Did the ONS deliberately mislead the public over the C19 risks to cause fear?
Author: George Robinson
This table highlights in red where the ONS caused panic by overstating mortality rates in 2020 and by implying wrongly that SARS-CoV-2 might have led to a serious rise.
The paragraph numbers refer to the ONS document. The green column identifies each bias and presents a neutral commentary on the data instead. Phrases such as "10 years ago.." are written as of 2020 (when the ONS published the review), not as of today. Summary.
The ONS paper unaccountably fails to provide a common sense review of 2020 mortality data because it does not properly integrate the trend in death rates over the last hundred years, or the population growth, or the ages of those who died, or the concept of a 'bonfire effect', or the unsuitability of calendar years to measure irregularly timed Winter-deaths, or the failure of a 5-year rolling average to describe the recent & highly unusual 10-year dip. Instead, inappropriate data points are selected and uncritically presented that happen to paint the most deadly possible picture of 2020.
The paper repeatedly sows fear of a pandemic for example by first raising a comparison of 2020 to the Spanish 'Flu in 1918, and then unconvincingly dismissing the notion.
Several similar mechanisms of subconscious influence over the reader are deployed, although flashes of guardedly accurate writing also appear, suggesting that despite an overall bias to support the national fear of a CoVid pandemic, there are also undeclared conflicts of interests between more than one contributor.
Conclusion. The ONS has created pandemic fear from the 2020 data, whereas a faithful account would reassure the public that the year's data are unremarkable.
Author: George Robinson, Engineer
Ver. 1.2, 12 May 2022
Reference document is on the ONS Blog:
"Counting deaths involving coronavirus: a year in review",
posted by Sarah Caul on 12th Jan 2021 Document URL is https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2021/01/12/counting-deaths-involving-coronavirus-a-year-in-review
Document snapshot 2021 is https://www.dropbox.com/s/9neijo3tds0my3s/21%20OnsSarahCaulReview2020.pdf?raw=1 Introduction.