How can scientists define a death as a "COVID-19 death" when a person has died "WITH" COVID-19 instead of "FROM" Covid-19?

By Dr Juergen Ude | February 14th 2021
The answer is simple. Because determining death is not easy. Scientists are covering the proverbial ‘A’ by playing it safe. But that is mis-leading.

A far more scientific approach is to use total registered deaths to monitor changes to determine if there has been an unacceptable effect. Of course, it does not prove that changes are due to one factor or another, nor do registered deaths include all deaths. But if there is no change then why worry.

Industry has become globally competitive because it rationalized its analytical tools to become competitive. These tools must be simple to use for the everyday person. Dr. Deming introduced a very easy to use tool called the control chart, ‘invented’ by Dr. Walter Shewhart. This tool helps operators separate natural variation from unusual variation. This tool provides an objective way to determine if there is something unusual whilst being visual for operators to decide if the unusual variation is persistent, or a one off that can be ignored with caution.

The tool is just as perfect for pandemics. We need to get away from overly ‘clever’ science and use tools that work.

Distribution optimized Hybrid SPC charts are most suited. The smarts are transparent to the user. An example of a Hybrid Chart is shown for the UK below.

BIS.Net Analyst Change Analysis used in Covid-19 analysis
Figure 1: One can see the historical cycles and previous peaks for reference.

Compare this tool with the ‘clever’ tools used to determine excess deaths. The following is extracted from Provisional Mortality Statistics, Jan - Oct 2020 | Australian Bureau of Statistics ( There is no easy and direct visual perspective. Averages used by the abs only distort patterns needed for perspective.

BIS.Net Analyst Change Analysis used in Covid-19 analysis

The Control Chart shown below for the same data is far more informative.

BIS.Net Analyst Change Analysis used in Covid-19 analysis

We can see that in 2020 total deaths were peaking lower. This is during the Covid-19 period with 27,506 recorded Covid cases. Of course, this does not mean there were no Covid caused deaths, perhaps there was a reduction in other causes of deaths. But we cannot afford to be obsessed with covid deaths. If the total deaths have not changed significantly or a less, then how can we ruin people’s lives?


Dr Juergen Ude has a certificate in applied chemistry, a degree in applied science majoring in statistics and operations research as top student, a masters in economics with high distinctions in every subject, and a PhD in computer modelling and algorithms. He has lectured at Monash University on subjects of data analysis, computer modelling, and quality & reliability.

Prior to founding his own company (Qtech International Pty Ltd), Dr Ude worked as a statistician and operations researcher for 18 years in management roles having saved employers millions of dollars through his AI and ML algorithms. Through Qtech International, Dr Ude has developed data analysis solutions in over 40 countries for leading corporations such as Alcoa, Black and Decker, Coca-Cola Amatil, US Vision and many more. Additionally he has developed campaign analysis software for politicians.

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