Trends In Causality for England, 2014/w23 – 2022/w46 (part 1)
Statistical analysis of a dataset obtained under FOI by Joel Smalley revealing weekly deaths by date of death, age, sex and primary cause of death.
Back on 13 Dec 2022 über dude Joel Smalley of Dead Man Talking fame gave a Christmas present to his fellow warriors, this being a data dump from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealing the death tally by date of death (as opposed to date of death registration, which can muddy the water) by week for the period 2014/w23 to 2022/w46 by sex, age band and primary cause for the fair nation of England.
Now this is very exciting stuff indeed, causing me to do a little happy dance just like Gregg Wallace on BBC’s Masterchef. I’ve been rumbling around the edges of the data since then, waiting for a window of opportunity to open in my schedule, and today is the day to flour my hands and get baking!
Age band-wise the ONS get very touchy about something they call ‘disclosure’, this meaning ordinary folk being able to identify the demise of some poor soul by virtue of their date and manner of death, especially when national counts are few and far between. Thus, gone are my favourite quinary age groupings, and in their place are quasi-decadal age groupings. I say ‘quasi’ because the ONS are not happy offering young death in anything less than 1 – 17 and 18 - 29 year-old catch-all categories. Primary cause is what folk will be less familiar with since this is an ICD-10 thingy (International Classification of Diseases, release 10), so we better kick off with this.
Chapter & Verse
Each and every clinical diagnosis under the sun within ICD-10 (there were 95,352 last time I looked) is grouped into something called a ‘chapter’, there being 21 of these, marked by a fancy Roman numeral. Each chapter contains a code block marked by the English capital letters from A – Z, and each letter is divided into 100 sub-divisions from 0 – 99. Beyond this each sub-division can be broken down further into an infinite number of decimal divisions.
Thus, one of my favourite diseases – Bird Fancier’s Lung – is found in chapter X (diseases of the respiratory system), which runs from J00 – J99, the specific coding for this condition being J67.2 (a.k.a. J672).
We’ve heard a lot about sudden (adult) death recently, and this is coded as I46.1 (sudden cardiac death, so described). Here’s a summary of all ICD-10 chapters and coding blocks that you are going to meet in this series:
In case you are wondering where COVID-19 sits, this has been tucked in under chapter XXII Codes for special purposes. Back in 2020 the WHO decided COVID-19 would be coded as U07.1 COVID-19, virus identified or U07.2 COVID-19, virus unidentified (yes indeed, medics were permitted to guess). This definition was expanded in early 2021 as cases dwindled to incorporate U09.9 Post-COVID condition, unspecified and U10.9 Multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19, unspecified.
I bang on about the slippery nature of COVID counts in this article and this article, and shall cheekily suggest that vaccine harm is easily hidden using U09.9, and especially U10.9. Incredible as it may seem you can synthesise a global pandemic just from fiddling with clinical codes, which is why sober analysts prefer to look at all cause death. As Mrs Dee puts it, “the bucket still has the same number of coloured balls as before but you’ve painted them all red!”
There follows a show of 21 slides revealing mortality across England for the period 2014/w14 – 2022/w46 for all age groups and both sexes combined. Weekly population estimates are my own, as derived from ONS mid year estimates using a modicum of modelling. To kick things off I shall tabulate the 4,339,179 deaths that go to make the entire datafile of 174,746 records in descending order of count:
Now that we’ve got the big picture in our heads, let us have a look at the trend for each of these in turn. I shall keep commenting to a minimum since I’ll be coming back to each slide in future articles.
Before you eyeball these please do bear in mind that there are significant delays to processing of death certificates, especially for the younger age groups, so we don’t yet see the complete picture for 2022 (interested folk may wish to glance back at this article series). Here goes…
Cause #1: Neoplasms
There’s a surprising periodicity here that marks the winter season that started to lose seasonal identity in 2019. That extreme peak during 2020 corresponds to 2020/w15 (w/e 10th April), with the extreme low point occurring 2020/w22 (w/e 29th May). Seasonality appears to have vanished altogether during 2021/2022 and I shall be looking at this series in more detail in a future article.
Cause #2: Diseases of the circulatory system
Another fine example of seasonality, though this time not quite so surprising as people put hearts under strain with festive excesses of one sort or another. This time the pandemic year of 2020 puts in a showing, with that singularly odd peak also coinciding with 2020/w15 (w/e 10th April). We may well ask how it is possible for cancer and heart trouble to peak at exactly the same time! Please note that this series is by date of death, so we’re not looking at some administrative artefact but a rather peculiar situation indeed. Again I shall be looking at this series in more detail in a future article.
Cause #3: Diseases of the respiratory system
We fully expect respiratory disease to exhibit a strong seasonality and it does so, right through to the winter of 2020/2021, after which it disappears from the radar. Our little island in a cold North sea didn’t get drier or warmer, neither did the damp, rain, sleet, mist and fog disappear. Fungal spores were released in abundance in the autumn much as they have done for millennia. Vehicles and factories emitted obnoxious fumes much as they have done; pollen counts were as high as ever, and bacteria filled every nook and cranny of our lives as it has done since the beginning. Despite this we are led to believe that respiratory illness – the third biggest killer of English folk – magically disappeared from these fair lands. I don’t think so. Viral influenza may have been pushed into the corner by the new kid in town but bacterial pneumonia sure didn’t evaporate, neither did COPD, asthma, and a whole bunch of other chronic and acute conditions. We’re looking at a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Cause #4: Mental & behavioural disorders
Though this may come as a surprise to some, seasonality in mental and behavioural disorders is well established and perhaps a kind reader might offer some juicy links and insight. My beady eyes suggest a peak just after the turn of the year, so January/February aren’t the best of months for those struggling. I am going to bet some readers have already emitted expletives at the sight of that truly enormous peak during early 2020, and I bet these folk are going to guess which week we are talking about. Yes indeed, it is 2020/w15 (w/e 10th April), followed by 2020/w16. Thus we have peak cancer, cardiac and mental disorder death all happening during the same week.
Cause #5: Diseases of the nervous system
This is the first series that exhibits a positive trend over time. That is to say, our nervous systems are gradually falling to pieces. No doubt there will be some readers who want to have a say about this, so I shall get the fire started by mentioning pesticides, heavy metals, food additives, pharmaceuticals, vaccines and electrosmog. No doubt there will be more factors, but despite any debate that may arise one thing is clear and that is something isn’t right and is getting worse.
Surprisingly, we observe a strong degree of seasonality that should hopefully open the conversation out. Are we taking more pills during winter? Is lack of sunlight and over-reliance on artificial light a driver? The controversial neurosurgeon Jack Kruse is certainly worth a follow in this regard.
So, we have another peak during spring of 2020 – and not just any peak but the peak of peaks that simply should not be there. Examples of diseases of the nervous system are: meningitis, encephalitis, Parkinsonism, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and various nerve disorders. What are these doing peaking during… you’ve guessed it… 2020/w15 (w/e 10th April)? First cancer, then cardiac, then mental and now the nervous system all peaking in the same week. How bizarre is that?
To be continued…
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Reference to Cause #3: Diseases of the respiratory system
I’ve been puzzled by SARS Cov-2 - (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) since subscribing to the (Syndromic Surveillance System) in 2020.
It seemed to me that mostly respiratory illnesses (upper and lower respiratory tract infection, pneumonia, influenza like and bronchial illnesses) reported to GP In Hours and Emergency Department, all seemed to be trending below baseline for most of the year. Not what I was expecting from a SARS like illness.
Am I missing something that caused the deaths in so many during the peak death period🤔
I give Kruse's facebook a daily glance. Small world. "pesticides, heavy metals, food additives, pharmaceuticals, vaccines and electrosmog" ... I didn't realize how woke you were. But detox is quackery! Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
“we estimate that about 400 000 deaths are attributable to lead exposure every year in the USA, of which 250 000 are from cardiovascular disease. Concentrations of lead in blood lower than 5 μg/dL (<0·24 μmol/L) are an important, but largely ignored, risk factor for death in the USA, particularly from cardiovascular disease.”