JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Death tolls could be 60% higher than official numbers

Mortality rates show that this is a medical situation we have not seen since WWII

All statistics are suspect but some numbers still tell us something important. In the early fog of a global pandemic, a proper diagnoses is difficult if not impossible. People are dying of heart attacks because they are too scared to go to hospital, but equally, Covid is causing heart attacks and strokes that might never have happened. It’s fair to ask how many deaths are due to Coronavirus and how many are due to the lockdown, but it’s not realistic to expect that we can do an autopsy on every single patient. And as the Financial Times team points out, the excess deaths also occur in the regions of the UK with the highest infection rates — which suggests they are due to the virus, not just collateral damage. Though people will also be less willing to visit a hospital in a zone where there are more cases. On the other hand, in areas with lockdowns but no major outbreaks, the mortality rates are 10% below normal (see many US states). So these peaks could have been even higher but the lockdown saved some people [...]

New York “like mass casualty event”: coronavirus and other deaths up three-fold

Across the US all-cause mortality is down as as people avoid catching the flu, getting run over, and other risks. But in New York where coronavirus has hit hardest, all-cause mortality is at record highs.

This is nothing like the seasonal flu

For the whole month of March, deaths in New York were twice as high as normal. This includes not just extra coronavirus deaths but all other causes. Deaths were even higher than the number of known coronavirus deaths, leaving cardiologists worried that there may have been an increase in other conditions like heart attacks or strokes, because people were afraid to go to hospital or couldn’t get help in time.

This is an underestimate.  The authors expect this number to rise as more paperwork gets completed. It’s still only a small excess in a giant country, but it hints at the scale of the event were no quarantine measures put in place, no flights stopped, and the virus allowed to spread naturally. The current epidemic is stabilizing in New York, but if major action wasn’t taken, this would be the early weeks of a pandemic about to sweep across all fifty states. And this would not be the [...]

Strap Yourself in: just three weeks from 3 patients to a hospital system on brink of collapse. 12% need intensive care.

Get out of the way of this virus.

Could Italy be suffering from a different and nastier strain?

Figures from South Korea and the Diamond Princess may not be a good guide to what’s happening in Italy and Iran. There something seriously different going on there. Death rates are much higher than expected. Three weeks ago, Italy officially had three cases, now a thousand people are dead and 12,000 have the virus. The hospital system is already at the point of being overwhelmed. Reports say that even stroke patients are now missing out on help, the ICU wards are overflowing, and the staff are prioritizing younger people because they have a better chance of survival.

Perhaps Italians hug more and spread more, perhaps it’s worse because they have an older demographic. But perhaps this is a deadlier strain than the one Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea appear to be containing. The Italian strain, whatever it is, is from the Iranian strain. Every country that has imported infected passengers from Iran will likely also have the Iranian strain.

Do we really want to follow Iran and Italy?

It’s not impossible — Just stop feeding the virus fresh bodies [...]

Doc explains how Coronavirus kills. Jo points out obvious: Stop the Flights or Close the schools, lockdown everyone

Fun subject of the day: How Coronavirus kills

No seriously, this is matter-of-fact, youtube-at-its-best, concise, cartoony, and smart.

Think of doctors as Body-Engineers. The problem to solve today Engineer-readers — is how to keep blood supply oxygenated when lungs are highly inflamed, filling with fluid, and the delicate thin membranes of lung tissue can’t cope with the sheer forces of rapid collapse and expansion. As well, if oxygen levels drop, even unconscious patients will breathe involuntarily — out of synch with artificial ventilation machines. The sensation of suffocation creates the urge to breath faster and harder. . The great news is ICU staff are getting much better at keeping people alive when they get ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) which can happen with other diseases (like Influenza). Seems, the ICUs can keep 84% alive while they wait for the inflammation to subside and the damage to heal. Though the DIY version at home probably won’t be so effective.

Not enough beds

Obviously, this explains my obsessive interest in the percentage needing ICU care and also the Ro (rate of reproduction or spread). With a shortage of ICU beds, slowing the spread makes a life-and-death difference to state the bleeding obvious. [...]

Japan: The precautionary principle killed more people than the Fukushima nuclear disaster

The panicked closure of nuclear power in Japan pushed electricity prices up. The UN agrees that no people died from radiation in the Fukushima event, but the frenzied over-evacuation killed up to 2,000 people. After that, higher electricity prices led to at least 1280 extra deaths in the 21 largest cities. That translates into 4,500 deaths if the mortality rate was similar across the rest of the country.

Japan nuclear shutdown did ‘more harm than good’, study finds

World Nuclear News

Be Cautious with the Precautionary Principle: Evidence from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident, by Matthew Neidell, Shinsuke Uchida and Marcella Veronesi. A discussion paper by the Germany-based IZA Institute of Labor Economics.

“Our estimated increase in mortality from higher electricity prices significantly outweighs the mortality from the accident itself, suggesting the decision to cease nuclear production caused more harm than good.”

The authors calculated that these higher electricity prices resulted in at least an additional 1280 deaths during 2011-2014. This is higher than a previously documented estimate of 1232 deaths which occurred as a result of the evacuation after the accident, they say.

“Since our data [on mortality related to higher [...]

Climate disasters are less costly, less deadly, and corporate warnings are just $1T of hot air

Hitting the presses today, the vacuous news that lots of companies picked huge numbers out of the air using broken models to guess hyperbolic climate losses coming in the next five years, counter to all the trends for the last hundred years which show declining losses on a GDP basis. The world got warmer but the disasters got less nasty. Less bushfire, less cyclones, less tornadoes, less death per capita. The trends are all good. The only thing that’s up is the number of panic merchants.

World’s biggest firms foresee $1 trillion climate cost hit

LONDON (Reuters) – More than 200 of the world’s largest listed companies forecast that climate change could cost them a combined total of almost $1 trillion, with much of the pain due in the next five years, according to a report published on Tuesday.

So hundreds of companies have offered the climate world a free hit for PR by making a guess. They fall into two kinds of companies –The badgered and harried and the profiteers. See below for examples.  Firstly, here’s the only chart that matters.

Global Weather losses are down:

If CO2 causes climate events we need more of it. The [...]

We need to protect our health system from Climate-change-doctors

Doctors are at it again trying to scare people about “climate change”. But all around the world, in every study in every city humans die more from the cold than they do from the heat (and by six to 20 times more). That’s thousands of lives and it happens every single year. Don’t these doctors know anything?

Attributable fraction of deaths: Heat, cold and temperature variability together resulted in 42,414 deaths during the study period, accounting for about 6.0% of all deaths. Most of attributable deaths were due to cold (61.4%), and noticeably, contribution from temperature variability [TV] (28.0%) was greater than that from heat (10.6%). Cheng et al.

The awful truth that incompetent self-serving doctors forgot to mention was that cooler room temperatures allow viruses to survive longer, which is just one of many reasons the Flu Season is always worse in winter.

Break my heart, if “climate change” is real the only thing the docs have to worry about is whether they’ll earn less money in winter.

Here’s the headline:

 Health system needs to be protected from climate change: doctors

Here’s the real news: The health system needs to be protected from climate-change-doctors. We can’t afford [...]

Despite record heat, six times as many people die of cold in Australia not heat

Australia has had the hottest temperatures for a thousand years (according to some). We’ve “shattered records” yet even so, at the peak of this hot era — six times as many Australians were felled by cold weather. Lord help us when the next ice-age comes.

A study on Australian deaths from 2000-2009 found that heat, cold, and temperature variability killed 42,000 people which was about 6% of all deaths. Of those temperature related deaths 60% were due to the cold. 28% were due to sudden changes in temperature. A mere 10% were due to heat.

Greenhouse gases should help prevent 90% of those deaths (they reduce temperature variability too). Looks like we need to burn more coal. For the sake of the vulnerable and needy.

When are our government and our government broadcaster going to start dealing with real problems, not fake ones?

 

Attributable fraction of deaths: Heat, cold and temperature variability together resulted in 42,414 deaths during the study period, accounting for about 6.0% of all deaths. Most of attributable deaths were due to cold (61.4%), and noticeably, contribution from temperature variability (28.0%) was greater than that from heat (10.6%).

 

Don’t assume we just got lucky. [...]

As it got hotter in Spain, less people died. Thank air conditioning and electricity.

Cheap energy might save more lives than expensive “climate-changey” energy?

Researchers looked at 47 major cities in Spain, from 1980 to 2015 and checked 554,491 deaths. Even though temperatures have risen, less people are dying of heat in Spain. Apparently human ingenuity, energy and air conditioners were more than able to keep up with climate change. The population is older but less vulnerable to heat now than it was forty years ago.

Air conditioners rose from 5% of the population to 35% during the study period.

Oh the dilemma — to save lives, should we build more windmills to try to change the global climate or aim to get 100% of households access to an air conditioner?

Welcome to the dire threat of climate change:

The relative risk of death fell as temperatures rose (According to the model used). See the caption below.

From the Discussion in the paper:

The temporal evolution of heat-related mortality risks here found is, in general, consistent with those reported by previous studies in some other countries [12–15], which provide evidence for a decrease in vulnerability to climate warming despite the ageing of societies. For example, in Spain, the proportion of people [...]

Last winter 9,000 more British pensioners died than usual — how many were due to high heating costs?

Higher electricity costs mean more people turn off their heaters

There’s a big freeze coming to Britain with minus 12C temperatures possible in the next three weeks.

Last year in winter in England there was a remarkable 40% rise in winter deaths

David Archibald emails that last year was a mild winter for Brits, but the death toll rose from the normal 25,000 excess to 34,000 people. Remembering that it’s moderate cold that kills far more people than extreme temperatures. The UK government advises rooms be heated to at least 18C. (I’ve been in a Canberra house where the temperature fell to 11C indoors, and that was in May.) Despite all the newspaper headlines about outside temperatures, the big killer is indoors.

The big killer is indoor temperature and moderately cold, not extremes.

Campaigners demand urgent cuts to power bill after number of winter deaths among the elderly rise by 40%

Pensioner groups are demanding urgent measures to cut the cost of heat and light after official figures revealed a surge in deaths last winter. There were some 34,300 so-called ‘excess’ deaths during the cold months, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). [...]

Forget extreme temperatures: Nothing kills as many people as moderate cold

Some are scoffing at the idea that rising heating costs will kill people. But check out the number-one temperature-killer in 74 million deaths across 13 countries. It’s not the extremes that we need to worry about, the deadly phrase is “mildly suboptimal temperatures”. Look at the blue finger of death in the graph below, starkly showing how irrelevant “extreme heat”, or any other ambient temperature zone, is.

Do you need an excuse to turn the heater on in winter? Low ambient room temperatures will thicken your blood.

Moderate cold accounted for as many as 6.6% of all deaths. Extreme temperatures (either cold or hot) were responsible for only 0·86%.

Join the dots — will we save more lives by:

a) making homes cold now in the hope that lower “carbon” emissions will,

b) mean less deaths from heat in 90 years time despite people probably having better access to heaters and air conditioners?

Would you sacrifice ten years of your life…

Note the big killer “moderate cold”  |  Click to enlarge

Cold is more likely to kill you in Sydney than in Sweden

Check out the curves below. As a percentage of the population, there [...]

Death, disease, coming in 2050 says model of model

“Half a million deaths by 2050!”

The Lancet study in a nutshell:  Take climate models that don’t work, and guesstimate what might happen to agriculture because of the climate we probably won’t get. Then use those guesses of food production in 2050 to fantasize what that means for human mortality. After all, we don’t know how many people are killed today by “4% less fruit and vege and 0.7% less meat”, but we can estimate what that dietary change will do in 2050 after a medical revolution, 35 years of plant breeding and agricultural changes. Not to mention a few more rounds of global food fads and phases of Vegan, Paleo, Atkins, and 5:2 Fasting.  (But how did they factor in the mortality effect from another 2,000 episodes of MasterChef?)

Seriously, CO2 has increased crop yields, and will continue to do so until we hit 1000ppm (or maybe 2000). Around the planet, plants grow in warm places, and shrivel up and die in cold ones. So do people. Cold kills 20 times as many people as heat does. It must take a lot of modeling to calculate “more deaths” from two good outcomes.

Look at where fruit grows. In a warmer world, the [...]

Study on 74 million deaths: Cold weather kills 20 times more than heat does.

Of seventy four million deaths (that is quite some study) 7.7% of all deaths could be blamed on “non-optimal” temperatures according to Gasparrini et al in the Lancet. But look closely, and 7.3% of deaths were due to the cold and only 0.4% were due to the heat.

This may be part of the reason people retire to Florida, and not so much to Barrow, Alaska.

The biggest killers were not the heat waves that score the headlines, but the moderate cold. Winter kills. (Time to ban winter?)

Cold weather kills far more people than hot weather

Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries. The findings, published in The Lancet, also reveal that deaths due to moderately hot or cold weather substantially exceed those resulting from extreme heat waves or cold spells.

“It’s often assumed that extreme weather causes the majority of deaths, with most previous research focusing on the effects of extreme heat waves,” says lead author Dr Antonio Gasparrini from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the UK. “Our findings, from [...]