Misleading or biased data to justify restrictions and reinforce the government’s narrative

The case: between July and November 2021, up to 3 out of 4 deaths reported in the official bulletins could be "false" Covid deaths

Can epidemiological data be provided which are formally correct but totally misleading? Yes, and this is what unfortunately the Italian health authorities have done since the vaccination campaign was underway, to feed and enhance the narrative on the "silver bullet" vaccine (ie the only weapon against the coronavirus ) and on the "free Green Pass " -all "(except to be, as we have all seen, only on paper).

The tricks that can be used to achieve the aforementioned objective are numerous, and well known to professionals; but one of the simplest and most common is to aggregate the numbers in such a way as to hide the type of data that is actually of interest. And this low-grade expedient has been – and still is – used in Italy, causing independent experts and epidemiologists to "embarrass" (in private conversations) in communicating official data relating to: (1) number of positive Covid cases- 19 ; (2) number of hospitalizations for Covid-19 ; (3) number of deaths from Covid-19 . But let's see why this way of doing it is very incorrect.

Misleading data on daily Covid-19 positive cases

From the beginning of 2021 – therefore, substantially coinciding with the start of the anti -Covid vaccination campaign in Italy – for the counting of Covid-19 positive cases, traditional molecular swabs (which use the highly sensitive technology of amplification Polymerase Chain Reaction ), the antigenic buffers, less sensitive and reliable but much cheaper and faster in providing a result. This, however, as we will now see, has further distorted the count of real positives.

In fact, it should be noted that, even before the introduction of antigenic tampons, the positive cases indicated in the official daily bulletins were not the number of real new positive cases as a naive citizen would expect, but a "harlequin" number which basically represented a parody . In fact, the positive swabs counted were the sum of: (1) those of the asymptomatic positives, (2) those of the symptomatic positives and (3) those, repeated subsequently and positive results, of the quarantine. In fact, to exit the quarantine, two negative molecular swabs were initially required.

Naturally, the data that really interested from an epidemiological point of view (as well as for a more correct comparison with previous historical data) was that of the really new symptomatic positives, given that it is a small fraction of these subjects that can develop more severe forms of the disease; so much so that the WHO had to insist that only symptomatic swabs be done. Therefore, even counting the asymptomatic and positive swabs of quarantined people artificially inflated the number of positives in Italy. But that was fine at the time, because basically it was in the government's interest to create a more fearful state in the population to justify the heavy restrictions imposed.

Then, with the advent of antigenic swabs and the start of the vaccination campaign, the situation worsened further, since the data provided by the molecular swabs and those provided by the antigenic swabs are very inhomogeneous with each other, therefore the statistics are "skipped" and a serious comparison between the 2021 and 2020 data is complex. There is also the following numerical question. If I say I have done 100 tests, including only the molecular ones, and I have 5 positives, I have a 5 percent positivity rate. If in the total number I add 50 antigen tests to the 100 molecular swabs and I have 5 positives, the positivity rate collapses. Not a trifle, because this is one of the parameters that are evaluated to adopt restrictive measures.

So, at the beginning of 2021, the health authorities presented themselves with the opportunity, which they did not miss, to go in the opposite direction, that is to make it seem that with vaccines things were better – in practice, than the incidence of positives was lower – simply by adding all the antigenic and all the molecular swabs into the total count of the swabs made (including those made only to confirm the positivity found by the antigenic swab). To date, over 151 million swabs have been made in Italy (with an average of about 3 for each subject tested), of which 49.3 per cent antigenic, significantly lowering the positivity index with this trick; but neither the media nor the “virostar” have ever objected to anything.

As if this were not enough, the introduction of the Green Pass introduced a further statistical distortion (or bias , in jargon), as it was especially the unvaccinated who were buffered for months, who needed the tampon to access certain places. or activity. Therefore, the official data on positives in Italy is an aggregate and distorted data that now only partially represents the number that really interests both from an epidemiological point of view and to be able to correctly compare it with past and future data: that of new positives. symptomatic daily, also given that with the endemication of the virus there will be more and more "tamponade" mainly of the symptomatic ones.

Finally, as an icing on the cake, the sharp surge in the number of daily tampons that took place in Italy starting from 15 October, when the Green Pass was required to enter work, meant that the absolute number of positives has grown by a lot in part for this reason as well, since it is evident that the more people are tested, the more likely it is to discover positives; which is why the data that the authorities and the media should communicate to the general public should not be the absolute number of positives but, rather, the ratio between the new daily cases and the daily swabs performed. Furthermore, scientific correctness would also require the disaggregated data of symptomatic and asymptomatic patients to be provided.

The daily number of Covid positives, swabs carried out and relative percentage ratio from the beginning of the pandemic in Italy to today

Misleading data on daily hospitalizations for Covid-19

As is well known, the official daily data on hospitalizations for Covid-19 also includes asymptomatic people and those hospitalized for other diseases not related to Covid . This, especially in a phase like the current one – in which the virus circulates to a high extent but in most cases it is harmless like the flu – ends up very strongly distorting the data on hospitalizations that are really for Covid. Consequently, not only is it not known how many true Covid patients are hospitalized, but a comparison with previous data relating, instead, to periods of low viral circulation is not even possible.

A recent research by Fiaso (Federation of Healthcare and Hospitals) revealed that 34 percent of the positively hospitalized are actually hospitalized to treat something else. In other words, according to this study carried out on hospitalized patients on January 5 in 6 large Italian hospitals, more than one in three of the official hospitalized for Covid is actually not sick with Covid at all, because being positive does not mean being sick. Curiously, however, neither the Higher Institute of Health nor the Ministry of Health have decided to separate the overall figure, which is "polluted" in such a striking way.

According to Fiaso, "one in three patients, albeit with confirmed Sars-CoV-2 virus infection, is hospitalized to treat anything else: trauma, heart attacks, hemorrhages, decompensation, tumors", while Covid patients show clinical signs , radiographic and laboratory of lung involvement. Furthermore, the age difference between the two groups of positive patients should be underlined, as revealed by the Fiaso research. Patients hospitalized for Covid are much older and on average are 69 years old, while infected subjects without symptoms and hospitalized for other diseases are 56 years old on average.

For this reason, the Regions have asked (also to avoid passing into "colored" areas of orange or red) not to count as hospitalized for Covid those hospitalized for non-Covid diseases , and also the "virostar" with the clinical picture real before the eyes by attending the hospital wards, like Dr. Matteo Bassetti, they tried to raise the problem. But the Italian health authorities – and the inevitable crowd of stakeholders , led by those who have visibility on TV only because they provide "numbers" – have turned a deaf ear, hiding behind the justification that "every positive hospitalization forces the structures to prepare spaces and separate paths ".

It is a pity, however, that precisely because Omicron is now known to have a real danger equal to or less than an influence (as we will see, data in hand, in a future article), such reasoning is no longer justified, given that in the past it did not there have never been separate spaces and paths for those affected. But the serious mistake that must be reproached to the health authorities is not this – given that there may be a choice of caution for another 3-4 weeks – but the fact of not then separately providing the numbers of really hospitalized for Covid and those of patients positive results but hospitalized for other pathologies.

Fortunately, Lombardy – which has the largest number of positive hospitalized patients in intensive care and in ordinary wards – has led the other Regions in asking the Ministry of Health not to count as Covid hospitalizations patients hospitalized for other diseases and then positive results . For a few days, Lombardy has still provided the total number of positive hospitalized patients but is able to distinguish which directly relate to a Covid -dependent disease (pneumonia and severe respiratory failure) and which are not. And, of course, it is hoped that the other Regions are ready to follow it.

Misleading data on daily deaths from Covid-19

And now we come to the most important epidemiological data, that of the deaths from Covid . Here you may be thinking "ok, with the data of the positives and of the hospitalized we joked, but at least these will be correct". But no! Here the problems of the data provided by the health authorities are, if possible, even more serious and numerous. The first is that the official data are certainly "inflated", first of all because not only the deaths from the virus but also the deaths with the virus are counted in the daily deaths.

In this regard, for the “two weights and two measures” series, it should be emphasized that, as regards the deaths reported to the adverse effects databases, the exact opposite occurs: that is, as explained several months ago by prof. Paolo Bellavite, AIFA uses a pharmacovigilance algorithm validated by the WHO which is vitiated by a major methodological flaw, so that in practice it allows you to safely discharge vaccines whenever "other causes" for death are found. But, as Bellavite explains, “this criterion is a source of multiple errors if the so-called 'other cause' is a disease that could be worsened by the vaccine, that is, if there is an interaction between the vaccine and the underlying disease. This interaction is not an exception, but rather a rule when it comes to inflammatory diseases and the immune system ”.

Furthermore, two people whose relatives are within my circle of acquaintances died, respectively, in a well-known Milanese hospital and in a hospital in Trentino-Alto Adige, both of diseases that had nothing to do with Covid , so much so that their PCR buffer was negative. Despite this, the two hospitals wanted to attribute their death to Covid , stopping only in front of the threat of reporting by the victims' families. A former medical director of a Health Protection Agency (ATS) then confirmed to me, in private, that hospitals receive much higher reimbursements if a patient dies of Covid in intensive care, which – evidently – explains everything.

Prof. Andrea Crisanti, who in the talk show Accordi e disaccordi on January 14 commented on the data provided by the host on the number of intensive care places occupied for Covid in Italy, equal to 1679: "A person remains in intensive care for about 20 days and has a probability of death from Covid of about 50 percent. This means that 800 people die every 20 days, or 40 people a day. So where do the other 300 people die? I would like to ask, because for the sake of transparency I would like to know ". "So you mean that there are people counted as Covid dead who are out of intensive care?" Asked the host Sommi. "Of course, mathematics is not an opinion, you can see in a moment that it is so", replied Crisanti.

So how many are, in percentage, the "false" deaths from Covid present in the official statistics of the Italian health authorities? The question is fundamental, since it was precisely on these data that we relied on to impose unprecedented restrictions in a democratic country. Since it actually appears that the mortality in intensive care of Covid patients, in Italy, is between 40 and 60 percent, to have an estimate of the number of false deaths due to Covid it is enough to count the cumulative number of hospitalized in intensive care in a very large period of time, divide it by 2 to get the expected number of deaths and compare it with the number of official Covid deaths in the same period but out of phase by about 10 days, which is the median of a stay in intensive care (until November , before the Omicron variant).

The preliminary results of a very in-depth analysis that I am preparing on the subject show that, in a period of about 5 months between July and November 2021, the official deaths from Covid were 3.8 times those expected on the basis of hospitalizations in intensive care! In a similar period of the previous year, 2020 (therefore before the advent of vaccines), they were instead 2.7 times those expected, which is somewhat curious because we would have expected to have the highest value in 2020, not in 2021. So a sensational result, that of recent months, which is about half of the estimate, by its rough nature, made with the data of Crisanti: in fact, if – as he says – the deaths expected from intensive care are 40 per day and the official ones about 300, it would mean that the latter would be 300: 40 = 7.5 times those expected.

Therefore, the official data, if properly analyzed, seem to show that the real deaths from Covid are between 1 in 4 (substantially they were about 26 per cent of the total, in the second half of 2021) and 1 in 3 (about 37 percent of the total, in the second half of 2020). The remaining official deaths (or 60-75 percent of the total) did not die in intensive care and are very likely – as there are no other possible explanations (except for 5-10 percent of them) – "false" deaths Covid , i.e. deaths from other diseases but (a) positive to the swab (deaths with Covid, not for Covid) or (b) with negative swab but passed as Covid dead to get higher reimbursements from the NHS. The following figure summarizes and better clarifies the situation.

About 3 out of 4 official deaths from Covid, in a span of 5 months in the second half of 2021, died outside the ICU, according to a simple analysis of the data released by the ISS in its periodic Bulletins. Evidently there is "something wrong", to put it mildly

This evident Italian anomaly, however, seems to be confirmed by the comparison with other countries. On January 17, Matteo Bassetti, guest of Myrta Merlino at L'Aria che tira su La7, pressed by the presenter, explained why in Italy the number of deaths from Covid is always so high, thus marking a huge difference with other countries:

"In the form with which the death of a patient is reported, if the doctor writes 'positive' to the swab, unfortunately it is automatically classified as a death due to Covid . This is a topic that should be addressed, it is necessary to understand how many of those deaths are really connected to Covid pneumonia and how many to other problems ".

Now we begin to have a first estimate; the authorities, therefore, should provide clarification on the matter.

In conclusion, I believe that it is clear that providing data only in aggregate form and, in the case of deaths, not subjected to verification by ministerial inspectors, ensures that the official data on Covid provided by the authorities are, at best, a caricature of reality (this is the case of new positives and hospitalizations), and at worst they give a completely false picture (this is the case of the dead). However, since the restrictions on citizens' freedom are taken on the basis of such aggregated data, it is essential that: (1) they are also detailed in disaggregated form and (2) that checks are made on the number of actual deaths from Covid by part of independent third parties. Justifying the heavy measures adopted on the basis of science therefore seems inappropriate to me: real science is something else, and it is more serious.

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This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL https://www.atlanticoquotidiano.it/quotidiano/in-italia-dati-covid-fuorvianti-o-falsati-per-giustificare-le-restrizioni-e-rafforzare-la-narrazione-del-governo/ on Mon, 24 Jan 2022 03:53:00 +0000.