Category Archives: Public Health Rant

How public health distorts your perspective of Covid-19 – and lies to you

Oregon’s OHA is the state’s public health department. Each day they announce a “daily body count”. Many interpret this incorrectly, thinking it reflects the number of deaths occurring in the past 24 hours.

In reality, the daily body count is nothing more than how many death reports were received in their office in the past 24 hours – it turns out that it takes days, weeks and sometimes even months – for death reports to make their way to the state office.

Consequently, the daily body count is actually a measure of data collection and collation efficiency and has absolutely nothing to do with Covid-19.

Recently, the state has had several days on which it announced very high daily body counts. This has led to most people thinking that deaths – as of January – are rising rapidly. I have seen such statements in the media and on social media.

But those conclusions are wrong. Each day, the state releases both the daily body count but also indicates the actual date of death of each individual. I re-tallied all of these “actual dates of death” so that we can see the actual trend in deaths.

This is what we get.

The orange line is the “Daily Body Count” figure from OHA.

The blue line is the “actual date deat occurred” which I re-tallied from OHA data.

The red line is a 7-day moving average of deaths, by actual date of death.

If all you see is the OHA’s orange line, it looks like deaths are exploding. Indeed, the orange line has been used by media and “experts” to proclaim a post holiday surge. But there is no surge – the experts and media are lying.

Look the the right most orange peak – 54 deaths! But if you dig into the details, 38 of the 54 deaths occurred on dates in November and December BEFORE Christmas. Clearly, not a post Christmas “surge”.

The first peak, at left, also 54, had a similar ratio – about 39 deaths were of people who died before the Thanksgiving weekend or were diagnosed before Thanksgiving. None of those deaths represented a “post holiday surge”, as popularly believed.

The blue line in my chart is the actual death curve, based on actual date of death. The red line is a 7-day moving average to smooth out the spikes.

The peak day of deaths was on December 9th and the 2nd highest day was on November 25th.

Sadly, public health is straight up lying when they intentionally misrepresent the data. The media then piles on with incorrect conclusions. It is if the main point now is to keep you in a perpetual state of fear. People who are terrified are easily manipulated by those with power.

NOTES

My chart’s data comes from transcribing the OHA Daily Updates.

Because death reports always lag, the right side of the chart is underreporting current deaths. Recent dates will be backfilled as OHA catches up with reports from days or weeks ago. On some of the large count days in December, they updated deaths that had occurred every month back to May of 2020.

There may be errors in the transcription.

OHA frequently corrects their past data. Their past data includes people dying twice, people dying who had not died, and people who had died of other causes later being changed to “death by Covid”. They later issue corrections but do so in a way that is impossible to go back and fix the tally. My guess is this amounts to less than +/- 3% error – thus, within the resolution of the chart lines, these lines can be considered sufficiently accurate.