Care Home Deaths 2

from John Dee’s Almanac facebook site

In my first post on this subject I sketched a little of the background surrounding concerns over treatment of the sick and elderly in care homes during the first wave of the pandemic after many of them were moved there to free hospital beds that, in hindsight, were never needed.

I talked about an end-of-life care pathway involving DNR, nil by mouth and heavy use of morphine and midazolam, the latter being a respiratory suppressant in high doses.

Emergency laws prevented visitation by relatives and autopsies.

Let us now look at what the official data reveals in three very telling slides.

In the first slide we observe weekly counts of deaths within care homes across England & Wales to the extent that the latest datafiles from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) permits. The ONS very usefully provides the prior 5-year mean weekly count for the corresponding week which acts as a reference baseline so we may judge perturbations (green line). A monstrous initial peak dominates the series but what intrigues me is how modest the so-called third wave of death looks in comparison – in later analyses I shall be estimating excess death. My initial thoughts are that many of our vulnerable and elderly were wiped out during April and May.

In the second slide we see that green baseline again but this time I have plotted deaths ascribed to COVID. As group members will by now appreciate assigning cause of death in the UK isn’t what it seems, with automated software (MUSE) dictating WHO guidelines are followed even if this doesn’t make clinical sense. Any physician relying on PCR test results is also going to fall foul of test reliability, thus death counts come with a large margin of error.

Setting all this aside there are two surprises in store.

The first is that deaths allegedly due to COVID during the first wave make a surprisingly modest impression in comparison to the mean baseline – something I was not expecting! Even more surprising is that COVID care home deaths during the third wave fall below the 5-year baseline. No doubt some folk will be keen to praise the vaccine but we must also bear in mind that it could well be adverse reaction to vaccines that generated the final spike! Naturally I shall be examining the veracity of both arguments over the next few days.

The third slide is quite something. We now see that the incredible surge in care home deaths during the spring of 2020 wasn’t due to COVID. This is the spike that had been camouflaged by presenting the data as an accumulated series, and this is the spike that shocked me when I unpicked the data. The authorities are going to great trouble to hide the fact that a massive surge in non-COVID death occurred within our care homes during spring of 2020. We don’t see such a surge during the so-called third ‘wave’ of what is going to be seasonal death during the winter of 2020/21, with weekly deaths now running well below the 5-year baseline.

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