Have a look at the graph below which summarises (excess) deaths per week in 24 European regions, roughly the EU, over the last few years. Note how the vertical axis only starts at 40,000 and that hence the fluctuations relative to baseline are smaller than they seem here.
The interesting bit is of course the experience in 2020. In April I was skeptical of the argument that the excess deaths (the deaths above the “normal range” band) had to be covid-deaths, rather than a mix of covid-deaths and neglect deaths brought on by policies. Yet, around June the evolution of this graph convinced me that the big spike had to be almost exclusively covid. This is because the death rates before (in February) were at the average of a particular prior number of years (the blue line), and the death rates afterwards (June) were again at that historical average. The main point is that if there were a lot of neglect deaths, there would have been no return to the historical average: the line would have remained above that historical average. So the big spike, which is about 160,000 deaths, or 3 weeks of “normal deaths”, is surely covid.
The lack of negative excess deaths also speaks against the idea that these excess covid-deaths were mainly people who would have died within a few months anyway. If that were true, the line should have gone below the historical average, but instead it was exactly on it. You dont see negative excess deaths anywhere in these 24 countries, perhaps marginally in France.
Associated with this is that the 160,000 excess peak is very close to the claimed number by authorities of the covid deaths in those countries: if you add the claimed covid-death numbers from the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, and the others that make up the 24 in the graph above up to the date of the end of the spike, you also get to about 160,000. That validates both these numbers: the reported covid-deaths and the excess deaths as a measure of covid deaths. It is too much coincidence that these numbers should line up so well. So whilst this or that country might exaggerate or under-report their covid-death statistics for some reason, on average these countries are reporting their covid deaths rather honestly. There is no major group of deaths hidden or manufactured in the covid statistics of these countries. Not yet at least.
The next thing the graph tells us is that the winter flu season of 2017/2018 was a particularly bad one that had a similar excess death toll as the covid-spike. You might say “covid is not yet done” but the same goes for flu as the returning winter spikes in previous years tells you.
The final item of interest is at the end of the graph, basically before the yellow area where the official data is yet to come in. One sees these newer peaks in August. If you look at the countries involved, these peaks show up in Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Spain. Now in those countries you dont see a concomitant rise in reported covid-deaths in August. They report a rise relative to June/July, yes, but that rise is not big enough to rationalise the peaks. So there are now other things going on. Perhaps deaths of neglect, deaths of despair, or something else.
That final insight also tells us the excess death graphs are going to be less useful in the coming winter at separating the effects of covid from other sources of excess deaths. The sudden peak in April/May identified the covid-peak very neatly, but that wont be so clearly the case in the future, which means one must then look at other data to separate those. I will in particular be looking at the cause of death data from countries I trust not to change the definitions and practices (France, Germany) to tell me whether any claimed second wave of covid-deaths is real or not. So far, as a major killer of the population, covid has been over in these 24 regions since early June.