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Was There Really an Epidemic?

On July 29, 2020, the Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA), the official government center for statistical data in the country, released a bombshell. Yet hardly anyone noticed it. 

Here is what the PSA data showed. The death figures for January to June 2019 were higher by 49,584 than the deaths for January to June 2020. If we had an epidemic, then the 2020 figures should be reporting higher death figures than 2019. In short, the Philippines had no “excess deaths” in 2020 due to COVID-19 (See Table 1 below). In epidemiology, excess deaths tell us if an outbreak of a disease is serious or not. 

TABLE 1: Death Numbers for Jan to June: 2019 & 2020

In a classic case of paradigm blindness, this incredible data did not merit analytical coverage from mainstream media. The latter believe in the epidemic, big-time. This belief makes them ignore information that would question their fear-laden reporting.

One interpretation of the data could be that the lockdown was successful. It reduced the death numbers. If so, assuming that 2019 figures would continue, then the 2020 figures should have increased very slightly over the historical death figure because, after all, there were COVID-19 deaths in 2020. In the alternative, the 2020 figures should have at least maintained the historical trend of high death numbers. But this has not happened. 

Chart 1 below shows this very clearly. For the high lockdown (ECQ) areas of NCR, Cebu City and Cebu Province, the death numbers for January to June 2020 (light blue on the right of the cluster of bars) are consistently lower when compared to similar months in the last 4 years. There are no excess deaths. If there was an epidemic, the 2020 numbers should have been noticeably higher. 

CHART 1: Historical Death Rates for ECQ Areas from January to June: 2016-2020
No Excess Deaths

Furthermore, the data is also showing the same decreased trend of total deaths in 2020 in mild lockdown (MGCQ) areas, except for a slight increase in Guimaras. Table 2 below provides a powerful rebuttal to the view that the lockdowns were successful. It compares the death figures for those areas that did not experience hard lockdowns but were in low-risk or Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) areas.

TABLE 2: Deaths in MGCQ Areas, January to June:2019 AND 2020

Chart 2 emphasizes this point even more. It shows the pattern for the other years: 2017 and 2018, in addition to 2019 and 2020, in Table 2. The data is saying the same thing. 

So whether there was a strong lockdown (ECQ areas) and or mild lockdown (MGCQ areas), the overall deaths in 2020 is lower than in previous years. The lockdown is not the causative factor in the decline of deaths. 

Finally, if the lockdowns were successful, what happened to the historical levels of death? Did they just vanish into thin area, especially under conditions when those with serious non-COVID-19 illness were not getting the emergency treatment they needed? 

It is tempting to assume that some of the historical deaths of 2019 vanished and reappeared in 2020 as COVID-19 deaths. We have repeatedly made the point that we need to distinguish between death FROM and death WITH COVID-19. The latter are deaths due to other illnesses but were labeled COVID-19 deaths.

CHART 2: Comparative Death Figures for Mild Lockdown (MGCQ) Areas

However, one can only arrive at a definitive answer to this question when the PSA releases its detailed breakdown of deaths for January to June 2020. 

Equally telling, assuming that the tests are accurate, if we still have an epidemic, why is the death rate getting lower and lowerSee Figure 1 below for the Case Fatality Rate for the last 5 months from March 15 to August 15.

Would that not be more an indication that the virus is not as deadly as once feared? In that case, the disease is present. But it is not of epidemic stature. And so, why is there fear and panic all over the place? 

Table 3 is another powerful evidence that the virus is not deadly. From the months around the beginning of the lockdown (March 2020), COVID-19 deaths are only around 1% of all deaths for that time period. If we were experiencing an epidemic, surely the death numbers would be much higher than this. 

FIGURE 1. Case Fatality Rate from 15 March to 15 August 2020

TABLE 3: COVID-19 Deaths As a Percentage of All Deaths During March to June 2020

In any event, we go back to the range of phenomena that we have been dealing with above. First, there are no excess deaths. Second, the death rate for COVID-19 has been declining for the past 5 months. Third, the percentage of COVID-19 deaths, while tragic like other deaths, is a mere 1% of all deaths recorded for 2020. 

With all these, we need to ask. Did we really have an epidemic? Why are more and more repressive measures being put in place? Why all the talk about vaccines as a solution as if people are dying all over the place? If there is no current epidemic, why is government continuing with the strong lockdowns instead of lighter and more precise approaches? Where are we going with all of these? 

Remove the blinders, awaken to the truth, free one’s self from fear and illusions, question illegal authority. Only then can we be truly human and be courageous to fully deserve our rights and freedom.

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27 replies on “Was There Really an Epidemic?”

Thanks for bringing this into light. The netizens would like to still think otherwise questioning the reliability of such data. Never could I recall an instance when they question PSA for any census data being released every five years. And, now this type of concrete information suddenly becomes questionable to them. I wonder what kind of thinking pattern do Filipinos exemplify in social media in relation to COVID19 pandemic?

Cause of death was not included here. Was it considered that deaths due to homicide, accidents and other infectious diseases was lesser due to the lockdown?

this is exactly the concern Kenneth. If there was a real epidemic, you will see it immediately due to the overflowing and uncontrolled deaths. The lower death rate in 2020 means that what we have prevented during the lockdown are deaths which are not epidemic related – homicide, accidents, etc. Where are the deaths coming from the epidemic, and why are we locking down if in general, the same amount of unpreventable deaths were going to show this year compared to the previous years?

Why are we panicking and why is the government causing the collapse of our society and preventing our children from going to school if COVID-19 is just any other disease that can be treated for some, and deadly for others? Why weren’t there any lockdowns, mandatory masking and face shields, and vaccines in the past, when the death rates from other infectious disease were even higher than that of COVID-19?

If lockdowns prevented homicide, accidents, etc. which are all preventable by other means, should we continue and lock our communities long term? Is the damage caused by the lockdowns commensurate to the benefits it caused? These are just some of the questions we are asking when we look at these kinds of data.

Sent it already to more than 500 in my link p.m
The next ..paki analyze more than 98% are mild to asymptomatic..are there getting severe then die among them..
Of the severe of less than 2,% does 1% deaths are all due to C19.if yes what illnesd do they have b4 getting infected with C19???
We grief for those who died..but it may not be due to C19 alone..
Ipagpatuloy mo doc nicky..you are in d right track…carry on..
Congrats..
Ted

With PSA as its source, who dares question the validity of information. Thanks Nicky for surfacing this other side of the story. Makes one wonder the real motive behind this “pandemic”. Does it have something to do with power preservation?

Try to look at countries that have not much power bickering and those with power struggles for preservation vis a vis covid-19. Another interesting viewpoint, I supposed.

What the figures reveal is more than that which the article points to! We actually saved lives because fewer patients had vaccines; chemotherapy; unnecessary surgeries; considerably less Iatrogenic deaths due to hospitalisation related medicines; and more!

Nikki, I have sudpected that this is so. have you sent this to the broadsheets? Social media is sometimes questioned by people.

can you come up with the causes of the deaths in the years you are mentioning? Could some or a lot be due to crime and accidents?

You’re using the wrong benchmarks in your analysis and therefore the conclusions are misleading. I don’t understand why you would use death toll as the key measure to be compared between pre-Covid and post-Covid 6-month periods. This is an irrelevant benchmark.

If you want a relevant benchmarks, use Singapore, Korea, Canada, Vietnam, and New Zealand. Compare the same measures you used in this “analysis,” but using numbers from the same countries on the same time period during COVID19.

I’d like to believe your intentions are good, which is to calm people down with fact-driven conclusion. But misleading conclusions can be very dangerous and irresponsible during times like these.

I do agree. I am not quite impressed with the idea of not having excess deaths as a measure that there is no epidemic and that we shall not be alarrmed. Can PSA identify what were the causes of death in the previous years?It would be a nice thought that the spread of C19 is contained in some areas.But question lies whether the numbers of C19 cases are really accurate at this point in time. Especially if APORS are not counted in the municipalities/cities where they are found and quarantined, so where are they included in the numbers being presented? My mentor used to say that statistics never lie and I really hope they do not lie indeed.

This COVID-19 SCAMDEMIC Is simply a means of CONTROLLING THE PEOPLE BY THE POWERS THAT BE. Wearinga mask or face shield is HAZARDOUS TOYOUR HEALTH. IT weakens the immune system and makes one more susceptible to illness MASKS DO NOT WORK IN PREVENTING THE VIRUS SPREAD. IF THE VIRUS DIES AT 23 Degrees Centigrade and the PH weathers is around 30 degrees, the virus is already dead and therefore noneed for the masks.

With these data gathered, I think there is, but a man-made epidemic. Let’s be determined for what the truth is. Thanks for enlightening.

The best statistic for my opinion. How many front liners ( Doctor’s and Nurses ) died in the same span of date given ?

That is a good question that I hope Dr. Nicanor Perlas would also check out and likewise make an addendum to his very good analysis based on PSA data.

Great questions, great analysis, especially when comparing death rates a year ago and now and COVID deaths as percentage of total deaths. A pity that our government bureaucracies and media are not up to making these kinds of summaries and assessments and draw conclusions for operational policies and practices. COVID 19 will definitely continue to spread but with proper hand washing, physical distance and using face masks the spread can be greatly managed, slowed down and controlled. Recent experience of many European countries attest to this as well.

Thanks for the good issues raised enlightened by mortality statistics related to the Covid 19 total picture.

But let’s remain clear about word use.
What is an epidemic?
An epidemic disease is one “affecting many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent.” An epidemic is “a rapid spread or increase in the occurrence of something,” usually with a negative connotation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) further specifies epidemic as occurring at the level of a region or community. So Covid 19 is definitely an epidemic. An illness does not necessarily have to have severe effects to be called an epidemic.

Compared to an epidemic disease, a pandemic disease is an epidemic that has spread over a large area, that is, it’s “prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world.”

Hi Doc Nicky, I agree with your analyses. My only question is: Do we have medicines or home remedy if we contracted the virus? The people are afraid not because of death but mainly on the high hospitalization cost and the pain and suffering caused by the disease.

Why does the medical profession and health wprkers say they are overwhemed with patients? Assuming the Covid -19 is not deadly foes those infected have to go through the hardship of being ill and spend so much gor the prolonged stay in the hospital.

My questions on the data:

1. Are the data for the previous years just deaths due to illnesses alone? Because deaths due to other factors might have decreased due to the limited mobility of people, less accidents, less exposure to other viral illnesses transmitted due to human to human interaction, etc. Can the lower death rate for 2020 be due to these other factors as well?

2. Are the current death rates due to the pandemic really reported accurately? Covid-19 can cause serious complications that may not have been reported as deaths due to Covid-19. Dr. Leachon himself said there were deaths that might not have been reported as due to an underlying Covid-19 case because tests were not done post mortem.

Thank you sir for shedding light on this.

The assumption that death is the only adverse outcome is baseless and insupportable.

Imagine that you had a highly contagious disease that was not fatal, but caused extended hospitalizations, enormous medical costs, and lasting medical issues. Just for purposes of argument, imagine that not one single person died of this disease: they were just left crippled and bankrupt.

Would that not be a pandemic simply because nobody died?

You can’t base an assessment purely on death rates because death is not the only adverse outcome in the picture.

Great analysis by simply citing comparative statistics. There is increasing suspicions and a tendency for hospitals with malicious intent to mis-declare ordinary respiratory cases as Covid-19 as they can claim bigger reimbursements from PhilHealth.

There are mounting allegations that tests will tend to ratchet up the Covid-19 cases for many reasons , which also happened in the US, thus Trump wanted to stop the testing.

For one, the tests could not really make a 100% match with the specific Covid-19 virus, out of the trillions of viruses, thus there is a high tendency of maybe even 90% match to be declared hastily as Covid-19 when it could have been its close cousin, Influenza virus or other related ailments and viruses.

Second, there are allegations, this is a PLANNEDEMIC, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has hastily dismissed these rumors as fake news, conspiracy theories, and totally baseless.
But WHO do you think Tedros is? Right or wrong, these stories must not be simply dismissed or brushed off by Tedros of WHO, but explored on their veracity. In short, the burden of proof must shift back to those being accused or alluded to, otherwise people will continue to entertain them are there are more questions s that are not adequately answered. So let the discourse continue, this time widen them to involve the public, DEEPEN the discussion so as to ironically ELEVATE people’s grasp to higher levels of understanding.

Excellent article, very informative and backed by hard data.
People are already suffering from a paralysis of fear, thanks to our mainstream media. Unfortunately, for some people, ignorance is a choice.

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