Press release – excess deaths scandal – why did you ignore our warnings?

Excess deaths scandal – why did you ignore our warnings?


Today’s shocking excess death figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that we have not one, but two pandemics in the UK right now.

One is the Covid pandemic, which can be seen clearly in the spike in deaths in hospitals and care homes in Spring 2020, before deaths from this seasonal virus drop dramatically to below average in the Summer and rise again in hospitals with its return in Winter.

The other is the hidden pandemic caused by Covid policies, which has taken place in the home and shows no variation with the seasons. Excess deaths in the home have been consistently above average every week from March onwards, with a small rise during the Spring lockdown. 

The death toll shows the figures split almost evenly: around half of the total excess deaths for 2020 occurred in the home and showed little variation from summer to winter.

Recovery has been warning of this tsunami of excess deaths from Covid policies for months. It’s caused a deadly cocktail of fear, mental health problems, and the denial of vital services to patients in urgent need of life-saving care. For example:

  • One in three cancer patients says their treatment has been affected and 70% say their mental health has suffered in consequence. Cancer Research UK says cancer screening was cancelled for 3 million people and there has been a 39% drop in the seven key diagnostic tests for cancer between March and July – equivalent to 3.2m fewer tests in England alone (see
  • British Heart Foundation says that excess death from heart disease has risen with a disturbing 13% rise amongst those under 60 even as Covid was declining in May and June. “We believe that delays in people seeking care, coupled with a reduced access to routine tests and treatments during the pandemic, have likely contributed to the rise in excess deaths”
  • A Yonder poll in December revealed that 7 out of 10 people in the UK are now seriously worried about the mental health of themselves or someone close. Problem drinking – a killer – has doubled and now affects around 9m people. Experts report that suicide amongst young people is rising. Rising domestic abuse during the Spring lockdown offences rise by 18,000 between March and June 2020 (ONS 24.11.20].
  • Bristol University’s risk experts say that the lockdowns of 2020 will cost 560,000 lives in the UK “because of the deep and prolonged recession they will cause”. The Government’s own prediction last summer was that more than 200,000 will die as a result of the first lockdown alone (ONS July 2020). It has refused to provide an update showing the additional impact of the tiers and lockdowns since.
  • Government figures show that even during the Spring peak, restrictions played a huge role in excess deaths. Covid killed 25,000 people but restrictions caused at least 16,000 unnecessary deaths, as 6,000 people died because they didn’t attend A&E through fear and 10,000 people died in care homes because they could not access critical care in hospitals (ONS, August 2020).
  • The UN World Food Programme has warned that 270,000,000 people face starvation as a result of the global impact of lockdowns and restrictions. This alone makes the response to Covid the single most lethal policy that Governments have ever adopted, killing many times more than Mao, Stalin and Hitler combined.

Now we can see the combined impact of all this: it’s clear in the figures today and it’s a timebomb – the excess death from fear and restrictions will only grow while current policies continue.

  • Before the lockdowns, 9,000 people had waited more than a year for operations. Now it’s close to 200,000. These are not life-threatening conditions, but cause huge pain and misery. Worse, routine problems become life-threatening if left untreated. The problems we already have mean that the NHS will be in crisis for years.
  • Each of these people is suffering: so many are in pain, misery, and worse. For many, there is no hope to an end: no indication of a way out. The spiralling backlog of undiagnosed and untreated conditions will see the NHS in crisis for years.

Jon Dobinson, Campaign Director of Recovery, commented,

“The shocking excess death figures released today have seen hysterical calls for even tougher lockdowns. But that would only make these problems worse. As experts have been warning from the outset, these toxic lockdowns merely kick the can down the road – they postpone problems, they don’t fix them. By prolonging the crisis and extending the period over which deaths take place, they are creating a disaster. We’ll see another easing over the summer, but that will be blamed for worse problems in the NHS by the autumn. As Government experts are already warning, vaccination will not end this – new strains and new pressures will see the deadly cycle continue for years unless we find a better way.

“Even now, the problems are getting worse. We have to recognise the issue and take urgent action before it spirals even further out of control. The latest NHS data shows even fewer non-Covid patients are now being treated. We’re spending billions on failed policies which have only made the pandemic worse. It’s time for our leaders to acknowledge and address the timebomb of untreated conditions and economic devastation. They are now a terrifying threat to the health and welfare of the UK in themselves. Otherwise, the excess deaths of 2021 and beyond will dwarf even these.”


ONS data 12 January 2021

ONS data 22 December 2020




Recovery is a broad-based coalition of people from all walks of life, many different backgrounds and the spectrum of mainstream political views who are concerned about the effect the response to Covid-19 is having on all our lives.

Recovery calls for balance and moderation in our response to Covid-19, backed by a proper public debate, and a comprehensive public inquiry which looks at the impact Government policies have had on: Covid-19 mortality; other killer diseases like cancer; mental health; the economy; and the future for children and young people.

The campaign is backed by a wide range of high profile people, including senior Doctors and NHS staff, leading authorities in epidemiology and infectious diseases, mental health experts, entrepreneurs and leaders of business, sporting stars and world champions, TV celebrities and chefs, stars of the performing arts, bands and musicians.

It has specialist groups led by leading experts and household names looking at specific areas of concern, including:

  • Health – members include concerned NHS and other health workers;
  • Mental health – psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, youth and charity workers, and leaders in education
  • Arts and hospitality – performers, business owners, chefs, and others whose lives are directly affected by current policies.
  • Sports and fitness – sports stars, players, athletes, coaches, club staff, and fitness businesses.
  • Small and medium size enterprises – entrepreneurs, business leaders, founders, and managers.

Jon Dobinson is CEO and founder of other (Other Creative Ltd) the London-based creative business and a former Secretary-General of the International Society for Human Rights (UK). His companies have raised millions for charities and causes including Freedom From Torture, Amnesty International, Greenpeace and 38 Degrees.

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