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The fine line between news and satire
Thin as the edge of Occam's razor
A few days ago I noted that all cause deaths are up in Australia. Considerably up. And thus far, we’re not getting much by way of explanation except for hints at death by climate change, or gardening-induced heart disease.
The day after I posted this, The Telegraph in the UK published this article titled, Excess deaths are on the rise - but not because of Covid.
From the article, “Latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there were 1,540 excess deaths in the week ending June 24 but only around 10 per cent were due to coronavirus.”
That leaves 90% of excess deaths unexplained.
The journalist, Sarah Knapton, cites health experts’ fears that the pandemic response, lack of access to healthcare and even the cost of living crisis may be to blame. Knapton concludes with a call from Dr Charles Levinson for a comprehensive government enquiry into this spike in excess deaths. Incredibly, she does not mention climate change as a contributing factor, despite the risks posed by hot nights.
The problem and analysis is much the same as the contents of an article written by the same journalist for The Telegraph 9 months ago, titled, Analysis: Thousands more than usual dying - and not from Covid.
In this article, Knapton offers some hard stats for the period of 2 July 2021 - 24 September 2021 indicating that the bulk of excess deaths were caused by ischemic heart disease, heart failure, circulatory diseases such as stroke and aneurysm, respiratory infections, and other complications related to liver and diabetes.
Knapton notes that the NIH’s focus on Covid response left many patients with no diagnosis or treatment for other life-threatening conditions, potentially contributing to the rise in deaths. Lack of immunity from lockdowns is another cause put forward to explain the hike in deaths related to infectious diseases in particular.
Any explanation for a problem as significant and far reaching as a steep and prolonged increase in all cause deaths is bound to be multifactorial. However, there is one huge, glaring factor that remains unspoken. No one will mention it.
And when I say no one, I mean Western Governments and mainstream media. This is what we get instead. More bamboozlement.
What a time to be alive! Exercise is deadly. Skipping breakfast will strike you down. And shovelling snow? Risky business. Is there anything that doesn’t cause heart disease these days? Or, in the past two years specifically, since our feeds are now populated with warnings of heart disease and early death on the daily?
Occam’s razor suggests that the simplest hypothesis is usually the one most worth pursuing. What has changed in the past 2 years? Has there been any sort of medical intervention that was applied to a majority of adults in Western countries? And among whose key listed side effects are heart disease and other life-threatening issues?
No, say mainstream media. We’re going to scratch around in the bottom of Mary Poppin’s magic bag for the most random selection of explanations possible and try to force these puzzle pieces together with clag glue and pure willpower. They will hold together, dammit.
The line between news and satire truly has become as thin as the edge of Occam’s razor.
I think there would be value in a systematic analysis of mainstream media in Australia, the UK and anywhere else that has seen this hike in unexplained excess deaths to monitor for the number of news pieces about heart disease, heart-related deaths, and sudden deaths during the pandemic period compared to brackets of time prior. I hypothesise that such a quantitative analysis will show an increase in the rate of coverage, but I do not believe that this has been academically tested and supported as yet. If you are aware of such a study, I’d love to know about it. I considered the prospect of doing some kind of analysis to this effect earlier in the year. At this time I think my energy is better spent at the pointy end of current affairs commentary, but I’m open to working on a study of this sort in the future. I also wonder about funding. How likely is it that one can find funding for a study on such a hot-button issue?
There are 4 main factors that seem obvious to me to investigate in seeking an explanation for a rise in excess all cause deaths:
1. Vaccine harm. This is overwhelmingly obvious. The estimated rate of Covid-19 vaccine harm is about 3% according to the VAERS passive reporting system in the US, and we know that VAERS has an underreporting factor of 10-31. In Australia, there is an uncomfortable amount of anecdotal evidence that our monitoring body, the TGA, is not processing vaccine harm reports. Further, there is strong anecdotal evidence that many injuries are not being reported at all, or are not being documented by doctors. In these cases, claims made by laypersons have no backing other than the personal statement of the victim. Australian examples include here, here, and here. Major props to Frank Chung of news.com.au, who appears to be one of the only journalists in Australia willing to put his name to news stories on vaccine harm.
2. Long Covid. Long vax and long Covid seem to be similar. Where people have been vaccinated and have had Covid infections, how can we differentiate between the two conditions? With what causes and how long after a Covid infection could one reasonably be considered to have died due to long Covid?
3. Stress due to lockdowns and other pandemic measures. Post-pandemic stress disorder has been a popular topic in glossies and tabloid news. Whether this is a real disorder or not, stress is linked to bad health outcomes, and the extensive fear campaigns combined with lockdowns, masking, and loss of basic freedoms have caused immense stress, so it warrants investigating.
4. Lack of access to healthcare. This was a specific warning in the Great Barrington Declaration, a treatise for focused protection instead of lockdowns as the best way of managing the pandemic. Drs Kulldorff, Gupta, and Bhattacharya wrote in their declaration (dated 4 October 2020),
”The results [of lockdowns](to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden.”
(Emphasis mine) There ought to be a serious analysis of why these world reknowned experts were ignored, an acknowledgement of the fact that their predictions were correct, and discussion of how we course correct from here.
I’m sure there are other factors for consideration. But if we’re not discussing these big 4. then I think we seriously have to ask - why not?
News just in, a severe case of coinciditis: all cause mortality correlating closely with Covid vaccine take up in European kids and NZ adults. From the internet’s cleverest cat: