By: Arron Williams
October 11 2022

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The Verdict None

Clarification on withdrawal of fact check.

Claim ID c0474adc

This fact check assessing the claim ‘August 2022 saw the highest mortality rate in England in 15 years, with a greater percentage of excess deaths in younger adults’ has been withdrawn. 

Why has this fact check been withdrawn?

While the fact check sought to prevent misinformation about COVID vaccines and present some relevant context on mortality figures, in its final form, it could be read as mischaracterizing the statements made by statistician Jamie Jenkins during a show on GB News, with Mark Steyn as presenter.

During the show, Mr. Jenkins had presented certain statistics on excess deaths in the U.K. from May onwards and compared them to similar statistics from previous years. This included noting that August 2022 saw the highest mortality rates for the month of August in 15 years. He had also referred to trends among ‘younger age groups’, i.e. people from the ages of 20-59, which was a contextual term as he had before that been speaking about people aged 70 and above.

These comments were sought to be used by the presenter as evidence of a problem with COVID vaccines (including among young people such as teenagers) but Mr. Jenkins refuted this suggestion, instead arguing that recent figures on ‘excess deaths’ were tied, in his opinion, to problems with the NHS. 

The objective behind this fact check was to address misinformation linking the excess deaths to COVID vaccines. Our fact checkers observed that the video clip of a segment from was being shared in a way that furthered unfounded narratives about the COVID vaccines, with Steyn expressly characterizing the recent increase in ‘excess deaths’, in his opinion, as a result of taking the vaccine.

A key point that the fact check sought to bring to light was that, as clarified to Logically by the ONS, the year-to-date Age-Standardized Mortality Rate (ASMR) for 2022 is actually lower than most years on record since 2001. Sarah Caul, the head of Mortality Analysis at the ONS, also confirmed to Logically that “We have no evidence that the number of excess deaths are caused by the vaccine.”

While the attempts by the presenter and viewers of the video to use Mr. Jenkins’ comments to further COVID narratives remain misleading, the fact check as it stood was causing Mr. Jenkins’ comments themselves to be tagged as misinformation, which was not the intent.

As a result, it was decided, following an editorial review, that the fact check should be withdrawn in the interest of fairness. 

Logically stands by the objective of the fact check and will continue to address COVID misinformation and misuse of statistics on mortality and excess deaths. A separate fact check on this issue, acknowledging the trend of recent numbers while also locating it within the context of the year’s mortality rate, is under consideration. We apologize to our readers for any confusion the withdrawal of the original article might cause.

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