A video that has been heavily circulated on social media this week is a presentation by attorney Thomas Renz claiming "We Got Them. Fact Check this!" Here is a retweet from Robert Malone:
He makes various claims in this talk, but the one I am going to address has to do with a claim about vaccine-induced deaths.
He presents a slide describing CMS data that based on its heading is suggesting that among Medicare recipients, 48,465 have died within 2 weeks of receiving the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, with the implication that this somehow proves that the vaccines are killing people.
He doesn't seem to acknowledge the concept of "background deaths", that there will be deaths AFTER vaccination that are not FROM vaccination.
In a recent blog post, I combined together USA population numbers, annual death rates, and vaccination rates by age groups to produce an estimate of the expected number of background deaths in the vaccinated subpopulation in a given year, month, week or day even if the vaccine caused none (all details and data in the linked blog post):
To interpret, the background death rate for a week in the vaccinated subpopulation is 49,309, meaning we expect this many to die in any given week. That means, even with a zero-death vaccine, we would expect roughly this many to die the week of vaccination.
To compute the relevant number for Renz's claims, we need to know the expected number of background deaths in two weeks for the Medicare population, which is >65yr.
Renz emphasizes that the 48,465 deaths are for a cohort that only represents "18%" of the population, from which some might naively infer that the total population numbers are >5x that. However, that ignores the fact that of course, the vast majority of deaths in the USA occur in the >65yr Medicare cohort. Medicare includes all USA residents >65yr plus 8.5 million <65yr with disabilities. Here I will just focus on the major part, the >65yr population.
Because we have background deaths split out by 5-year age groups we can compute the expected number of vaccinated Medicare cohort over a two week period. Adding up the age groups 65+, we get 38,691 weekly, which would be 77,382 for a two week period.
This means that even with a zero-death vaccine, we would expect >75k of Medicare recipients to die within two weeks of getting the shot.
Thus, it is not unexpected at all to see 48,465 deaths in this cohort within a given two week period, so this is hardly the bombshell the attorney seems to think it is.
Now there are caveats, that the vaccinated subpopulation might not be a representative sample of the entire >65yr population, and the timing of vaccine might not be random, e.g. if someone is deathly ill they would likely not be vaccinated on that time. This might decrease the expected background deaths to some degree.
But the numbers I computed also don't include the 8.5m Medicare recipients who are <65yr but have other disabilities -- those would add even more to the background deaths number. Even with these nuances, this suggests even with a zero-death vaccine, we should not be surprised w/ 45-50k deaths within 2wk of vaccination in this cohort.
This is not the bombshell he suggests, and the table implying that 45-50k in the Medicare cohort died within two weeks AFTER vaccination provides no evidence that any died FROM vaccination when considering background death rates.
Appendix (Oct 4, 2021) -- evaluating Jane Doe whistleblower report:
This claim comes from a lawsuit Renz is filing based on a lawsuit he is filing on behalf of "America's Frontline Doctors", a group that has been consistently opposing vaccination for SARS-CoV-2, that is supported by a "Jane Doe" whistleblower statement coming from a CMS Medicare employee.
The whistleblower report is available online, and the key text is screen shotted and given here:
She is making the following claims:
There are 9,048 deaths reported in VAERs (total, not just within 3 days) as of July 9, 2021
She looked at reported deaths in CMS Medicare data within 3 days of vaccination, and found the number of VAERs was only <=1/5 of this total, suggesting an underreporting rate (URR) of >=5x
Based on an URR of >=5x, this suggests the true number of deaths AFTER vaccination is >=45k.
Given that we would expect ~50k deaths in the vaccinated USA cohort AFTER vaccination within 1 week of the shot and >200k deaths within 1 month AFTER the shot, these findings are unsurprising, and do not provide evidence of excess deaths caused by vaccination, i.e. that any of these deaths are FROM vaccination.