At a time when WHO and other globalists are attempting to stamp out free speech, establishing “disinformation armies” across the western world, decent people continue to use their skill to debate each other in a search for the truth.
Further alternative explanations for excess deaths other than a novel deadly virus spreading from Wuhan
What are the theories?
By Thomas Verduyn at Panda Uncut.
On Feb 17, 2023, Daily Sceptic published an article by Will Jones entitled, “Covid-19 and Excess Deaths: A Defense of the Virus Theory.” A response to that article was published by Jonathan Engler et al. in early March which can be found here. This article builds some complementary arguments in response to the same article.
Will Jones’ Daily Sceptic article thesis is that “the main thing driving excess deaths over the last three years… is the new SARS-like virus….” He offers three principal arguments in support of this thesis, namely:
- SARS-CoV-2 is special, and unusually infectious.
- There is no proof that non pharmaceutical interventions caused excess deaths.
- Medical metrics all rise and fall in unison.
Throughout the article mention is made of authors with differing views, and various comments are made for the purpose of refuting them. Unfortunately, there are several key problems with this article, not only with his central thesis, but also with his arguments and rebuttals. We shall begin by considering his three arguments.
1. The claim that SARS-CoV-2 is special and unusually infectious
No proof is offered in support of this claim. The question is: Is it actually unusually infectious? The evidence suggests not. For example, it is reported that during the one-month isolation of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, only 19% of those on board were infected. This limited spread happened even though sick crew members continued to serve meals and clean rooms. If SARS-CoV-2 is truly a novel virus with unusual infectivity, why did the remaining 81% of those on board neither test positive nor get sick? Similar accounts abound around the globe. For example, a study in May 2020 of a grocery retail store in Massachusetts found 20% of employees tested positive for Covid. Of these, only 24% were actually sick. If Covid was so unusually infectious, why did 80% of employees (people that interact daily with the public), test negative? And if Covid was so special, why were less than 5% (20% x 24%) of employees actually sick? This question is especially relevant given that May 2020 was near the peak of the first wave in Massachusetts. Further, since it is now generally accepted that PCR tests have a propensity to produce false positives, the number of infections is almost certainly lower than what is here reported.
2. The claim that there is no relationship between policy interventions and deaths
In the first place, alternative theories about what drove excess deaths do not necessarily depend on whether or not policy interventions such as lockdowns and mask mandates were the driving force. Nevertheless, let us examine the five papers that are offered in support of his theory. What can be noted, and that by Jones’ own summaries, is that four of these papers (1 2 3 5) have nothing to do with excess death: they simply prove that lockdowns and other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) did not affect either Covid cases or Covid deaths. But what does the usefulness of lockdowns against Covid have to do with what drove excess deaths? It surely must be possible for a human intervention (i.e. poisoning patients or starting a world war) to be useless at stopping the spread of a virus while yet effective at causing mayhem at hospitals.
Unlike these 4 papers (which relied on Covid mortality figures), the fourth article in Jones’ list used all-cause mortality to establish the ineffectiveness of lockdowns. Notable is the conclusion: “The results suggest that lockdowns may have led to significantly higher mortality among the population aged between 60 and 79 years.” Moreover, by comparing countries that implemented severe restrictions with those that opted for a milder approach, it was concluded that “the ‘hard lockdown group experienced 372 additional deaths per million, while the other group only experienced excess mortality of 123 deaths.”
Thus (and despite it not being necessary for alternative theories) it is perfectly possible for NPIs such as lockdowns to drive excess deaths without affecting Covid deaths. Indeed, lockdowns may have caused at least +249 excess deaths per million population: a full two thirds of the excess deaths that occurred in 2020 in the 24 European countries analyzed in this study. In other words, the article listed by Jones in defense of his thesis actually refuted it.
3. The claim that all medical metrics rise and fall together in a Covid wave
The claim made by Will Jones is that “symptoms, PCR test positivity, LFT positivity, sequencing of viral genomes, hospitalisations, ICU admissions, Covid deaths, excess deaths and antibodies… all rise and fall together during a Covid wave. This happens in each wave and in every country and region of the world, and the pattern always repeats. There is no other explanation for why this would happen.” By no other explanation, Jones means none other than that “a virus is responsible for most of the excess deaths.” However, two distinctly different concepts are being confounded here. The one is the spread of a virus and consequent deaths by that virus. The other is excess deaths. Every year millions of people die, and many of them die from or with an active viral infection. This does not mean that those viral infections caused excess deaths.
Furthermore, a general similarity in trends between Covid deaths and excess deaths does not necessarily establish a causal link. To properly prove that excess deaths were caused by Covid, at the very least one would need to demonstrate that in every country, in every region, for every age bracket, Covid deaths match excess deaths. Not only has this not been done, but it is well known that it is not the case. For instance, the United States saw excess deaths among those aged 35 to 44, an age group with a particularly small Covid infection fatality rate. Similarly, a study of excess deaths in Australia found that “the youngest 0-44 age group with lowest risks of Covid infection and death has suffered disproportionately the highest multiples of excess mortality….”
Jones mentioned one of Dr. Rancourt’s articles in which all excess deaths after the vaccine rollout are assumed to be vaccine adverse events. Somewhat ironically, Jones has fallen into the same fault that he points out in Rancourt’s paper, namely that he has assumed a causal link between excess deaths and one particular factor in the field of health. It is easy to make such assumptions, of course, for it is only natural to think that because nobody heard of “Covid” before 2020 it must be the one new thing driving excess deaths. Similarly, it is only natural to assume that because the Covid injections were something new they must have done likewise in 2021. However, neither Jones nor Rancourt proved their assumptions.
Let us consider Jones’ assumption that Covid deaths are something entirely new by asking ourselves a few key questions:
- How many people died in 2019 from a coronavirus?
- How many were expected to die from a coronavirus in 2020 based on historical trends?
- Should Covid deaths be included in the expected coronavirus deaths?
- Should Covid deaths be included in expected influenza deaths?
- Did all those that would normally have died from a coronavirus or other influenza-like-illness still die as expected despite the presence of SARS-CoV-2?
- Was SARS-CoV-2 circulating in 2018?
Of course, if the answer to any of these questions is either “Yes,” or is a number greater than zero, we must accept that Covid deaths should be included in the myriads of “normal” deaths that occur every year, rather than standing on a pedestal as the driving force behind “excess” deaths.
Unfortunately, it is all but impossible to answer any of the above-named questions. Part of the reason for our ignorance is that the year 2020 witnessed an unprecedented, enormous and varied amount of testing for SARS-CoV-2. Never before have we routinely tested people in an attempt to find out which of the thousands of respiratory viruses are found on a sick person (let alone on a healthy person). Furthermore, the PCR test used as the “gold standard” in this massive testing program has itself been the subject of much criticism. Also, Jones himself admits that it is not clear when this virus first began circulating. These facts compel us to suggest that it is an unreliable assumption that a death merely by virtue of it being classed as a “Covid death” is also an “excess death.”
The claim was made by Jones that the parallel rising and falling of Covid statistics “happens in each wave and in every country and region of the world, and the pattern always repeats.” If only things were this simple. Contrary to this claim, Canada recorded Covid deaths during the first half of 2020, yet “most provinces experienced no clear evidence of excess mortality.” The reality is that Covid cases and deaths have varied so dramatically across regional, state, and country borders as to perplex even the best epidemiologist. Did Covid know where these borders were and change its infectivity and lethality for the occasion?
Finally, there are two important facts that argue against the theory that Covid deaths have been the primary factor driving excess deaths for the past three years. The first is that Covid deaths have been exaggerated. This happened not only because of the faulty PCR tests, but also on account of the changes to the way death certificates were to be filled out. This change was mandated by the WHO. The mandated changes were expressly said to be followed “whether they can be considered medically correct or not.” It should come as no surprise that this had a significant influence on Covid death statistics. In particular, deaths were sometimes classified as a Covid death even if Covid did not contribute to the cause of death. Furthermore, the CDC admits that of the 375 thousand deaths attributed to Covid in the USA in 2020, a mere “5% of these deaths [had] Covid-19 as the only cause mentioned on the death certificate.” As for the remaining 95% of deaths, the certificates listed an average of four “additional conditions or causes” of death. With so many comorbidities, is it likely that Covid-19 drove excess deaths? If the number of Covid deaths was exaggerated, then excess deaths surpass Covid deaths by enough of a margin that it is safe to consider that there were other factors behind those excess deaths.
A second fact arguing against Jones’ thesis is the low infection fatality rate of SARS-CoV-2. An early WHO bulletin concluded that the IFR was at most 0.23%, and was likely substantially less than this. Indeed, a more recent paper by Pezzullo et al estimated that the global IFR for those previously uninfected, under 70 years of age, and unvaccinated is as low as 0.07%. It is impossible that a virus with an infection fatality rate on par with other endemic viruses should cause significant and regional spikes in deaths as happened in early 2020. For instance, the CDC reports that between Mar 11 and May 2, 2020, “a total of 32,107 deaths were reported” in New York city, of which “24,172 deaths were found in excess of the seasonal expected baseline.” In order for this massive spike in excess deaths to have been driven by Covid, it would require not only that all 8.8 million residents of New York city were infected with SARS-CoV-2 during this short seven week window, but also that Covid had an infection fatality rate of 0.28%. Both requirements are impossible based on the published data. It is necessary to conclude, therefore, that the New York spike in excess deaths was caused by factors other than Covid.
In conclusion, all three principal arguments used by Will Jones in defense of his thesis are found wanting. He has not proved that excess deaths over the past 2 or 3 years were caused by Covid. Nor has he disproved the alternative theories. Nor is his thesis plausible.
All of this begs the question: Are there other valid theories? Did something drive excess deaths in 2020? If it wasn’t Covid, then what was it? Not surprisingly, there are other and more valid theories. Four alternative theories are:
- Pneumonia and other respiratory infections were treated inappropriately, resulting in the death of vulnerable people (this is the theory put forward by Dr. Rancourt).
- Harmful and damaging societal interventions coupled with massive amounts of testing with a faulty PCR test sent many people to an early grave.
- Major and regional disruptions to health care caused the excess deaths.
- So many monumental changes have happened since early 2020 that it might be impossible to attribute the excess deaths of the following three years to one singular change. Rather, excess deaths might be the sum of many different factors, including but not limited to: deaths of despair, improper treatments, care home mismanagement, fear of seeking medical attention, poverty, mandatory injections, and so forth.
Of note is that not one of these four alternative theories necessarily deny the existence of SARS-CoV-2. Neither do any of them exclude the possibility that some people died from Covid.
Erratum: An earlier version of the article asked, “why were only 0.05% (0.2%×24%) of employees actually sick?”. It has been updated to read, “why were less than 5% (20% x 24%) of employees actually sick?”