CLAIM: There is a greater chance of a motorcyclist aged 67 in Northern Ireland dying in a motorcycle collision than being affected by COVID-19.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. Data shows that there have been no motorcyclists of Sammy Wilson MP’s age who have died as a result of a motorcycle collision in Northern Ireland, in the past three years. In 2020, there were 157 deaths registered related to COVID-19, of men aged 65–74. At the time of this claim, the probability of being infected by COVID-19 in Northern Ireland was an estimated 1 in 200 (now thought to be 1 in 60).
Continue reading Is there a greater chance of a motorcyclist aged 67 dying as a motorcyclist than being affected by COVID-19?
CLAIM: The last man to attack the US Capitol, prior to the events on 6 January 2021, was a British Army Major General from Northern Ireland, in 1814.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. Since the burning of the US Capitol in August 1814, during the War of 1812, there have been four notable further attacks before this year’s incident: Erich Muenter exploded three sticks of dynamite in the US Senate reception room (1915); Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire from the US House of Representatives visitors’ gallery (1954); the Weather Underground group exploded a bomb (1971); and seven people were arrested for causing an explosion in the US Senate (1983). Continue reading Was British Army General Robert Ross the last man to attack the US Capitol?
The Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK from the week commencing 6 December 2020. This means that the UK has become the first country in the world to approve the vaccine for widespread use. MHRA, the British regulator, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe for distribution. Continue reading The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine: What is it and how has it been developed so quickly?
CLAIM: COVID-19 is being put on death certificates fraudulently, without a test having been carried out and when the patient died of something else.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. While it is true that not everyone who was suspected of dying from COVID-19 was positively tested, it is legal and not fraudulent for a doctor to rely on their knowledge and belief of the cause of death, including cases where the person showed symptoms of COVID-19. Continue reading Is COVID-19 being put fraudulently on death certificates?
CLAIM: The death rate in Northern Ireland is no higher in 2020 than in previous years.
CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The imprecision of “death rates” and “a bad flu season” makes it difficult to prove or disprove. However, the overall number of deaths registered in the second quarter of 2020 (4,684) is the highest of any second quarter figures recorded in the last ten years. Excess deaths in Northern Ireland have been higher in 2020 than in any of the previous ten years. Continue reading Are death rates no higher this year than in a bad flu season?
In 2019, available figures estimate that 4.4% of pregnancies of Northern Ireland residents ended in abortion. This compares to an estimated 24% of pregnancies in England and Wales in 2018 ending in abortion. Globally, an estimated average of 29% of pregnancies from 2015–2019 ended in abortion. This explainer article examines the accuracy and completeness of these figures, particularly for Northern Ireland. Continue reading Pregnancies and abortion in Northern Ireland