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Record-High German Deaths
Deaths are up, Births are down, why is MSM not blaring figures!?
Happy New Year, 2022 was a Very Bad Year
The German Federal Statistic Office (Destatis) has released provisional deaths data for last year, and 2022 was a very bad year indeed. Monthly figures had been released throughout the year so it was no secret 2022 consistently featured excess mortality. Almost every weekly total was above the 2018-2021 median and every monthly total since April was above the 2018-2021 maximum. Surprising however is the total number of deaths for December which reached a German record high of 111,403 for a single month. This pushed the yearly total for 2022 to over 1 million, to also a new German record high.
Record highs and Record declines
Remember how the MSM and public health authorities blared the corona figures in 2020-2021 on an almost daily basis? Daily case counts, daily hospitalisations, and daily deaths were reported with breathtaking alarm from every media outlet: radio news broadcasts, tv news broadcasts, newspaper headlines, internet headlines, public health press conferences were streamed live, and talking-head epidemiologists and virologists were a staple on news talk-shows. How things changed in 2022 once most had gotten “boostered” and the Covid-19 pandemic had reputedly ended. Now we in Germany have record-high deaths and a record decline in births, but you wouldn’t know it from the MSM. You would barely even recognise it from the latest Destatis press release:
The entire press release involves pretty dry and understated reporting from the Federal Statistical Office, prime example:
Very high death figures at the end of the year
Hah! Allow me to break it down for you and put some context on the figures. The 19% cited in the lede is only the December increase above the 2018-2021 median, ie. the pandemic years are included in the reference value. The percentage increase for December above pre-pandemic levels is 38% above 2018, and 34% above 2019! November was 12% above 2019 and October was 22% above 2019 (a typical pre-pandemic year) so winter 22/23 right now is looking terrible but you won’t hear it in the German news. So take a look for yourself because I find these latest numbers shocking:
(EDIT 26.01.2023: added dashed line to indicate estimations for Jan-June 2023 included. Added graphic with calendar year totals for comparison;
EDIT 19.01.2023: updated chart to 16 years and made 2022 increases clearer.)
A few brief comments about the longer context: first, it makes more sense to look at a 12-month period like July through June so as to not bridge two winters with a traditional Jan-Dec calendar year. A gradual increase over the years and the subtle ebb and flow of “excess” years and “deficit” years can clearly be observed (note: right-axis totals). The flu epidemic in March 2018 pushed monthly deaths above 105,000 for the first time, while monthly deaths had previously only breached 95,000 during the flu epidemic the previous winter. Winters of 2014/15 and 1016/17 show it’s not uncommon to have a double-month peak, so the '20/’21 December-January monthly deaths surpassing 105,000 was not unimaginable. Note also, almost the entire 12-month excess of 2020/21 is predominantly attributable to those two months but deaths did not revert to the normal range thereafter in 2021. Finally, in pre-pandemic times 80,000 deaths was considered a high month, whereas since winter 2021/22 every singe month bar one has been higher than 80,00 and only four have been below 85,000. Is this the new normal?
A word about “Excess” Mortality
The expression “excess mortality” is being bandied about a lot at the moment, so just to be clear, officially:
Excess Mortality = Actual Recorded Deaths - Expected* Deaths
“Actual Recorded Deaths” cannot really be fudged, “Expected Deaths”, and by extension “Excess Deaths”, is quite another matter. Expected deaths are caculated using - you guessed it - models! Models based on many demographic factors and trends, some of which are addressed in Destatis’ latest press release. For example, the German population is ageing, the baby boomer generation are now the old-age pensioners so a certain increase in yearly deaths is to be expected. However:
“According to provisional calculations, only about a fifth of the total increase in 2022 can be attributed to the growing number of older people.”
Another factor is increased life exptancy:
“…life expectancy was trending upwards before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The increasing life expectancy therefore diminished the ageing effect.”
Overall population growth is yet another which also contributes to expected death figures - the population of Germany has seen steady growth of late primarly due to large influxes of immigration. Currently it stands at 84 million, a sizeable ~3 million more than just 9 years previous - from a different Destatis press release:
“The population grew by 2.9 million between the end of 2014 and 30 June 2022, but the number of people with German citizenship has decreased.”
The various factors can also interact with each other and a modellers job is to quantify and model the effect of all the different factors and extrapolate from past death figure trend the “expected deaths” for the next year. As you can see, the accuracy of any “excess mortality” figures is highly dependent on the “expected deaths” models and figures. This is partly why I prefer to stick to raw all-cause death totals.
“Pull-forward effect” and “dry kindling”
Any kind of bad flu epidemic normally can result in so-called excess mortality. Although the flu effectively disappeared for much of the pandemic, Covid-19 certainly resulted in higher than average death figures for 2020 and 2021. This plays an interesting role when it comes to determing expected deaths for the following year because death figures regularly fall, or the rate of increase declines, the year after a year of higher than normal deaths. Sometimes there is talk of the “pull-forward effect” referring to the phenomenon where , statistically speaking, people are considered to die earlier than expected, ie. if all things were equal (but they are never are) these people would have lived another couple years but their death is “pulled-forward” eg., by a flu epidemic. Another expression sometines used is “dry kindling” meaning the weakest, most vulnerable are those who often succumb first to such epidemics waves and are normally over-represented in excess death figures. Recall - from the “Weekly Situation Reports on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)” issued by the Robert Koch Institue, Germany’s equivalent of the CDC- (translation and emphais mine):
Of all recorded [Covid-19] death cases since CW 10/2020 [calendar week] 136,080 people (85%) were 70 years or older with a median age of 83 years. In contrast, the proportion of over 70-year olds in the total recorded COVID-19 cases was approximately 8%. The median age of the recorded death cases has changed little in the COVID-19 waves to date. In the peak weaks of the first wave it stood at 83 years, in the second wave at the end of 2020 at 84 years, in the third wave in spring 2021 at 78 years, in the fourth wave end of 2021 at 81 years, and during the peak weeks of the fifth wave at 84 years of age.
Yes, you read that correctly: in Germany, 85% of Covid-19 deaths have been over 70 years of age (and likely had other co-morbidities), BUT they accounted for only 8% of all Covid-19 cases. Sidenote: I am old enough to remember when all the Covid talk was of new-fangled vaccines explicitly for that specific cohort of the old and vulnerable. Just how and when did it morph into a pharma-whoring, authoritarian, population-wide, mass vaccination campaign?? That should be the topic for another Substack post.
Here depicted are the total Covid-19 deaths recorded by calendar week for the various waves with the age profile taken from the same weekly report by the RKI (most recent weeks are greyed because delayed reports are to be expected):
No levelling in deaths post-pandemic?
As you can see, Covid-19 recorded deaths have been steadily declining and are far less than the excess deaths seen in 2022 ***cough*** except despite the initial vaccine campaigns they actually climbed in the 3rd wave and the 4th wave was also in excess of the second despite the booster campaign. Here is the crux with regard to the record highs in 2022: they come when the pandemic is reputedly over and we should have expected REDUCED mortality. This swing from expected reduced deaths to continued and even higher deaths makes the size of the increases even more extreme.
Back to the press release
The Federal Statistics Office makes no mention of the pull-forward effect nor any associated expected levelling or falling of deaths after the pandemic years 20020-2021. This is about as close as they come:
Mortality in Germany was almost back to normal at the beginning of 2022, following exceptionally high death figures at the end of 2021.
They do try to pin some of the blame on Covid-19 and point out that flu deaths all but disappeared in the pandemic years:
Flu activity and the number of deaths significantly decreased in the course of March in most of the years before the pandemic…
The continuing high incidence of Covid-19 deaths in that time may be one explanation for the above-average death figures still observed in April (+7%) and May (+8%).
Then there is the scapegoat of hot weather:
Markedly increased death figures in the summer months characterised by heat records
Compared with earlier months, death figures were much higher than the median values of the previous years (+9 to +13%) in the summer months from July to August, which were characterised by heat records. At +25%, death figures were particularly high in Week 29 (18 to 24 July). That was an exceptionally hot week. However, figures significantly exceeding the comparative values were also recorded in some of the cooler weeks of the summer months. Covid-19 deaths, too, rose during that time until the end of July and then decreased in August.
Sorry, I’m not buying this, a couple of hot weeks weather does not create excess deaths like those seen in July and August last year and they admit excess deaths occured anyway in the cooler summer weeks.
Destatis’ valiant efforts to explain away the record-breaking deaths in 2022 continues:
According to the current Weekly Influenza Report (only in German) of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the incidence of respiratory diseases in general from November onwards exceeded the peak of serious waves of influenza in the previous years.
Yes, after 2 years of pandemic measures including unprecedented population-wide gene therapy campaigns and viral competition with the “novel” SARS-COV-2, the flu (and RSV and co) are back with a vengence despite 85% of Covid-19 deaths having claimed the most vulnerable over 70’s in the population. This barely makes sense and was certainly not supposed to happen.
So what is going on?
Is the pandemic even really over if German deaths have continued to climb and are currently surging? Personally, I believe that if the flu is back and resuming its traditional seasonal cylces then the Covid-19 pandemic is clearly over and has become endemic (see some interesting posts on this from Eugyppius). Many on Substack are very concerned about the role vaccines may be playing via immune tolerance, immune imprinting, immune suppression, auto-immunity, and so on. Whereas Igor Chudov and Rintrah Radagast are two in the vaccine-skeptic camp who are also very concerned about repeat Covid-19 infections and what that is doing to the health of the population at large (especially the vaccinated).
Summary - The New Normal?
“The undeniable facts are 2022 was a year of record-highs in German deaths and record declines in German births but you won’t hear it in the news.”
This has become my casual conversation starter. Most I speak to have no idea about these deaths and births data because it is not being reported on. When will this end?
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