The BBC was at it again on Friday running a report hinting that 50,000 people had died from flu in the England and Wales during the the 2017-18 season based on newly published data from the Office for National Statistics:
"There were around 50,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2017-18 - the highest since the winter of 1975-76, figures from the Office for National Statistics show...The increase is thought to be down to the flu, the ineffectiveness of the flu vaccine in older people and spells of very cold weather last winter."
One fundamental problem with this is that the government had already published the influenza death toll for the season in May - it was indeed an exceptionally bad year but it still only meant 320 deaths in England and 372 in the United Kingdom as a whole (which includes Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland):
"Through the USISS mandatory scheme, a total of 3,454 ICU/HDU admissions of
confirmed influenza were reported across the UK from week 40 2017 to week 15 2018,
including 372 deaths, based on combined data from England, Scotland and Northern
Ireland. In England, the total number of influenza confirmed admissions to ICU/HDU
was 3,175 (rate of 0.22 per 100, 000 population) and 320 deaths during the same
"The cumulative number of cases and deaths were higher compared to the 2016 to 2017
season (992 cases (rate of 0.06) and 112 deaths) and to the 2015 to 2016 season
(2,173 cases (rate of 0.14 per 100, 000) and 166 deaths) in England. This season
represents the highest number and rate observed since the beginning of the scheme
It is also interesting to note that the issue of high mortality for the period came to light early on and was even reported in some national newspapers. In the British Medical Journal Hiam and Dorling wrote in March:
"Within the first seven weeks of 2018, some 93 990 people died in England and Wales.1 Over the same weeks in the previous five years, an average of 83 615 people died..This rise of 12.4%, or 10 375 additional deaths, was not due to the ageing of the population. Ageing is a slow process and leads to slow, not sudden, rises in mortality...An additional person died every seven minutes during the first 49 days of 2018 compared with what had been usual in the previous five years. Why?
"Not the weather or flu
"The weather was unusually mild during the initial weeks of this year—very cold weather did not arrive until late February. The mean temperature was 4.1°C across the UK in January 2018, almost half a degree above the average for this time of year."
The figure 50,000 excess deaths is also misleading - there are always excess deaths in winter. In the first seven weeks of the year there were 10,375 additional deaths over the previous year and by the 8 May 20,000 - that was the real problem and the fact that flu mortality was relatively high did not mean it was enough to impact significantly on the wider trend.
In fact, the Department of Health have been playing a dirty game trying to spuriously associate excess winter mortality with flu for many years. When challenged by a BMJ editor in 2009 about flu mortality the then Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, gave two different methods of reckoning the figures:
"Estimate of ‘flu deaths is found in the annual mortality statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics. These statistics record the underlying cause of death. They are based on all registered deaths, based on the information on death certificates. The number of deaths for England & Wales with an underlying cause of influenza (ICD-10 code J10-J11) for the four recent calendar years are: 39 (2008), 31 (2007), 17 (2006) and 44 (2005). Many more deaths are attributed to pneumonia, some of which will be secondary to influenza. ..The official estimate of influenza mortality is produced by the Health Protection Agency. It is derived from excess all-cause death registrations in the winter. When the number of all-cause death registrations rises above an ‘expected’ level in a given week, this excess is counted. The estimates for the last five years in England & Wales are: 1965 (2004-05 winter season), 0 (2005-06), 0 (2006-07), 426 (2007- 08), and 10351 (2008-09). The highest estimate in recent years was for the 1999-2000 ‘flu season, at 21,497.
So, in other words there were real deaths which for the previous four years had never been above 50. Part of the game was that there was always above average mortality in the winter month, and when that average was above average those deaths were automatically counted as flu, although there was no real connection.
Other Department of Health publications of the period stated:
"According to Department of Health figures, flu contributes to over 25,000 excess winter deaths every year and thousands of people are hospitalised due to serious complications."
"Ordinary flu occurs every year during the winter months in the UK. It affects 10-15% of the UK population, causing around 12,000 deaths every year."
not a word of which was true.
Although, no doubt, things are getting worse the government and the BBC and the British government have been providing a completely fraudulent narrative of winter mortality surrounding flu for many years. Yet they are the first to accuse others of purveying FAKE NEWS. They are the people debasing the currency.