July 2020, I came across a short 2-minute video by Ivor Cummings BE(Chem) CEng MIEI PMP referenced, in good natured Irish dry wit, Edgar Hope-Simpson's book on viral seasonality The Transmission of Epidemic Influenza.

Think back to how ancient civilisations worshipped the Sun.

The Seasonal Dynamics of Viruses

Hope-Simpson OBE, FRCGP, Hon FFPHM, started his career-long interest in the transmission of the Influenza Virus at the same time he became a General Practioner during the Great Epidemic of 1932–33. His life-time work culminated in a book 60 years later in 1992, which he questioned the theory of person-to-person transmission being enough to explain the simultaneous appearance of influenza in places far apart. Imagine a Medical Professional daring to ask questions today?

He proposed that the cause of Influenza epidemics during winter may be connected to seasonal influence. Citing the correlation, in part to a lack of vitamin D during wintertime, after documenting influenza epidemics in temperate latitudes peakfn in the months following the winter solstice. His findings were based not only on observation in his practice, but also on extensive historical research into past epidemics.

Rhinoviruses, are the most common cause of the common cold. Although these infections occur year-round, their incidence is highest in the fall and the spring. Coronavirus, in column 2, along with Influenza (column 6) is observed between the winter months from December to April.

Seasonal variations in frequency of upper respiratory infections. Source: Medscape
Seasonal variations in frequency of upper respiratory infections. Source: Medscapefn

Update: December 2020

Europe & USA Year End Review 2020

6 months on, several regional lockdowns later and the nation face muzzled.

Explain video and reference graph below.

A third national lockdown. April mooted as a possible end.

Florence Nightingale used radial plots to display data when demonstrating the death rate amongst soldiers could be reduced by better hygiene practices during the Crimean War.

Time series data by Irene M. Stratton MSc FFPH, Senior Statistician. Gloucestershire Retinal Research Group
Time series data by Irene M. Stratton MSc FFPH, Senior Statistician. Gloucestershire Retinal Research Groupfn

Plotting the weekly numbers of deaths using this radial form demonstrates the variability during the months of the year. For example, deaths from Aussie flu in the first weeks of 2018 can be observed. The increase in the number of deaths from the first week in April 2020 to the last week of May can clearly be seen.

This is all deaths, not just deaths from Covid-19.

Source: Public Health England & ONS Data
Source: Public Health England & ONS Data

COVID-19 Situation Reportfn by Joel Smalley MBA and Marie Oldfield & CStat, CSci.

Note the Gompertz shape curve for Sweden's Coronavirus daily deaths per day in the above reply. It matches the pattern identified by Hope Simpson's 50 year study into viral infections yet again.

Europe & USA January 2021 Update

Don't mention Sweden

Observing All-Cause Mortality from 2016 to 2020 in the UK

The week 53 All-Cause Mortality Surveillance reportfn below

All Cause Mortality Report. Source: Public Health England
All Cause Mortality Report. Source: Public Health England

COVID-19 on the death certificate deaths occur in hospitals and are registered promptly compared to community deaths. There is a massive need for the numbers of COVID-19 fatalities in the current situation, the government needs these numbers fast to drive policy.

At the same time, non-COVID-19 deaths are exceptionally below normal for the time of year and will only be incorporated into the data slowly. Through early December, the overall value has been correctly reported as being higher than normal because the low number of COVID-19 negative fatalities from the community, or even in hospitals are not yet included.

Will Public Health England (PHE) be remotely interested in assimilating this anomaly in their estimating process, which will be based on previous years normal delay patterns of registration. Eventually the EuroMoMo absolute death data will show it. Not that it will make any difference to SAGE, UK Government policy... or legacy news media.

Why were non COVID-19 winter deaths low in 2020?

People, die in some excess during the Winter. For those hospitalised this December/January with anything at all leading to death without reaching achieving a positive PCR test are very low, whilst be missing from other datasets.

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