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Byron Shire
September 21, 2021

Cherry-picked COVID-19 statistics: Were the weekend’s ‘Freedom Rallies’ based on science?

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Brought to you by The Echo and Cosmos Magazine


Flyer delivered to an Echo and COSMOS reader.

A flyer recently dropped into the letterboxes of some New South Wales residents urged people to attend the controversial ‘Freedom Rallies’ in Brisbane and Sydney’s CBDs last Saturday 24 July.

It seemed to have an effect: thousands turned out for the illegal assemblies. Few marchers wore masks or observed social distancing, and chaotic scenes ensued in Sydney as police sought to break up the gathering and make arrests. Health authorities warned the rallies might potentially turn into a ‘super-spreader’ events, leading to extended lockdowns – not exactly the result the marchers were looking for.

Like a previous flyer endorsed by Clive Palmer, the double-sided single-page document in question devoted one page to what it suggested were false media claims about the very existence of a current pandemic, with emotive claims about the perceived unfairness of public orders, and the resulting effect of these on individual rights. None of these claims were supported by any verifiable evidence.

The flipside presented a series of statistics lifted from a weekly report by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), dated 15 July 2021. It appears under the heading ‘Australia – Jan 01 to July 15 2021’.

Yes, this TGA report exists.

The flyer presents four statistics – each of which might politely be referred to as ‘cherry-picked’.

Let’s break down each number and present some context.

Flyer delivered to an Echo and COSMOS reader.

Flyer delivered to an Echo and COSMOS reader

Deaths from Covid-19 – 3

We must assume that this refers to the number of reported deaths due to COVID-19 that have occurred since 21 June, around the time that the current wave of COVID-19 began. In fact, the overall number of reported COVID-19 related deaths in Australia in the last 18 months is 918.

The reason there have been no more than three deaths in Australia in 2021 is due to the strategy of authorities in reducing and eliminating (for a time) the virus from circulating in the community, and the vigilance of contact tracers in isolating carriers of the virus.

There have been a total of around 33,000 COVID-19 cases in Australia in the last 18 months, so, based on 918 deaths, the death rate in Australia is around 1 per 1,000 people with COVID-19.

Looking at cases and deaths that concern just the current Delta outbreak that began in June, there have been 8 deaths in around 2200 cases, and a 10 per cent hospitalisation rate. These show a slightly different epidemiological pattern than previous strains, because it may be more infectious, and therefore the risk of catching and potentially dying from Delta is higher than 1 per 1,000.

The flyer doesn’t take any account of long COVID, the syndrome in which symptoms of severe illness persist after ‘recovery’, which affects around 1 in 10 people who have contracted COVID-19.

Deaths after Covid-19 vaccine – 377

This number is correct, according to the report. And it even sounds like hundreds of people have been killed by the vaccine.

But this distorts a simple statistic.

These 377 deaths have followed 9.1 million vaccinations, which includes a combination of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, but this number refers to deaths after vaccination, not deaths caused by vaccination.

The TGA states: ‘Part of our analysis includes comparing expected natural death rates with observed death rates following immunisation.

‘Detailed investigation and expert review of individual case reports and the data as a whole are required to assess whether there is a link between an event and the vaccine.

‘So far, the observed number of deaths reported after vaccination remains LESS (our emphasis) than the expected number of deaths that would occur naturally, or from other causes, for that proportion of the population.”

This means that every death that occurs within three months of vaccination is investigated to judge the cause of death. A large portion of people vaccinated were above 75, many of whom would normally have died within this time period regardless.

So nearly all the deaths that occurred within three months were not caused by the administration of a vaccine, but by another factor.

To date, there have been six confirmed vaccine-related deaths, all linked to AstraZeneca, after a total of 6.1 million doses. This means the possibility of death following a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine is approximately 1 in a million. The current death rate for COVID-19 is 1 per 250.

‘It is therefore important to remember that the number of adverse events and deaths is not an indicator of the safety of the vaccines,’ the TGA report states.

Covid-19 vaccine adverse effects – 39,077

This number is also correct, according to the TGA report. In 9.1 million doses, side effects were reported at a rate of about 4 in 1000.

But they are almost entirely minor and typical.

‘The most common adverse effects following immunisation reported to the TGA are predictable and have been observed with vaccines generally,’ says the TGA report.

‘They include headache, muscle pain, fever, chills and injection site reactions.’

Adverse reactions are fairly common, and this has never been a secret. This is why you are required to stay for a bit following a vaccine administration, so that trained staff can monitor your reaction.

However, most of the reactions are minor and dissipate quickly.

Blood clots/low platelet issues – 83

This number is also correct, but again out of context. We must assume that this refers specifically to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

At the time of the report, there had been 5.4 million administrations of AstraZeneca vaccine, with 26,000 reports of adverse effects, including headache, muscle pain and fatigue, 83 of which were reported as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a type of platelet-related blood clot. Of those presenting with TTS, five have died.

That means the rate of TTS following administration of AstraZeneca vaccine at this time was 15 per million. In comparison, the likelihood of death due to car accident in Australia is over three times higher – 50 per million – than a non-lethal TTS, and 50 times higher than dying from TTS-related complications following an AstraZeneca jab.

Here is a list of resources about vaccines and how they work:

 


This article was written by Cosmos Magazine science journalist Dr Deborah Devis, who holds a PhD in plant genetics from the University of Adelaide. Read the original article.

Published by The Echo in conjunction with Cosmos Magazine.


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21 COMMENTS

  1. So much wrong with this article but the excerpt that most stands out to me is this…
    “This means that every death that occurs within three months of vaccination is investigated to judge the cause of death. A large portion of people vaccinated were above 75, many of whom would normally have died within this time period regardless.
    So nearly all the deaths that occurred within three months were not caused by the administration of a vaccine, but by another factor.”

    …and could just as easily be replaced by this…
    “This means that every death that occurs within three months of Covid-19 infection is investigated to judge the cause of death. A large portion of people diagnosed were above 75, many of whom would normally have died within this time period regardless.
    So nearly all the deaths that occurred within three months were not caused by the Covid-19 infection, but by another factor.”

    • It’s a bit easier to establish the connection between Covid infection and death no doubt, , than vaccination and death three months later – symptoms, factors that led to the cessation of breathing, organ failure etc. No the statements are not interchangeable. It’s these non sequitors that characterise the feeble logic of many who want to tell us Covid is either an invention or nothing to worry about.

      Now that Covid is becoming increasingly a pandemic of the young the statistics on relative random chance of death will also be quite different I suspect.

  2. Wow Echo, this one is straight out of the Govt/Pfizer (no legal liability, but full profitability) Pharmocracy play book.

    “The reason there have been no more than three deaths in Australia in 2021 is due to the strategy of authorities” Of course less deaths has nothing to do with a virus that becomes less deadly over time, or the fact most of us will be asymptomatic. Thanks authorities.

    Have the “authorities” been in contact with your office or editors and staff at the Echo?

    Talk about cherry pick “this number refers to deaths after vaccination, not deaths caused by vaccination” “…many of whom would normally have died within this time period regardless”

    Seriously, same could be applied for covid deaths e.g. deaths after infection, not caused by infection, they would have died regardless.

    And where was the call about “illegal assemblies” for the BLM protests? I support both protests, but only one appears to be ok now. Tut tut.

    Echo come on. Do balance better.

    • Steve Journalism is actually about reporting on facts, and informed opinion, preferably from experts on the topic being reported. It is not about mirroring your own confused and distorted perception so you can revel in your own confirmation bias. Try taking your non- perception to Indonesia now, or India a few months back and the actual covid situation in less organised contexts and unvaccinated populations may be a little more clear for you.

      • Yes I try and get some perception, I speak with folks living in Indonesia regularly. As for India, do you know why death rates have fallen there considerably?

        Hint – its because “authorities” now allow certain treatments that don’t get a mention by our local journalists, who once reported on all facts, not just pharma-approved gems.

        Back to the article and point – did you see any local journalist report on the freedom Da March in Brisbane on the same day as the “illegal assemblies” in Sydney? They had many more in attendance, no arrests and yet very little reporting.

        • Let me guess: Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin and Vitamin D?
          Medicos do not totally dismiss ivermectin they just point to less than overwhelming results. They have, in the desperate search for answers, investigated Hydroxychloroquine but cannot produce results that would justify its use . So who’s got shares in these pharmaceuticals eh that they keep being trotted out? Follow the money!

  3. So when a person in their 80s dies after a “positive” PCR test they are listed as a Covid death, no matter what their health status or if they had comorbidities. But when a person in their 70s dies after being injected it’s just because they’re old and we’re going to die anyway.
    Look at you sciencing!

  4. Who is signing this piece of “journalism”, is it you “the echo”? Or is there a black hand twisting your arm guys? Aren’t you gonna give any credit to the people fed up lies and propaganda? This looks like a Murdock job, your so long nemesis. Smelling rotten. Looking sus. If you’re gonna take parts choose carefully as you will lose me and many more.

  5. All these doctors, nurses, microbiologists, immunologists, epidemiologists, and other researchers keep saying COVID-19 is dangerous, but all these people who barely passed science in high school keep saying it’s not. It’s so hard to know whom to believe any more.

  6. I see you cherry picked and distorted the figures – deaths AFTER vaccine not caused by…?? These deaths were reported after the vaccine because that is when you report a death FROM a vaccine. These are reported as due to the vaccine because there was no other reason for the death even though they would have desperately looked for anything else to blame the death on… and these deaths are highly under reported because the vaccine is “SAFE”. Sorry Echo you’ve lost me

  7. Well that’s about the most government byased echo article I’ve ever read.
    The whole point of the March is that the science is byased and one sided bringing up government stats proves absolutely nothing but how deep the river runs 🤣

  8. Thank you Echo for a simple to understand and myth busting article. These are the facts.

    The normal conga line of conspiracy theorists will not like this, but hopefully those in our community take an open minded sceptical stance might find this helpful in being discriminating about data cited in social
    Media.

  9. If the Delta and any other future variants are as dangerous as claimed, is it not good sense to err on the side of caution and take this Covid 19 seriously. Vaccines have eradicated Smallpox and made other diseases like Whooping cough and Polio rare in the western world. Long Covid is an issue seemingly ignored by Covid 19 / vaccine deniers. I have no trust in the integrity of governments but people who have studied often for many years and are experts in their field of science and who may have devoted their whole careers to that science should not be ignored any more than the scientists who warn of global heating catastrophe and any other environmental issues.

    • Right on. That stood out for me too.

      How about: “ ..the number of adverse events and deaths is not an indicator of the safety of the vaccines”. TGA

      Then what is? What else do we have to go on in trial phase of a mass experiment?

  10. Yes – there are ‘trials’ – a necessity. No one’s playing God & Goddess to get some warped attention.
    Already pointed out – [1] Deaths were reported AFTER VACCINATION – not caused by vaccination.
    [2] A large portion of ‘those vaxed were above 75+ who could well have passed on due to age &
    other medical problems.
    [3] AZ Vax deaths equal 1 in one million.
    [4] Adverse Effects of both Vaxes – 4 in 1000.
    [5] Blood clots – AZ – 5 people died.
    [6] The 377 deaths after 9.1, million Vaxes small enough to live with.
    The ‘experts’ do need to be listened to. The Political ‘herring-bones’ – NEVER.

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