ABC medical expert Dr. Norman Swan appears to have been caught inflating the number of deaths from the virus during a live TV performance.
Dr. Appearing on ABC TV on Monday, Swan claimed 1,100 people had died from Covid and Covid-related causes by January.
He cited his source as an Actuaries Institute report on excess deaths.
“The excess deaths in January this year from the Actuaries Institute is eight per cent, so 1,100 people died in that month from Covid and from Covid-related illnesses who might not have died otherwise,” Dr Swan said.
Norman Swan appears to have inflated the number of Covid-related deaths during an appearance on ABC TV
“It still exists, it’s still a problem.”
Deaths are considered more than when they exceed a predicted baseline.
But the Actuaries Institute report found that only 760 of the additional deaths were due to Covid, with the rest unrelated to the virus.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics gives completely different figures for extra deaths in January.
The ABS records that the number of deaths in that month was 12.4 percent above the projected baseline, amounting to 1,605 people.
Of those, only 704 were caused by Covid, which is less than half of the overall total.
Dr. Swan referred to the high number of deaths while brushing aside the World Health Organization statement that the public health emergency had officially ended.
The national broadcaster’s chief medical expert quickly shut down the allegation, saying the pandemic was not over.
“It’s not the official end of the pandemic,” Dr Swan replied sternly.
“The World Health Organization was very clear. This was not an announcement that the pandemic was over.
“This was an announcement that the emergency aid and cash flows are over, which most countries have done anyway, but the pandemic is not over.
The Actuaries Institute report found that only 760 of the additional deaths were due to Covid, with the rest unrelated to the virus
Dr. Swan was forced to apologize after falsely claiming that the death of Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching was likely linked to a heart attack.
“The Director General of the World Health Organization has been very clear that countries should not halt their response to Covid.”
Dr. Nick Coatsworth, who was Australia’s deputy chief health officer during Covid, claimed Dr Swan was trying to keep the virus on the agenda ‘for some reason’.
While he thought the number of deaths appeared to be caused by the pandemic, it was more likely an unintended consequence of Covid restrictions and health messages.
“If you have a fearful medical community and all your primary care physicians are closed and you have a fearful community about going to a medical facility, then of course you’re going to have deaths in subsequent years of people who haven’t picked things up,” Dr. said Coatsworth.
“I think the question for him is, what does he think we should do to reduce the number of deaths?
Dr. Coatsworth, an infectious disease specialist at Canberra Hospital in the ACT, said he does not see people with Covid being turned away from the emergency room.
“I’ll let them into Canberra,” he said.
“In fact, in the last two weeks, more people have been admitted with rhinovirus, which is the common cold, than with Covid.
“That’s not a statistic for the whole of Australia, it’s just an anecdote from my private practice.”
Dr. Swan, who hosts a weekly Coronacast podcast on Covid, became one of the leading commentators during the pandemic, with the national broadcaster using him as the go-to analyst.
However, he is caught making blunders along the way.
He was forced to apologize after claiming last year that the death of Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching from a suspected heart attack was likely Covid-related.
Former Australian Deputy Chief Health Officer Nick Coatsworth says Dr Swan wants to keep Covid on agenda for some reason
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 1,605 excess deaths in January, but of those only 704 were declared by a doctor as being caused by Covid
The senator, who was 52 when she died, never contracted Covid, according to her furious family.
The ABC admitted that Dr Swan’s comments violated editorial standards and warned him during discussions with the broadcaster’s management.
Excess deaths are a worrying trend in the Western world in the wake of Covid, but experts say they are baffled as to what all the causes could be.
In 2022 there were 25,235 more deaths than would be expected in a normal year in Australia, according to the ABS.
Of that total, 10,095 were directly caused by Covid, with another 3,000 listed where the virus was “a contributing factor.”
Beyond that, there was also a massive 19 percent increase in the number of people dying from diabetes and a 15 percent increase in dementia deaths.
Dr. Swan was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in January’s honors list ‘for distinguished services to the broadcast media as a science and health commentator’.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Dr Swan for comment.