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Excess deaths, viral surges, and vaccines: Looking at UK data.

Excess deaths analyses is a useful calibration point for seeing how the pandemic has affected mortality that should be uncontroversial -- it does not depend on death attribution to COVID-19 or vaccine or otherwise, and it does not depend on SAR-CoV-2 PCR testing thresholds or counts or practices. It simply plots ALL deaths in a place from all causes each day over time, and in the same plot includes a "baseline death rate" computed typically from a 5-year average of deaths on that day over the past 5 years pre-pandemic.


The UK has published this in a report they just released, as follows:

Note how nearly all excess deaths are concentrated in the two massive viral surges in the UK -- one spring 2020 and the other Janurary 2021.


Also notice how the deaths quickly returned to baseline as vaccination was taking off in February, and how it remains really low even now that they are in the midst of a Delta surge. Given the long delay between first and second doses in the UK, most people got their second doses after February, and most people <60 had their vaccinations after February.

These data are also presented on ourworldindata.org that has these data for most countries in the world. If you peruse these, you can see the following trends:

  1. Excess deaths tend to cluster in spikes that correspond to surges of confirmed cases. This pretty clearly highlights the danger of the pandemic, both in direct viral deaths and deaths from other conditions that occur because hospitals are overwhelmed and preoccupied with COVID-19 cases. This contradicts the point some make suggesting the virus is not really dangerous and pandemic is blown out of proportion.

  2. Times with low viral counts but with lockdowns in place, the excess deaths tend to be low. This contradicts the claim some make that excess deaths are driven by lockdowns themselves -- depression, suicide, drug overdose, stress. Surely there are some of these but by the timing it is clear these are not the driving force.

  3. In places with high vaccination rates using the highly efficacious vaccines, the death rates have tended to quickly come down to baseline once vaccination is underway. This contradicts the claim that the vaccines are inherently dangerous and leading to more deaths. If there are vaccine-related deaths, this must be more than counteracted than deaths prevented to end up with deaths at or below baseline.

Of course, we can never draw precise causal inference from time series of deaths, but the fact that these avoid death attribution (to vaccine or virus or other) or SARS-CoV-2 testing (what threshold, who is tested, what is reported, ..) that are controversial to some, it is a clean and controversial data point that can give us some insight.

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Uri Post
Uri Post
Sep 19, 2021

I came across an interesting but provocative hypothesis about the effects of mass vaccinations on the current state of the pandemic. In summary: it's the *vaccinated* rather than the unvaccinated, who are contributing to the continued spread of the disease because they are more likely to carry the virus while not showing any symptoms.


https://boriquagato.substack.com/p/the-vaccinated-superspread-hypothesis


The full details are somewhat beyond my statistical/numerical abilities, so I would appreciate to hear Jeffrey's opinion on its contents and conclusions.


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Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris
Sep 20, 2021
Replying to

Not sure I buy that More unvaccinated are infected so that is more spread Attack rate studies, the only ones that can directly look at transmission, show asymptomatic infections transmit 5x less than synptomatic. And yes, higher percentage of breakthrough infections are asymptomatic. Studies show breakthrough infections clear more quickly with viral loads declining more than twice as quickly. Less time to transmit. People who say breakthrough infections don’t spread are wrong but there are plenty of reasons in the data to believe breakthroughs transmit less bit more than unvaccinated infections

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Uri Post
Uri Post
Sep 17, 2021

What is missing from the excess deaths data is the age distribution, as usual...

If most of the excess deaths during the pandemic were among the elderly (> 80 and even > 90) then these excess numbers will be subtracted from the deaths in the next few years, so the average over 5 years will barely change (after correcting for population growth). I think that in 5 years time, the pandemic will be undetectable when looking at the multi-year average total number of deaths.


Indeed, it looks like the number of deaths in 2021 is falling back into the average zone.

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/excess-mortality-raw-death-count


Is there a database somewhere that shows the age distribution among the total deaths?


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Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris
Sep 18, 2021
Replying to

Sort of but not really I forget where I saw it but earlier in the year I saw usa excess deaths split out by age and they were distributed throughout, I.e. there were about 20-25% excess in each age group Of course the numbers were greater for older but the percent excess was present for all age groups.

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Is there data on the contribution of resident pathogens to deleterious outcome of COVID-19, this may explain the heterogeneity in site specific case-fatality ratio and may also more accurately identify vulnerable populations that are yet to be categorized (aside from age and being immuno-compromised) as well as re-infection after vaccination.

Also I have not seen analysis of length of immunity as a result of specific COVID-19 vaccination as well as pre-disposition to infection after vaccination in relation to specific vaccine formulations. Since each company has its own unique vaccine/therapeutic formulation strategy, it will be interesting to know the stimulatory pathways per vaccine formulation as well as the robustness of the activated immune cells (both effector and memory) and its impact…


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Uri Post
Uri Post
Sep 11, 2021

The numbers are illuminating and the analysis is very interesting, as always! But in addition to the three conclusions listed in the article, my 4th conclusion from these graphs is that the pandemic is pretty much under control now (yes, mainly thanks to the vaccine) so there is no justification for new harsh emergency measures like lockdowns, vaccine mandates and vaccine passports.


More specifically, I looked at the raw death count data for Canada and noticed that that the number deaths in Canada had been growing steadily every year since about 2010, probably due to population growth and/or population aging. This is easier to see in this diagram:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/443061/number-of-deaths-in-canada/


As a result, we should expect the numbers for…

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I am curious what you think of this analysis of excess deaths from the vaccines: https://roundingtheearth.substack.com/p/estimating-vaccine-induced-mortality

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