Sure and it’s nice to know that the number of deaths in British hospitals is now below average for the time of year. After all, we’d rather like that to happen in the middle of a pandemic – it might indicate that we’re getting on top of said virulence. However, the actual number being presented is an entire irrelevance. Even, a misdirection. For the British hospital system ls largely closed to anyone not suffering from Covid-19. Yes, a rhetorical exaggeration but not by all that much.
Excess deaths in hospitals have fallen to below the five year average, new Government data has shown, suggesting that coronavirus is no longer killing more people than would be expected at this time of year.
For the week ending May 8, the number of deaths in hospitals for all causes was 114 lower than the five-year average for the same week.
The number of excess deaths in care homes is still more than 2,000 higher than the normal level, but it has decreased by 2,247 deaths from 4,331 in the previous week.
How lovely. But this is not enough. For there are not two places that people die but three. In hospitals, in care homes and not in hospitals or care homes. We have effectively closed down the NHS for things that are not coronavirus. Cancer treatments, for example, are not happening. Some will undoubtedly die as a result of their not. People are -reportedly at least – not rocking up to A&E when their heart has an attack or two, turning entirely survivable tweaks into the beginnings of heart failure – that’ll kill some along the way.
We can also imagine that cases that would go into hospital now do not. Some of these will make a difference, some not, some will be deaths that could have been delayed by treatment, some won’t be.
It is actually theoretically possible that we’re killing more people of not-Covid-19 causes by having cleared the decks to treat Covid-19 cases than we’re saving by treating Covid-19. I’d want to see very hard evidence before concluding that we are but it is still a possibility.
So, being told that hospital deaths are below average isn’t all that useful, given that we’ve pretty much closed hospitals to an awful lot of what they normally do. We need to know the total mortalist statistics, not some cherry picked portion of them.