A second killer as deadly as COVID lurks in the data. What was it?

by Bruce O’Hara

BruceO’Hara Substack

June 6, 2022

People die with great regularity. Enough so that we can establish an expected weekly death rate for a country. Anything above beyond that expected number of deaths is called “excess mortality.”

I’ve been really curious about what the COVID pandemic would do to Canada’s excess mortality stats, particularly since it has become clear that American excess mortality stats went through the roof during the pandemic. USMortality.com tells us that 13.6% more Americans than normal died in 2020, 16.4% more died in 2021, and 13% more than normal have died thus far in 2020.

I’d hoped today to be able to present Canadian data for all of 2020 and 2021. Unfortunate, what with Canada being a third-world jurisdiction in terms of the timeliness of its data collection, I can only present data for the first 50 weeks of 2021.

The following charts are based on OECD data.

First, let’s look at 2020:

In the above chart, the blue line marks the expected number of deaths. The red line marks excess deaths from all causes, including COVID. The grey line marks non-COVID excess deaths. The area between the red line and the grey line indicates the number of COVID deaths.

What do we see? The year 2020 started pretty normally until mid-March, when both COVID and non-COVID deaths took off. The period between week 27 and week 45 is particularly curious in that the majority of the excess deaths were not caused by COVID.

Looking at 2020 as a whole, there were 31,042 excess deaths: 15,865 COVID deaths and 15,177 excess deaths from non-COVID causes. Given that about 300,000 Canadians die in a normal year, Canada had a death rate in 2020 about 10 percent above normal – half from COVID and half from some other cause(s).

Though it was tragic to lose so many people to COVID in 2020, most of those people were over the age of 80. How old were the 15,177 who died excess to normal of non-COVID causes? What killed them?

The picture for 2021 is even curiouser:

The year 2021 starts with excess deaths way below normal, which would make sense if COVID was partly replacing flu deaths that would normally occur in January and February. By the end of June, the large majority of excess deaths are from non-COVID causes, and that pattern continues for the remainder of the year.

On the first 50 weeks of 2021, there were 28,886 excess deaths, 14,185 from COVID and 14,701 from some other cause(s). There were more excess deaths in 2021 from non-COVID causes than from COVID!

Again, it would be nice to know what killed those 14,701 people excess to normal who didn’t die of COVID. Was it lock-down health impacts? Vaccine side-effects? Something else?

In both 2020 and 2021, the death rate in Canada was roughly 10% above normal. Only half of those excess deaths are due to COVID. What killed all those other people?

It’s almost as though a second, invisible pandemic in Canada has been killing tens of thousands of people over the past two years. What is that stealth killer?

I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Statistics Canada to provide answers. If the lock-downs or the vaccines were deadly, the Canadian Government doesn’t want to know about it.

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