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More pandemic deaths than blitz deaths

Discussion in 'News' started by Corvuscorax, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. historyexcel

    historyexcel New commenter

    well I am citing this study from exeter uni https://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/his.../warstateandsociety/projects/bombing/britain/ which says; 'The total deaths in the ‘Blitz' amounted to over 43,000. Total deaths from the different forms of air attack 1940-1945 were around 61,000. Of these approximately 8,800 were the result of attacks by V-Weapons.' That said hard to see how accurate records were kept in the circumstances, hence the estimates.
  2. historyexcel

    historyexcel New commenter

    The sources for the pandemic figures I cited are all listed on this page; https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/uk/ by day.
  3. historyexcel

    historyexcel New commenter

    Absolutely agree with this.
  4. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    However it is possible for excess deaths to go down as it is in excess to historical values. One possible way for this to occur if a significant proportion of excess deaths were deaths that would still have taken place within the next few months.
    Jonntyboy likes this.
  5. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Those are deaths blamed on coronovirus. But lots of coronovirus deaths will not have been identified as such. Thats why excess deaths, as identified by the ONS are the best measure
  6. historyexcel

    historyexcel New commenter

    Yup I cant argue with that, quite right.
  7. pmh1882

    pmh1882 New commenter

    Whilst excess deaths may well be a useful metric in the longer term (and we're not through this yet, nor we do have accurate figures for many other countries) comparing this situation to the Blitz seems somewhat bizarre and irrelevant.

    If we're going to start comparing apples to apples we don't need to back to Spanish 'Flu. Our last particularly bad flu season was 2014-15 and even though the age demographics are fairly similar to Covid 19 there was far less concern. There were around 49,000 excess winter deaths according to ONS and since then, figures each year have been much better, which has helped bring the five year average down. Care homes were hit badly and we seem to traditionally do worse than other European countries. Perhaps there might be a renewed focus on the underlying factors behind health inequality as a consequence of Covid 19.

    Mistakes have been made by every government, some more than others, but I'd prefer it if we learned the right lessons to suit the UK context. What does need factoring in are the wider consequences of any decisions (poverty, mental health, missed cancer treatments, etc.) as relying only on epidemiologists modelling one factor misses the wood for the trees. I suspect the answer for future pandemics will lie somewhere between Sweden (where they also missed care homes out of the equation, as did the Imperial model) and Norway (where they now think the lockdown could have been avoided with the right measures).
  8. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    I disagree.

    I've seen people say this is the worst we've had it since WWII.

    I then see others replying, saying how many soldiers were killed.

    The argument comes back, yes but for civilians living back home...

    So, the implied question, how many people have died in the UK, compared to those who died during the blitz in the UK, looks like a quite pertinent question.

    I don't see why one comparison prevents anyone making another.

    No one is banned from comparing deaths to the Spanish Flu because they've looked at deaths in the blitz, nor vice versa.

    I would hope people who frequent a teachers' forum are intelligent enough to see just how far comparisons inform us, or in what ways.
    Alice K and Corvuscorax like this.
  9. pmh1882

    pmh1882 New commenter

    It's only a pertinent question if you're getting pulled into a spurious argument in the first place. Note: This is the latest Covid 19 infographic from PHE https://assets.publishing.service.g...file/890033/COVID19_Weekly_Report_03_June.pdf If those mortality demographics look like civilian deaths from enemy action in the Blitz you can have a fiver.

    I think the response to anyone saying that that a global pandemic is analogous to the Second World War is to say stop talking nonsense. Self isolation, working from home and social distancing don't stop a bomb falling through your ceiling.

    This comparison with the war is a consequence of wanting to validate the disruptive rather than life-threatening lockdown experience for most and pretend that 'we're all in it it together', when this event will likely magnify social inequality for years to come.

    If we're actually going to learn from this (because there will be something similar in the future I'm sure) then there are a number of hard questions to face, including the fact that we as a society accepted tens of thousands of mainly older people dying of 'flu as a fact of life (or death) just a few years ago.
  10. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Yes the number of deaths from Cv19 is still smaller than the number of people who die from flu most years.

    I wonder why we don't see hysterical posts every April saying that "more people have died from flu this past winter than died in the Blitz".
  11. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    290 000 - 650 000 deaths annually from seasonal flu worldwide. In about 3 days we'll be north of 400k covid-19 deaths, and that's before accounting for under-reporting and the fact that the death toll would be an awful lot higher without the drastic measures taken to control the virus.
  12. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    I was really referring to figures for Britain, which I looked up, but I'm happy to accept your wider ones too.

    The only comment I would make is that we need to account for over-repoerting as well; I have no information about that in Britain, but there have been doctors in the USA who have "come out" as it were to say that they have been pressured to report non-Cv19 deaths as Cv19 deaths.
  13. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    The key thing with flu is they peak in the winter months Jan/Dec and get less in the summer. This virus is not flu, the ONS figures show it peaking in the middle of April (maybe again later in the year) and excess deaths whichever way you look at it are higher than the 5 year average for deaths at this time. How much of those being Covid is still debatable.
  14. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    The excess deaths figure does account for over reporting and comes out at tens of thousands higher than the deaths reported to be from CV, so indicates MASSIVE under reporting
  15. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    because this virus has a death rate 100x higher than flu? Because the worst annual casualty numbers from flu this century have been less than half the number of covid deaths in the last 3 months? Because most years the deaths from flu over 6 months of winter will have been under 10% of the deaths from covid in the last 3 months? because you can be immunised against flu? Because most of the population has already been exposed to flu?

    I wonder why we have poster referring to factual posts about covid as "hysterical"?
    Alice K likes this.
  16. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    I've seen those claims made 2nd hand, I wasn't aware any doctors had actually claimed that directly.
  17. pmh1882

    pmh1882 New commenter

    I suspect because 'factual' posts aren't always what they seem:

    Because this virus has a death rate 100x higher than flu? False. Current lowball estimate is 5% of the UK population has had Covid 19. https://news.sky.com/story/coronavi...vid-19-in-london-one-in-20-across-uk-11992393 That's around 3.3 million people. Even if all 60,000 excess deaths are Covid-related (rather than a consequence) that makes its death rate slightly higher than flu, rather than 100x.

    Because the worst annual casualty numbers from flu this century have been less than half the number of covid deaths in the last 3 months? Probably true, but you negated point one yourself. Again, we rationalise flu deaths already and I suspect there will come a point when the majority do the same with Covid 19, with or without a vaccine.

    Because most years the deaths from flu over 6 months of winter will have been under 10% of the deaths from covid in the last 3 months? Likely false, at least debatable. We're usually around 20,000 excess winter deaths. The proportion due to flu has risen as the proportion due to the cold has dropped.

    because you can be immunised against flu? Because most of the population has already been exposed to flu? And yet we accept 10s of thousands of deaths to something which can kill us despite immunisation without taking drastic steps with many second and third order consequences.
    Jonntyboy likes this.
  18. pmh1882

    pmh1882 New commenter

    I'm not sure when the deaths occur is relevant though. We accept early deaths from flu and any other number of causes already and put a number on the price of quality of life for medical interventions (iirc it's £33k/year gained). As we learn more about it and how to manage risk we'll have to decide what is acceptable regarding Covid 19 too, particularly as whilst it is not flu it's affecting a similar demographic to traditional flu.
    Jonntyboy likes this.
  19. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Hysterical was probably a word that was ill-advised and I apologise. Maybe "over-reacting"?


  20. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    Comparing flu to covid is largely bogus. It's almost as much of a 'false equivalence' as the blitz comparison.

    Flu is a generic term for strains viruses which can sometimes be fended off by vaccines / can sometimes be treated effectively / can mutate, but have been studied for centuries. Covid is a single, novel pathogen. Novel pathogens create new and immediate risk / no immunity / no vaccine / no established treatment / and in the case of covid-19, currently high mortality/infectiousness.

    I certainly don't see the massive effort and sacrifice we've made at the outset to combat the spread of the disease as an 'overreaction' or in any way hypocritical vis-a-vis yearly flu deaths ( apples and oranges ). Long term, yes, we'll have to manage the risk of covid-19 just like anything else - as pmh1882 says - but, personally, I'm proud of the international attempts that have been made to stop the initial spread and shield the vulnerable from this new deadly virus. It's served as a counterbalance to my natural cynicism about the state of the world. Most people seemingly do care whether a(n old) person suffers an (avoidable) early death... it's still a life cut short.

    If we could continue to care about the quality of essential public services going into the future - putting our money where our mouths are and raising a little more in tax so our country can be 'world-leading' in the right way - that would be even better.
    Marisha likes this.

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