Sad to say, though, it was not too long before reality hit home: there was indeed misinformation, and on Wednesday this week, TalkRADIO got caught. Their Twitter feed told that “Dr John Lee, former professor of pathology, says there are no excess deaths caused by Covid according to the latest mortality figures, adding that they are ‘within the envelope of what normally happens this time of year.’” But that was not true.
Lee’s claim, “We're seeing mortality that's well within the envelope of what normally happens this time of year. The last five years have been a below average number of death years if you look at the ONS data anyway compared to the last 27, which is how far their data go back...we’re below the average point of the deaths at this time of year” was taken on board by self-promoting host Julia Hartley Dooda. But not everyone was convinced.
The people at FullFact were among that number. Their response was “Using figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for England and Wales, the death rate towards the end of 2020 was about 20% above the five-year and 16% above the 27-year average. After adjusting for population size, the death rate was still above the 27-year average, though to a lesser extent”. Lee was wrong. But he was not challenged.
There was more. “Dr Lee claimed that ‘we’re below the average point of the deaths at this time of year.’ It’s unclear what he meant by ‘this time of year’, but whether you look at the last week, the last fortnight, or the last month of the year, the picture is much the same … Overall, the number of deaths during this period was 20% higher than the average over the same period from 2015-2019”. Also, Lee is on the “false positives” bandwagon.
And, quite apart from misleading the public, the claim aired on TalkRADIO has now come up against grim reality, as Sky News has reported: “Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has declared a ‘major incident’ in the capital due to rising coronavirus cases threatening to overwhelm hospitals … There are 7,034 people currently in hospital with COVID-19 in London - 35% higher compared to the first peak of the pandemic in spring”.
Not only is TalkRADIO pushing misinformation, the pandemic is taking hold to the extent that positive tests are up almost 34% in a week, with the number of patients admitted to hospital increasing by 37%, and the number of deaths reported in the past week up by almost 29%. And there is TalkRADIO, still pushing the “false positives” claim, pretending that we can just “shield the vulnerable”, and that there aren’t any excess deaths.
On that interview alone, YouTube has grounds to take TalkRADIO’s channel down once more. It’s not about FREEZE PEACH. It’s about pumping blatant misinformation into the public discourse and emboldening the wackos who believe it’s not really happening.
If one person dies because of that misinformation, it is unforgivable. The reality may well be that that number is significantly higher. But FREEZE PEACH. Pass the sick bag.
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