The Manipulation of Covid Mortality Statistics

The final mortality data for 2020 show no pandemic, but RTÉ seeks to muddy the waters with bogus research based on dodgy methodology and a clear intention to deceive. 

[The following extract from my weekly Diary is of critical importance to understanding what has happened in the past year and the continuing attempts to cover it up. For this reason I am circulating it a day early to all my subscribers. The full Diary will be published as usual tomorrow.]


We have the explanation for the sudden renewal of the intermittent rash of ‘conspiracy theorist’ stories in the lying legacy media over the past couple of weeks. The Irish Slimes — with one of its top slimes to the fore — and did big spreads. Talk Shite To Joe had some kind of professional plant on singing a song called ‘I Usedta Be a Far Righter But now I’m Just a Backstabber’ in which, inter alia, he launched a hyper-libellous attack on Gemma O’Doherty, which caused Joe to soil himself, cut to an ad break and come back with a fulsome apology (too late, Joe!). I mean ‘fulsome’ not in its modern and incorrect usage — essentially to denote ‘full’, a word we already had — but in its correct sense: ‘aesthetically, morally, or generally offensive’, or ‘exceeding the bounds of good taste’, which applies to just about everything on Joe’s shitshow.

There is no ‘far right’ in Ireland, but the Combine needs to keep this lie going in order to protect all its other lies. In particular, it had been getting twitchy about the imminent release of the annual CSO mortality figures, which have now arrived and confirmed, as we’ve been saying, that 2020 was an entirely normal mortality year —  in fact the lowest in eight years. Hence the necessity to discredit in advance those likely to be pointing this out and debunking attempts to shore up the Big Lie. I included a summary of the (more or less) final figures for 2020 in my essay, Umbrellas Without Rain, published today (Tuesday).

As it would happen, the shoring-up of the deceit was accelerated tonight (Tuesday) on Prime Time. I didn’t watch (never do) but a report on the RTÉ website stated:

‘Analysis of data by researchers at Maynooth University and the University of Limerick indicates that around 3,200 more people died in the Republic of Ireland between 1 March 2020 and 28 February 2021 than would have died in a typical 12-month period.’

The analysis claims to show that the Maynooth/Limerick figures demonstrate a 10 per cent increase in deaths over a normal year. This is deeply misleading, and has all the signs of being carefully constructed for that precise purpose. Among the claims made is that, in effect, the period March 2020 to February 21 is statistically just another 12-month period, whereas in reality it is deeply aberrational, though not on account of any virus or pandemic. It is aberrational because the winter burden for January/February 2020 somehow got pushed on to April, and because there was an exceptional burden of deaths in January/February 2021, which more than likely was due to the vaccine rollout in nursing homes. 

The giveaway is that ‘typical 12-month period’ at the end of the paragraph cited above. There is no such thing as a typical 12-month period, other than perhaps a calendar year, which is the normal metric used for calculating mortality figures. This is because a normal year follows a fairly standard pattern of mortality: a spike in January/February, a plateauing out for the spring and summer, and a rise again towards the end of the year, with the beginnings of a second spike frequently materialising in mid-to late December.

Deaths as published in the official GRO/CSO statistics are always shown over the calendar year. 

The Maynooth University/Limerick University report is a piece of three-card-trickery. It cherry-picks a 12-month period with, in effect, two winter burden spikes, one at each end, which almost never happens in a normal year and did not happen in 2020. It also uses weasel words to misdirect unwitting observers into thinking that there is no methodological difference between identifying something called ‘the year of the pandemic’, which starts on March 1st 2020 and ends on February 28th 2021, and ‘a typical 12-month period’, this being a weasel phrase that sucks the life of truth out of the normative meanings of ‘typical’ and ’12-month’.

By starting their count in March 2020, under cover of analysing the Covid figures, the researchers ensure that the figures will include in effect two significant spikes, which is utterly anomalous by comparison with any recent pattern measured by the calendar year. It is a little like filing your annual tax return for February to February rather than the normal calendar year, to conceal that you had a bit of a cash windfall in January. Once you deviate from the calendar year, it is hard to say what a ‘typical 12-month period’ might be.

The point of doing the analysis like this is to try to rehabilitate now discredited claims of a pandemic by aggregating the greater part of the winter burdens of two years into one, a manoeuvre that continues a practice adopted by NPHET during 2020 of aggregating cases and deaths across formerly recognised temporal boundaries, and allowing deaths to pile up before publication in order to manufacture scare-inducing headlines. 

The RTÉ report concludes:

‘While the [Maynooth/Limerick research] data suggests that 3,200 more people died than usual between March 2020 and March 2021, the Department of Health said there were 4,319 Covid-related deaths in the same period.’

It is unclear where this 3,200 figure comes from. What is it a comparison with? The total of deaths for the period in question comes to 32,532, which is approximately 1,000 higher than a ‘typical’ calendar year. 

A closer examination of the figures reveals that neither the 4,319 nor the 3,200 figure has any basis in fact. In other words, even if we indulge the methodological eccentricity of the Maynooth/Limerick analysis, it still reveals itself as conveying something other than its concoctors claim. 

Let us, by way of illustration, compare the period March 2020-February 2021 with a directly similar 12-month period— i.e. another non-calendar year 12-month period. It is appropriate, in doing this, to choose a year with some kind of aberrational activity mid-year. Such a year is 2018, so let’s take the period March 2018-February 2019. 

The general pattern of deaths over a full calendar year is to show figures of 3,000-plus for January and December, and 2,000-plus for every other month, though frequently December (and very occasionally January) comes in under 3,000 also. 

There are, however, occasional aberrations, some of which throw up figures in excess of 3,000 for months other than January and December. March 2018 was one such month, with 3,058 deaths. If, for the sake of the experiment, we engage in a mirroring exercise in respect of the Maynooth/Limerick report, but taking as our sample the period March 2018-February 2019, we come up with a figure of deaths for those twelve months of 31,614 (by the figures, which their report uses). This comparison would put the ‘excess’ for the period of the ‘pandemic’ at 918 deaths, some 2,300 less than the figure claimed by the Maynooth/Limerick researchers. 

Why, since this was the most recent directly comparable period, did the researchers not choose March 2018-February 2019 as a ‘typical’ 12-month period? Perhaps because it would not have brought them anywhere close to the figures they wished to achieve. Actually, 2018 was one of the highest years for mortality in recent times, with a total of  31,695 deaths, even though nobody for a moment suggested that there might have been any kind of pandemic that year. And, if you compare the figure for the 12-month period March 2020-February 2021 with the full calendar year of 2018, the difference is even smaller — a statistically insignificant 264 deaths. So, under the microscope, the Maynooth/Limerick research shows no significant deviation from normality when placed in legitimate rather than selective comparisons. 

So the conclusion of the RTÉ report that the data suggests that ‘3,200 more people died than usual between March 2020 and March 2021’, is demonstrably bogus by any honest metric. A proper comparison of the available death figures shows at most a minuscule or no excess. Nowhere in the figures can the 4.319 additional deaths claimed by HSE/NPHET be accounted for. Nowhere can the 3,200 deaths claimed by the Maynooth/Limerick researchers and Prime Time be accounted for. 

The RTÉ website summary concludes with two total falsehoods:

‘The [3,200] figure, which has been adjusted for duplication and overseas deaths notified on the website, gives a strong indication of what statisticians refer to as “excess mortality”.

‘It represents a 10% increase on the norm, with most of the increase occurring during two major spikes of the virus.’

This is an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of people who have not drilled into the figures. There is no excess. There is no increase. The figures for 2020 are the lowest for eight years. 

We are inclined to euphemism in describing matters such as the above. In truth, phrases like ‘weasel words’, ‘fake news’, ‘information management’, ‘economy with truth’, ‘propaganda’, ‘mental reservation’ etc. are themselves misleading. The correct word in all such cases is lies. Lies are not technical matters. There is a very clear and simple definition: A lie is anything that sends someone away with a wrong impression. It can take the form of misdirection, of feigned confusion, or filibustering, vague-sounding noises, but it is still a lie. 

RTÉ and its shills and hatchet men should stop lying. If there is one decent journalist left standing in the RTÉ building, he (or she) should take off his badge, walk to the nearest open microphone and speak the truth into it — about anything. Right now.