Thanks for the further detailed responses.
re: hypertension - I agree it's important context to look at the secondary, non-lethal illnesses and factor that into estimates of mortality 'from' as opposed to 'with' covid. Nonetheless the ONS puts them all together in the co-morbidities category without further differentiation. I imagine it would be quite hard to make a firm distinction between pre-existing conditions that were a significant factor in a death 'with' covid and those that weren't, indicating 'of'. You're probably right that whoever made the FOI request was looking for a 'gotcha' that didn't go into these details. Still, forgive me for saying it but the 17K figure is still interesting & important to know in its own right, though without the added context I would agree it is misleading and potentially damaging.
I see the ONS have put out a blog article making this exact point and some of the others you've been making: https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2022/01/26/to-say-only-17000-people-have-died-from-covid-19-is-highly-misleading/
'We distinguish between deaths that are “due to COVID-19” and those “involving COVID-19” to provide the most comprehensive information on the impact of the disease on mortality. More than 140,000 deaths have been due to COVID-19, meaning that it has been determined as the underlying cause. To exclude individuals with any pre-existing conditions from this figure greatly understates the number of people who died from COVID-19 and who might well still be alive had the pandemic not occurred.'
Ironically I found it via another John Campbell vid where he responds to a BBC 'fact check' that suggested he was saying that only 17K ppl have died of covid, when he clearly pointed to the 100K+ excess death and after-positive-test figures. Here it is if you can stomach watching the guy again:
He seems fair-minded and genuine to me but I haven't watched lots of his stuff so can't say if he has a tendency to downplay the disease. The masked toy dog in the background would suggest otherwise! He says he's done lots of stuff looking at co-morbidities in the past fwiw.
Thanks for the info on ventilators and (informal) triage in the UK vs. Italy and other countries. A useful reminder that even with a good level of resources available health services can still get swamped if the wrong decisions are made, or even if things get bad enough fast enough.
'Healthcare in the UK is a mess and it's going to get worse.' - certainly sounds like it from your description! Stockpiling equipment and securing adequate nursing staff through good pay and limited hours would seem to be sensible things to do, but then it runs into a perfect storm of hindrances and the underlying dogma of market fundamentalism that ensures a race to the bottom in work conditions and equipment supply for those most needed if society is going to even pretend to function.
Moving on to the question of what to do (actually I was more asking what practical measures we could be pushing for to make your life easier, but part of that would be a good medical response to the pandemic) - you write:
'If you could be bothered to look back to spring 2020 sometime I posted that I didn't think vaccines are the answer. I was arguing the case for testing and isolation as the solution to minimising the rate of spread and the need for lockdown. I still think this is the case.'
I remember you stressing the need for testing & tracing, as well as acknowledging the harms of lockdown but that it was the only option left given the govt's prior mismanagement (yes?) Interesting to hear you don't consider vaccines are a lasting solution. The scenario you describe of the virus circulating and re-infecting in schools and other 'reservoirs', coupled with possible cumulative effects of the disease is disturbing and not something I'd considered. I mean, I knew that was part of the argument about the disease becoming endemic and less deadly, ie: something that's going to be around forever, mutating like the 'flu and staying ahead of any potential 'sterilising' vaccine in a similar way. But if it's going to be doing long-term damage to the next generation then that is cause for concern. Is there much evidence of cumulative effects from the disease in the way you describe?
Sorry to hear the long covid effects are still affecting you. I can see now why you jumped on me for my Rhisiartian use of the adjective 'terrified'. It's subjective in every case but it sounds like you have plenty of good reasons for your fears - something I don't see playing around with my vegetables out in the sticks. So, sorry about that too... Are you sure you don't want to get out of the city, if that's possible? The air is clearer out here, I find, in more ways than one... Or do you feel obligated to stay and make the best of the god-awful situation? No judgement either way.
Thanks for the informative discussion,