Flat White

The Bizarro World of coronavirus death stats

10 February 2021

7:36 PM

10 February 2021

7:36 PM

Some years ago, Marvel Comics gave us Bizarro World. In Bizarro World, everything was the opposite of what it should be: Marilyn Monroe was hideously ugly, Aquaman couldn’t swim, and monkeys threw peanuts at humans. Bizarro World politics involved politicians promising increases in taxes and government corruption.  

If Bizarro World was created today, we’d have politicians putting populations into lockdown because of a virus that was having no impact on mortality rates, and opposition parties that agreed with everything the government did.   

Political commentators in Bizarro World would be oblivious to the simple fact that the virus is having no impact on mortality rates and would not call for an immediate lifting of all restrictions and closures. They would also largely ignore the real effect of the lockdowns – the damage caused to businesses, livelihoods and families. They would also demonstrate their inability to distinguish between situations where someone died “with” the virus and when they died “from” the virus. 

I feel like I am now living in Bizarro World, as all these things are currently playing out before my astonished eyes. 

Last April I published an article where I showed that the average age of those that die with Covid19 was actually a little higher than the normal life expectancy. In other words, Covid19 was having no impact on mortality rates. You live just as long regardless of whether you have the virus or not. 

But that was before the Victorian Hotel Quarantine mismanagement had run its course. We are now told that there were 768 Covid deaths as a result of this. Is this right? Let’s revisit the data and see if anything has changed, and in particular, let’s see if we can find these 768 deaths in the statistics. 

According to the Commonwealth government, there have been a total of 908 deaths “associated with Covid19.” If 768 of these were from Victoria, then we can reasonably expect the data to be weighted heavily in terms of the Victorian experience. 

In other words, if the Andrews Government is “responsible” for these deaths, then we ought to expect to see the average age at which people died with the virus being significantly less than normal life expectancy. 

This is, after all, the normal criterion for determining whether something is deadly – does it make you die prematurely? For example, cigarette manufacturers are required by law to print “Smoking Kills” on their packets. Why? Well, it is a simple statistical fact that those that smoke die, on average, 10 years younger than those that don’t. Smoking robs you of 10 years of your life. 

How many years of your life does Covid19 rob you of? Last August, men that died with Covid had an average age of 81.1, against the normal life expectancy of 80.7. But now, after the Victorian hotel quarantine debacle has run its course, it has actually gone up, to 82.4 years. For women, last August the average age of those that died with Covid was 85.2, against a normal life expectancy of 84.9. This too has now risen, and currently stands at 86.7 years. 

That is, for both men and women, the average age at which they die with Covid is remarkably consistent at 1.7-1.8 years above the normal life expectancy. If people are living longer it can only mean one thing: fewer people are dying. 

But let’s look directly at Victorian data – surely we can find these 768 deaths in their mortality statistics. The Victorian government website only goes back to September 2019, but this is what it shows:  

It is awfully difficult to find an extra 768 deaths in this data. Even the highest month for mortality in 2020, September, is lower than October 2019. Also, most of the Victorian deaths from Covid (as reported in the media) were ostensibly in the June-August time period, and mortality rates in this period are well within the normal range. And further research for annual statistics confirms this – total deaths in 2020 in Victoria (41147) were down on 2019 figures (43944), by a substantial 6%. 

All of this leads us to an inevitable conclusion – the Andrews Government is not responsible for 768 deaths. These deaths fell within the normal mortality rates, and in fact were indicative of lower mortality rates. Therefore, they died with the virus and not from it. Covid-19 has no impact on mortality rates, and therefore meets no definition of “deadly.” 

Great damage has, however, been caused by the lockdowns. Families being split apart – dying parents being unable to farewell their children as they pass, careers and businesses thrown on the scrapheap, and a blowout in our welfare bill (and therefore deficit) that dwarfs the GFC response of the Rudd government. 

Lives and businesses destroyed, and all for nothing. And it’s about time our leaders and commentators started focusing on these. I have created a website purely for this purpose, Lockdown Collateral.

Tell us your story. Let’s generate some pressure on the people that now run our country at State and Federal level, and let’s leave Bizarro World and return to the land of reality. 

Dr Mark Imisides is a scientist and OH&S advisor. He Tweets at @DrMarkImisides.

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