How multiple decrements and standard deviations affect Australia’s senior citizens

The ABS most recent publication on Australian mortality experience was released towards the end of May, with the rather noteworthy key point that for the first two months of 2022, all cause mortality is up over 20% compared to normal, Figure 1.

When it comes to vital statistics of mortality, departures of this magnitude are rare, indeed. This represents about two standard deviations (more on that below) over the baseline, which was measured over the seven calendar years to 2021 inclusive. So, I obtained the full set of data from the ABS website to review the results in more detail, given the data are broken down by state, age group, cause of death and by both sexes.

Figure 1. (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics )
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The latest COVID strain

It’s the Omicron strain. Or as I prefer, the OMG strain. Viruses mutate, particularly so in response to mass vaccination. No surprises in this quarter. This strain is likely to consider both the vaxxed and the unvaxxed as fair game.

Update: increased government restrictions as a result of this strain apply to all people regardless of vaccination status. The UK has gone even further: to remain classed as vaccinated, booster jabs are now to required once every three months. (Cognitive dissonance alert for those readers who prefer government actions to be coherent.)

About that modelling….

Readers may recall that I said the Burnet Institute’s COVID modelling from September 2021 should be revisited in late October to check the actual outcomes against the modelling predictions. It is now late October. The following actual data is sourced from covidlive.com.au

Predicted deaths: 964

Actual deaths: 280

Predicted hospitalisations: 1,666

Actual: 738

Predicted intensive care cases: 360

Actual: 130

What does this comparison of actual against expected prove? The modelling was wrong, of course. It was wrong by a factor of around 3 in these measures. Modelling is just a guess based on certain assumptions. Burnet’s modelling was clearly poor quality, but many modellers around the world have been proven to be just as bad or worse. The real lesson is that modelling is not gospel truth and should not be held up as justification for a government coercion on the populace. Nor should the modelling be used to prove how effective those coercive measures were: ‘See how much worse it would have been had we not imposed the lockdown?’ Modelling may have some uses, but should only ever be one input among many. Modellers that have a track record of dud predictions should be treated with scepticism or, preferably, ignored.

The dangers of cycling near the unvaccinated

I received an email today from Audax Australia with some details about rides being opened up again in Victoria. The pith of the missive is shown below.

To the eagle-eyed reader, the exclusion of the unvaccinated from certain rides will be noted. Plus, such exclusion has been made for two reasons: increasing participation rates and safety.

I may be able to clarify the rationale if I get a response from Audax to my two questions: on what basis did the Committee determine that banning the unvaccinated will increase participation and on what basis will it increase the safety of riders and families?

I’m expecting a response soon. It should be a hoot.

I received a response: because “The Science.”