Covid Death Statistics Are Ill-Defined and Often Politically Manipulated

Covid Death Statistics Are Ill-Defined and Often Politically Manipulated, by David Evans.

In the West, the definition of a covid death is generally that someone died while having a confirmed case of covid:

But often someone with covid dies of something else, in the sense that they probably would have died at about the same time even if they did not have covid. This ambiguity of cause gives a certain latitude to the death statistics. Political authorities can push the figures up or down, while claiming to be telling the truth.

  • They push them up to exaggerate the covid scare, or gee up support for lockdown or biotech solutions. For example, most western countries probably did this in their first wave, and some are doing it in their second.
  • They push them down to show how effective they have been in dealing with an outbreak, or to help their tourist industry, or to increase their chances of being allowed to travel to other countries. An example is Sweden, which revised their death figures down when they buckled in early July and further tightened their lockdown — which happened immediately after the other European countries (which had largely eliminated covid) told them that poxy Swedes weren’t welcome. Another example, I suspect, are France and Spain, which show suspiciously low death rates in their second waves.

Then of course there is a certain guilty party whose statistics no one believes, except the WHO: China.

Then there are the countries without the physical wealth to eliminate the virus, and have to more or less let it rip:

In Africa, limited testing and spikes in respiratory illnesses raise concerns that Covid-19 could be spreading unnoticed, by Nicholas Bariyo.

The global scramble to thwart the coronavirus has a vast blind spot: sub-Saharan Africa.

In Tanzania, the government outlawed coronavirus testing and declared its national outbreak defeated, even as hundreds of people died monthly from unexplained respiratory problems. Last month in Zambia, 28 people died at home in a single day with Covid-19-like symptoms while waiting to be tested. In South Sudan, government forces barricaded thousands of people inside refugee camps, claiming they were infected but refusing to conduct tests.

Which probably explains why such countries have such low reported confirmed cases and reported covid deaths.

In short, the covid death statistics are becoming a political plaything, so take them all with a grain of salt.

The confirmed cases statistics are generally more reliable, at least in more advanced countries. But to get from there to the number of infections you have to multiply by an uncertain and changing number, which is probably about four (according to most unbiased studies).

All of which leaves ideologues and those with vested interests plenty of room to make their case, without obvious contradiction by the facts. Especially if they have a large variety of studies to choose from and they select the most extreme and tendentious study, while pretending the others do not exist, and their audience is too ignorant of the other studies to notice.