by ‘respiratory disease’ (often brought on by influenza).  And this is quite normal, every year. Then came the government lock-down. What a surprise that (as of week 12) the numbers are being shunted under a new heading! And that heading is the star of the show, Covid-19 of course. What else? Over the coming weeks this ONS data will (have to) show that it is Covid-19 doing all (or most of) the killing. Once again we will be led to believe (more or less) that only the corona virus is killing people. This seems to be the case in most countries. However bad (or otherwise) this outbreak is, they are most certainly starting to ‘cook the books’.  (For Source Data: Click here )

Do you really believe that shit? Is this Covid-19 some super intelligent and scheming bug that can muscle other flu viruses out of the picture?
“Hey H1N1. Feck off. I’m the daddy now.” (“Scum” movie link there folks!)
“The Coronaleone family will make these other bugs an offer they can’t refuse.” (Yeah, “Godfather” reference there.)
Come on folks. It has to be time to wise up. This hysteria is mainly just that. Whipped up by governments and mainstream media presumably for some other (as yet) hidden agendas.

Germany

The German scenario has attracted a little interest from the mainstream media. Not least because it seems to have weathered the storm better than other European countries. Could it be because they have just been through all this recently? Well achtung baby…read on.

Around 25,100 people lost their lives in Germany in the exceptionally strong flu wave in 2017/18, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). This was the highest number of deaths in the past 30 years. The following season (2018/19), the flu caused 3.8 million doctor visits – less than half as many doctor visits as in the previous season. That following year some 40,000 patients were hospitalised “many with acute respiratory distress”. Does that symptom ring any bells? Yet there was no hysterical news about lack of respirators (vee haf vays of making you breath). Nobody proclaiming the end of the world was there? About either of these two flu seasons. I only found the data almost by accident. 

Maybe the German health system is so much better than Italy and the the rest of the world? Maybe the just took it in their stride. I wouldn’t know. Can anyone help out on that one?

What I definitely know however, is that in different years, in different countries there are huge numbers of deaths by flu. There will be various strains with various medical names. Sometimes called “coronavirus” – because there have been several already. This Covid-19 is only so called because it was a coronavirus discovered in 2019

When it’s all over…?

What will happen after the dust settles? It’s a good question. If my predictions are correct then that should happen sooner rather than later. Plus, there will be a lot of red faces trying to look as though locking up all your citizens was all the right thing. No doubt actually claiming that the measures worked in “preventing the spread of the virus”. There will be a lot of questions being asked.

Will it be the social distancing that made all the difference? Or the lock-down?
Will the death toll be as bad as predicted or not?
Should the governments have acted quicker or not?
I really don’t know the answers to these questions. Nor do I  particularly care what the politicians and media responses are. Those responses will almost certainly be biased and untrue. Twisted statistics etc…

The one thing I do want to know is this: What will the western world’s response be to China? We certainly need to become more self sufficient and less reliant on China. We also need to recognise and protect our borders a lot more. What is the point in putting your entire population under house arrest if you still allow flights in from the country which started the outbreak?

That type of policy has no sense, and no amount of lies, damn lies or statistics can make it seem otherwise.

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