During the week ending May 26th 2023 there were 1,397 recorded deaths from heart failure. That’s 424 or, if you prefer it as a percentage, 44% higher than the ‘expected’ number of 973 deaths for the same week in 2020. That seems like a very significant change to me.
But why am I comparing the level of heart failure deaths in 2023 to the expected level of heart failure deaths in 2020? It’s because since 2020 the ‘expected’ level of deaths has been inflated by high levels of deaths since then. For a more detailed explanation of what’s happened please see a previous piece that was published in the Daily Sceptic on May 18th.
The Office for Health Improvements and Disparities reports that heart failure deaths were only 16% higher than expected during week ending May 26th 2023. I think this is misleading.
Table 1 illustrates how heart failure deaths in 2021 and 2022 being incorporated into the level of ‘expected’ deaths in 2023 has skewed the data. In 2020 we expected 973 heart failure deaths during week 21, in 2023 we appear to expect 1,209, an increase of 24%.
Put it another way; no excess deaths at all would be reported unless heart failure deaths in 2023 were more than 24% greater than in the same week in 2020. Nothing to see here, move along please!
Table 1 shows the issue:
These figures come from the Office for Health Improvements and Disparities and can be seen here. The data are available via a very neat selectable graphical tool but for those of you who like to get into the weeds there’s also a data download available.
If those were the expected deaths from heart failure, what was the actual level? Table 2 shows us the answer. In the final week of May 2023, 1,397 deaths were registered as being from heart failure in England. This was 16% higher than the 2023 ‘expected’ level, but 44% higher than the 2020 ‘expected’ level.
Of course, data from a single week aren’t necessarily representative of a general trend, and I confess there’s a bit of cherry-picking here. Nonetheless, heart failure deaths in the previous week were even higher at 1,468, the week before they were at 1,363. Maybe 1,397 isn’t an outlier?
We can look at the trend by simply comparing the data from the 10 weeks numbered 12-21 for both 2020 and 2023 as reported by the Office for Health Improvements and Disparities.
Figure 3 shows the level of registered deaths (orange line) in 2023 compared to the ‘expected’ level of heart failure deaths (blue line) in 2020. The grey bars show the variance between the two lines as a weekly percentage in line with the right-hand axis. You can see the 44% increase in week 21, the trend line has hovered between 25% and 30% over the past 10 weeks.
You may recall that the Chief Medical Officer published a paper ascribing the increase in heart failure to a reduction in the prescriptions for statins, an explanation soon debunked by Drs. Heneghan and Jefferson (see here). To my knowledge no further explanation has been floated by the authorities; rather, they’ve ignored the problem. After all, leave it long enough and the inflation of ‘expected’ heart failure deaths will make the excess magically disappear. Soon enough they may even be reporting that heart failure deaths are reducing year on year, even though they may still be much higher than the pre-pandemic level.
Finally, in Figure 4 I’ve shown the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities reported excess deaths for both heart failure and cancer. Bear in mind that the baseline in the case of heart failure has been inflated so the chart, arguably, understates heart failure excess deaths. The same is not so true for the cancer deaths. Expected deaths from cancer in 2023 are only 3% higher than they were for the same period in 2020. Over the 10 weeks from week 12-21 cancer deaths in 2023 have been only 1.7% higher than the expected level for the same period in 2020. This suggests the sharp rise in heart failure deaths is not due to a general increase in deaths from all causes such as might be caused by an ageing population.
Make of it what you will, but it seems to me that deaths from heart failure should be a real cause of concern. It’s not so long ago that the likes of Hancock and Gove were telling us that ‘one death is one death too many’. The lack of concern with the current level of excess deaths, many of them heart related – which the Government has now said it has no plans to investigate – highlights that this view was always sanctimonious tosh.