Seasonal flu and COVID-19

What is seasonal flu?

“Seasonal flu” is a very common illness, and tends to be more severe than the common cold. The most common symptoms are a sudden high temperature, sore throat, cough, headache, tiredness and general aches and pains. Flu can also cause nausea, loss of appetite, a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, and cause you difficulty sleeping. The World Health Organisation explains that “in temperate climates, seasonal epidemics occur mainly during winter, while in tropical regions, influenza may occur throughout the year”. Continue reading Seasonal flu and COVID-19

COVID-19 and excess deaths in Northern Ireland and the world

There has been a lot of discussion in relation to “excess deaths” and COVID-19. This term is not specific to this pandemic and has been used by statisticians globally for many years. This explainer article updates our previous analysis of excess mortality, otherwise known as “excess deaths”. Continue reading COVID-19 and excess deaths in Northern Ireland and the world

Comparing suicide statistics

During the pandemic, there have been claims that the number of deaths by suicide has increased, reflecting the acknowledged mental strain experienced by many. FactCheckNI has published several fact checks, citing the lack of recent data to substantiate such claims. Recent data have been published, but analysing statistics on suicide remains complicated, due to registration delays and how the definition of suicide is applied. Continue reading Comparing suicide statistics

COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy

The issue of how COVID-19 vaccines may impact fertility and/or pregnancy continues to be live. Health Minister Robin Swann told the Stormont health committee on 14 January 2021, that an anti-vaccination group targeted young female healthcare staff outside vaccination centres, saying COVID-19 vaccination would affect their fertility. He added that this message was “quite negative, quite wrong, potentially quite damaging”. This was also reported in the local media.

These particular anti-vaccination campaigners are not alone in this view. Theories are being spread across social media, particularly about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, about how a protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus which causes COVID-19), called a “spike protein” works. 

This is where it gets a little complicated.  Continue reading COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy