Review the data

The death rate is too high. Every death is a tragedy. We all want to see it going down. The nation mourns those who have lost their lives to this disease.

Soon the government needs to review progress with its object of flattening the curve of the virus spread, to consider how long we need to remain in lock down.

I am glad we are now privy to the figures the government relies on. In the daily briefings we are shown two graphs or “curves”, the trend in hospital deaths from CV 19 and the trend in hospital admissions for the infection.

It is presumably these curves that need to be sufficiently flattened to allow the government to transit to the third phase of its  advisers’ planned handling of the virus crisis.

There are several issues with the Death figures that need getting right. I think it would be good for some administrators and statisticians from government and or from the scientific community advising the government to spend some time ensuring accurate data. This should not involve medical and hospital staff time which is needed to handle the patients.

 There was a change in the basis of their compilation on March 26th, when they shifted from 8 hour to 24 hour reports, moving the numbers up.  Can they smooth the figures to allow for this?

There is the issue of whether the deaths are all recorded on the appropriate day. The day before yesterday we were told the higher number included deaths from earlier days which they thought had not been recorded at the time. Can’t the numbers to be reworked for all but the most recent by reference to the death date on the medical death certificate?

There is the possibility of double counting. If deaths are sometimes recorded promptly  before paperwork is completed, and other times when the paperwork is ready, there needs to be a check that they do not end up recording the same death twice.

The wider ONS figures are also of interest. These are higher as they include deaths not in hospital where CV19 was present. These include  some where  the deaths certified as with CV19  are based on statements  about symptoms with  no tests to confirm the presence of the virus. The figures include cases where  CV 19 is mentioned where other severe conditions mean the patient would probably have died without the virus anyway.

Hospital admission with the virus is an easier series to get right. Presumably all on admission for CV 19 treatment are tested to ensure they have it, to make the correct treatment available. Admission takes place at one stated time and date, so it should be relatively easy to get a clean series of numbers that are accurate. A simple check would be to compare bed numbers and occupancy rates by hospital and to examine any outliers.

This is such an important decision both to control the disease and for the jobs and livelihoods of the many, that the decision takers need the most accurate possible numbers.  

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276 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Indeed surely we know the date of each death and should re-do the figures to show the deaths numbers recorded on the correct days. I suspect this might show a more encouraging set of figures than the current daily figures.

    Hancock claimed yesterday that everyone is getting from the NHS the treatment they need but this is clearly not true. Some are dying before they even get to a hospital (due to the way 111, GP & 999 seem to be actively deterring people. People in care homes are also be denied hospital treatment. Also people will be dying form other condition due to reluctance to seem hospital care or even normal GP care & normal vaccinations at this time.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      Sorry – seek not seem and being denied.

    • RebuttalToFalseClaim
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Hancock claimed yesterday that everyone is getting from the NHS the treatment they need but this is clearly not true.
      Some are dying before they even get to a hospital (due to the way 111, GP & 999 seem to be actively deterring people. People in care homes are also be denied hospital treatment.

      Please quote reliable source(s) for your claims.

      TIA

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        If Hancock really wants to rebut this claim then he should release the figures. The current message from the NHS seems to be “save the NHS stay away” – (unless perhaps you are almost dead). This message can kill some people.

        It might well be that earlier oxygenation would help many more patients survive for example.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          The German health system seems to be doing rather better.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 11, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

            But it may just be they are testing rather more so the the mortality figures are then deceptive. But we shall soon see, the UK mortality rate circa 12% of the (tested +) cases and Germany’s just circa 2.4%.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        This is not a “rebuttal” you are just disagreeing with me.

      • jerry
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        @RTFC; “Please quote reliable source(s) for your claims.”

        You mean that on one is dying outside of hospital from CV19, such as in care homes, if so please practice what you preach!

      • Hope
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        Your comment is awaiting moderation.
        Social distancing does not occur on a plane, if they are infected the spread is the same from them to the population. It is still claimed The govt strategy is to slow the spread. That is an utter nonsense if people entering the country from virus hotspots are allowed in without testing or quarantine. Same for releasing 4,000 prisoners. Or Minister Jenerick travelling about from multiple locations. If he came from Downing Street to second home to parents I would be a worried if his parent as Downing Street clearly has infection of the virus!

        South Korea tested people in and out and test and monitor existing population comapare and contrast to the science fiction from Hancock. He ought to go. He has allowed the spread to increase from these people knowing some will die while demanding we stay under house arrest also in contrast to those placed I quarantine from the cruise ships. Both positions of govt cannot be true/correct. You do not need to be a medical expert, statistician or disease expert. This is flip flop Hancock science fiction.

        He also said there is now enough ICU beds whatever happens. Therefore house arrest must end because that was the govt objective for house arrest. Hancock’s mixed messages are for the birds. I expect house arrest to end next Tuesday. We cannot and the financial health of the country cannot wait for Hancock’s testing, at the current rate it would take years to complete!

        It was reported Prof Ferguson’s report was not peer reviewed or reviewed by other institutes.

      • SM
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        I can give you one example: an 84yr old widow, living alone in East London, suffering from and partially crippled by severe rheumatoid arthritis, requires a regular therapeutic infusion that can only be done in hospital. The appointment she had for next week has been cancelled, and no replacement date offered.

      • Hope
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Hancock needs to to learn his open border policy cost British lives. He must go.
        Australia states WHO too slow to act and thinks its border controls and ban on Chinese people slowed the spread against WHO advice.

        Andrew Hattie Australia: “When Beijing shut down travel from Hubei to the rest of China on January 23 — but strangely not from Hubei to the rest of the world — why didn’t the WHO act decisively then?” he asked.

        “It could’ve prevented the mass global exportation of Covid-19 then by declaring a pandemic and alerting governments around the world of the danger ahead. Closing borders then could’ve saved lives and a lot of economic hardship,” he suggested.

        • UK Qanon
          Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

          Hope – The WHO is a corrupt globalist organisation. Do your research; the information is fully available. Do not rely on the MSM to provide the truth.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        They don’t get it even in normal circumstances!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Yes, again we have been saying this for a couple of weeks now.

      You need to take the death figure in hospital stated for the day, add any CV deaths outside hospital (which are likely to increase when hospitals are close to or at capacity), subtract those who would have died anyway, then adjust some of those deaths back and add ones which haven’t yet been reported.

      The present method of the single hospital figure is likely to plateau even when death figures are actually increasing, and any peak and fall will therefore be lost in a simple plateau.

      We need to know at least approximate trends in each of these other three factors to have any idea whether the present figures are correct.

    • rose
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      I would also like the normal death figures to be given along side – 51,000 in a normal March, many from pneumonia and other infections.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        How many more die in cold winter months due to the mad expensive energy policies pushed by the Greta, Ed Miliband and Lord Debden types too.

      • Hope
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Rose, Read Con Woman article current death figures about 5,000 below average.

      • Brigham
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        This is right. The figures for the death rate last year should be shown, and the death rate from covid19 will be todays figure minus that.

      • glen cullen
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Don’t mention seasonal flu it will only screw the figures and confuse johnny public

      • Richard
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
      • jerry
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        @rose; Your point being what, to show the extra above normal deaths being caused by CV19?…

        • rose
          Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          To see the figures in context.

          • jerry
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

            @rose; We are seeing the figures in context!

      • Christine
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        I saw a graph today from France and it showed total death figures for 2020 to be between 2019 and 2018 numbers, although the 2020 deaths are now starting to rise. The normal rates of death from seasonal flu will be less now due to the social distancing measures so this will skew the figures.

    • Stred
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      There was a terrible case in London where a male nurse had very bad symptoms and his family were unable to obtain help or hospital admission. He died at home. These deaths should be recorded with the reason. Only testing hospital admissions allows the system to cover failure.

      NHS hospital staff have less effective protection and are having to take the train and bus to travel to their homes in conditions most likely to transmit the disease between themselves and others. Then within their household they are likely to infect relatives. Yet the whole emphasis of the NHS chiefs and the BBC news is on the public obeying the distance instructions and not visiting other members of the family in different houses when both households have been quarantined for weeks and are not infectious. Garden centres are unable to sell their stock when they could take measures to prevent infection more easily than enclosed shops. This makes no sense.

    • Richard
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      The date of death is a minor quibble compared to several major issues discussed here: https://off-guardian.org/2020/04/05/covid19-death-figures-a-substantial-over-estimate/
      https://hectordrummond.com/2020/04/08/the-onss-covid-19-category/ In summary: “Covid-19 is a ‘notifiable disease’, which means that anyone who fills out a death certificate has to note down if the person had Covid-19, or if they EVEN JUST SUSPECT the person had Covid-19, whatever the person died of. So there will quite a few people who have ‘Covid-19’ written on their death certificate even if they didn’t die of it, and they will go into the Covid-19 death numbers. This means that this category is misleading, and basically useless. Unfortunately, it’s the category that the media is using.”

      • rose
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Germany isn’t doing this but don’t expect the media to own up to that.

  2. Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Getting the figures right is fundamental to the next decision.

    Is everything we hear from the media based on falsehoods ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Look at how many people are dying in care homes. 13 in one unit alone, did non of these patient want any hospital treatment or interventions at all?

      Look at the instructions from a GP to a nursing home – firstly I am not coming out and secondly I am not sending anyone to hospital anyway!

      Some are dying at home before ambulances get to them, some told they are not yet ill enough and so call back later if they are still able to.

      The government and NHS have the statistics and know full well that this is going on but are not releasing them rather like they buried the pandemic exercise report. Just as they are not releasing the number who are in intensive care, the number of mechanical ventilators in use and those available.

      • anon
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps JR can clarify if a decision has been made to deny hospital treatment to older or any other group categories like say homes?

        If they are not assessed for treatment they can hardly use up the protected “surplus” resources can they?

        Administratively convenient or necessary?

        If that is the case death should be directly attributed to Covid-19.

    • Ed M
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      ‘Getting the figures right is fundamental to the next decision.’

      – Well said.

    • Tom Rogers
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Is that a rhetorical question?

  3. Mark B
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    There is a striking similarity between those who push the Climate Change SCAM and those who are behind this serious, but not major, virus outbreak. Our kind host last paragraph I feel is the most important. We are pursuing a policy of lockdown based on what could be flawed data. Large scale testing would enable the UK Government to ascertain those areas and people who are to be locked down and allow the rest to carry on.

    I also hear that Singapore, who acted very quickly and flattened the ‘curve’, have now had a second wave. It is clear that this is not simply going to pass.

    As with all pandemics throughout history perhaps it is time to just let the virus run its course. It is easy for government and its officials and advisors to say we must be in lockdown for ‘x’ amount of time, they will still have a job at then end of it.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Pictures of overrun hospitals will bring a government down quicker than a tanked economy which can be blamed on the virus.

    • ed2
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      There is a striking similarity between those who push the Climate Change SCAM and those who are behind this serious, but not major, virus outbreak

      >
      It is about global governance and control.
      We want John to take a critical look at the stats and figures.

    • Hope
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      There is no cure, the virus will continue. Therefore house arrest should end when sufficient hospital capacity. Hancock said there was yesterday therefore I fail to see why the economy has to be wrecked for social engineering of this left wing govt.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Much truth is this. The only reasons to lock down are to ensure the NHS can cope by giving them some extra time and perhaps giving medical people more time to learn about how best to treat patient for optimal survival outcomes.

      It will surely run its course anyway until some working vaccine is found.

    • Mark
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      It is probably too soon to evaluate the data on Singapore’s recent spike upwards: it only takes one spreader to escape the system to produce a bigger spike, but with good quarantine it need not develop into a wider epidemic. They do in general seem to have been efficient in their trace and quarantine measures. We will need to be efficient at it too if we are to reduce restrictions.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Mark – I don’t think you can be right about Singapore – – Martin insisted that they were an admirable success in dealing with the virus.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    James Forsyth (in a Spectator Podcast) suggest that we will get a swing to the left (within the Conservative Party) with demands for an even larger state sector as a consequence of this virus.

    This is the last thing the country needs. Once Boris get back he needs to ditch HS2, ditch the net carbon carbon, ditch Miliband’s insane climate change act and the absurd Climate Change Committee, cut the size of the state in half, cut university places for hobby subject and anyone without decent A levels and enlarge the wealth creating sector with tax cuts, tax simplification and huge cuts in red tape.

    This is the only way to go from the current, hugely overtaxed, over indebted and over regulated position. The dire position that the idiotic economic illiterates Brown, Darling, Osborne and Hammond have saddled us with.

    The other danger of this Crisis is that the US might well elect Biden. I still think Trump will win but not very easy to judge it. I am no great fan of Trump and he has not handled the Coronavirus situation well, but he is clearly right on Energy, the Paris Accord and Climate Alarmism, taxes and is far, far preferable than Biden. Boris should copy him on this, we can not afford any more of this greencrap, expensive energy region. It is group think lunacy.

    • Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      I’m a huge Trump fan. Wish he was the British PM.

      • bill brown
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        I would ask the poor in the US on that one, when you look at the cut backs in Medicare and food stamps

        • Edward2
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          Yet good polling figures
          Likely to win another 4 years.

          Good growth and record numbers back in work especially in the poorest communities, after the lacklustre Obama years.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Boris needs to return and like Mrs Thatcher, say to his party “this is what we believe,” and bang Hayek down on the table.

    Not that Thatcher did anything near enough to deliver sensible economic or EU policies. Dragged back as she was by all the dire EUphiles and the Libdims and socialists MPs in her party.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      She did propose the hard ECU which was a much better idea than the political euro. She did get a rebate and would surely have vetoed the Maastricht treaty had she remained in office. As a result of which, ironically, we’d probably still be in the EU!

    • Hope
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      LL, you might have a point about EU, but utter Rubbish Thatcher economics. She changed the economic fortunes of the country. To say otherwise is poor memory or la la land- Heaths three day working weeks etc. Come off it.

    • Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Boris does not believe in Hayek, why did you think he did? This call on the lockdown must be added to his very long list of bad calls I’m afraid.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      You do realise that Hayek was forced to redefine what he meant by “socialism”, I take it?

      He was constrained to admit, that his critical analyses of it were only, in essence, applicable to command economies in the stalinist model, and said that readers should thenceforth understand “socialism” to mean that.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        You always end up having to eat your pets to survive.
        Whatever your academic definition might be.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

          I think that you are getting mixed up with the people in various parts of the erstwhile British Empire, Edward.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

            No
            No confusion.
            Socialism killed tens of millions during the 20th century.
            Starved
            Beaten
            Executed

    • Peter
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Government actions suggest ‘We are all Keynesians now’.

      Though that often simply means socialised corporate losses but privatised profits rather than a genuinely Keynesian approach.

  6. oldtimer
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    This shutdown is characterised by dodgy data. It starts with guesses about infection rates, with wildly different outcomes. It ends with inaccurate data on deaths, because of timing, cactual causes and the omission of those who die, untested, in the community.

    If hospital deaths reported on any day are not the actual number on that date, why not also calculate moving averages such as say a five day moving average and/or other alternatives? Anyone who follows stock market prices will know there are numerous ways in which price movements are measured and analysed to try to get a better understanding of underlying trends. I get the impression that the public is on the receiving end of mushroom management.

    • Data Please
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      +1

  7. Peter
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    I get a sense from the article of a desperate search for reasons to justify the end of lockdown. I completely understand why people want this all to end. I am aware of the financial pressures on so many.

    That said, I don’t know enough about the numbers. I don’t know how they are calculated. I don’t know how other countries calculate their numbers. I don’t have any way of verifying the reliability of any of the figures. I don’t know if there are alternative numbers and if there are whether such figures are in the public domain.

    So I am not really in any position to make suggestions. I have to rely on informed sources and trust government.

    • Hope
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      If you trust the govt after yesterday’s briefing by Hancock I think that is rather naive to say the lest.

      • Peter
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        Read the sentence before. There are too many armchair experts. I am not in a position to make informed suggestions.

  8. Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    There is another statistic that needs looking at – Where people are admitted on CV symptoms, but then die because of complications or other inherent problems, are they being counted as CV deaths?
    Yes, the deaths are far too high – doesn’t that suggest that too many people are unfit to withstand this virus, and others. Shouldn’t we be doing more to improve general health?

    Interestingly, Sweden has far less deaths and cases of CV, while they have not had to endure the massive lockdown the UK has imposed.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      less travel – don’t live cheek by jowl…

    • Alison
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Strongly agree, Bryan Harris, we should be doing more to improve general health, including prevention.

      TOday I shall look up national statistics for obesity and diabetes (both types), and look at possible correlation with CV-19 ICU/death rates.

      On the hospital beds stats, even getting accurate figures there will need care, given the reorganisation within hospitals to create more beds for CV-19.

    • Norman
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      To be fair, the latest on Sweden, whose population is just 10.23 million, is total of 870 deaths attributed to CV: compare UK population of 66.65 million, total of 8958 attributed to CV.
      Allowing for many more high density population areas in the UK, it’s not easy to make straight comparisons – its still too high in Sweden, but not unexpected – and there could be worse to follow.

    • anon
      Posted April 12, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Obesity apparently is indicated with poor outcomes in ICU 60% chance of death v 40% non- obese.

      Something to think about when in the long term, daily exercise is needed.

      Maybe a chance to diet?

  9. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Just to emphasise what John has said about the death numbers, this from the April 10th announcement:

    “NHS England has announced 866 further deaths of people who had tested positive for Covid-19. Of the new deaths announced today, 117 occurred on 9 April, 720 between 1 April and 8 April, and 29 in March.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    There isn’t enough data so we don’t know what the death rate is. I agree that this is a horrible disease and that lots of unexpected deaths is a shock.

    We are unused to natural disasters in this part of the world.

    I notice that the BBC don’t want us to use war-like comparisons in fighting this disease. No “War on COVID-19”. Why might that be and why now ? They were fine with “War on Drugs” and “War on Poverty.”

    Is this perhaps because we are about to get Boris the Hero and they want to cut his legs from beneath him before he catches his breath ?

    The BBC has also be stoking up class and racial divisions saying that this disease shows up discrimination.

    The only discrimination that the data consistently shows is that 75% of the people COVID-19 kills are men over 50.

    But you’ll never hear the BBC saying “Men over 50 are being discriminated against”

    This institution should be helping to fortify and unify our nation at the moment but it is an utter disgrace.

    • rose
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      This was a golden opportunity for the BBC to fulfil its destiny as the patriotic unifier of the nation.

      Just as it was the golden opportunity for the EU to show us all it cares about Southern Europe.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Aided and abetted by Channel 4.

  11. jerry
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    “The figures include cases where CV 19 is mentioned where other severe conditions mean the patient would probably have died without the virus anyway.”

    The fact that someone has an underlying medical condition is irrelevant in almost all cases, other than terminal illnesses were palliative care is the only ethical and worthwhile treatment, all other patients, even those with very serious underlying medical condition, can live for decades when prescribed the correct medication and often are. Very few deaths, were CV19 has returned a confirmed positive test, should be disregarded as being a miss-diagnosis in effect.

    • Le Libertarian
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Jerry

      Absolutely

      I read a report from a senior clinical doctor yesterday saying exactly that. CV19 is the cause of death in most patients with underlying systems, purely because they aren’t able to fight off the virus. Without CV19 infection they could have lived for many years

      Sorry cant find the link, I’m locked in rural France with poor internet ( France doesn’t do domestic broadband in rural areas )

      Stay safe everyone

      • bill brown
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        I have it at my house in rural France so let me tell you how that is possible in France at a local level to make happen

        • Le Libertarian
          Posted April 13, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          Billy Hans

          Good for you, my son who lives permanently in rural France cant get it, and the house I’m currently locked down in cant get it

          So good for you , I notice you offer to tell us, but dont actually tell us, its almost as if you are some kind of BS consultant

    • Richard
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Dr John Lee, ex-professor of pathology & retired consulting pathologist: “the vast majority of respiratory deaths in the UK are recorded as bronchopneumonia, pneumonia, old age or a similar designation. We don’t really test for flu, or other seasonal infections. If the patient has, say, cancer, motor neurone disease or another serious disease, this will be recorded as the cause of death, even if the final illness was a respiratory infection. This means UK certifications normally under-record deaths due to respiratory infections.
      Now look at what has happened since the emergence of Covid-19. The list of notifiable diseases has been updated. This list — as well as containing smallpox… anthrax, brucellosis, plague and rabies (which most UK doctors will never see in their entire careers) — has now been amended to include Covid-19. But not flu. That means every positive test for Covid-19 must be notified, in a way that it just would not be for flu or most other infections.” https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/The-evidence-on-Covid-19-is-not-as-clear-as-we-think

      • anon
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        The herd may have lost immunity to the former but not the latter.

        Given we have not identified the source of the virus Patient Zero. Its sensible. Any more gain of function with new or old new virus would be unwelcome.

        Further investigation need to follow through all the material to date.

  12. Dunc.
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    How about another graph showing all daily deaths from all conditions plus an average daily deaths line from the last 5 years.
    This might put Covid-19 into perspective.
    When you think there were 50,000 excess deaths in 2017 and no fuss was made it begs the question of why the Covid numbers are treated with such hysteria.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Because pictures of overrun hospitals such as seen in China, USA, Italy and Spain will bring the government down quicker than a tanked economy. The NHS is free at the point of delivery and s supposed to save us. If it is overwhelmed it is positioned as because of government cuts not because of an unprecedented pandemic.

      Other countries do not fund their health system the same way so won’t bring their governments down.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Circa 20,000 excess winter deaths each year in the UK many caused by the government’s and the climate alarmist’s mad expensive and unreliable energy policies.

      • rose
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Very mild winter this year so maybe that accounts for the drop in deaths – or some of them.

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Correct the last 5yr ave should be included in the graph

      But you know they (Govt & NHS) will not allow that as it doesn’t compute with their message

      And lets face it folks the daily brief isn’t about supplying info to the public its about sending a message and PR

    • Mark
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      The ONS produced a nice chart of the 2014/15 flu epidemic with total deaths against the five year average.

      https://www.ons.gov.uk/chartimage?uri=/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/excesswintermortalityinenglandandwales/201415provisionaland201314final/0735a57c

      Daily deaths from all causes peaked at over 2,000 a day. Excess winter deaths were estimated at not far short of 50,000, with the flu being blamed for 28,000 of those directly (so “of” not “with”).

  13. Old Albion
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    We’ve been in ‘lockdown’ for almost three weeks. If the infection and death rates are even vaguely accurate ‘lockdown’ ain’t working. Where are all these people contracting Covid 19?
    We need to let the young, fit and healthy return to normality, while continuing to ‘shield’ the elderly, sick and vulnerable. In the hope ‘herd immunity’ will win over.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      The death rates should not yet be slowing as a result of lockdown.

      Infection rates and hospitalisation should now be turning. We were advised to work from home 3.5 weeks ago.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      The question needs asking and answering for new infections now – Why?
      We are 3 weeks into shutdown, and 4 weeks into a period when many of us started taking sensible precautions. So why are new infections coming through at all?

      Are they:
      1 A result of transmission amongst and from care home and health workers in the community?
      2 Cross infection within isolating households, where successive members have contracted?
      3 In shops and other places where needs must we have to go.
      4 “Other”

      Some meat could be put on this bare new infection figures I think.

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Wise words indeed…..fully agree this economic lockdown isn’t working

    • Ed M
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      ‘We need to let the young, fit and healthy return to normality, while continuing to ‘shield’ the elderly, sick and vulnerable. In the hope ‘herd immunity’ will win over.

      – Well said (and focusing on getting good stats on levels of immunity / true coronavirus mortality rates, and ensuring NHS well-supported to cope with the virus).

    • TooleyStu
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Old Albion.

      Superb advice.
      If we continue with the current (non)thinking policy.. there will be little left to unlock for.

      Tooley Stu

    • Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Fully agree. Ever thought that people are dying of Covid 19 in hospitals because they contract it there when they have gone in for other reasons? We all know that Drs get you out of hospital double quick if you have had to go in, to reduce your chance of contracting something worse – like a MRSA? Now it’s Covid 19.

  14. Margaret Howard
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Another mark of distinction we share with America. Makes you proud they regard us as their closest ally:

    Today’s head line in the Daily Mail:

    “US records the deadliest day from the coronavirus pandemic worldwide, becoming the first country to mark 2,000 deaths in 24 hours as number of infections tops HALF A MILLION”

    “Britain records Europe’s highest single-day death toll: Number of victims jumps by 980 to 8,958 – surpassing Italy and Spain’s worst days – as 5,706 more patients test positive”

    Who would want to have anything in common with pesky Europe?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Getting your Information from the Daily Mail is unwise. See my post further up about the actual death numbers reported on Friday.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      When countries dismantle the many and various social structures and institutions, as dictated by the Anglo-Saxon socio-economic doctrine cooked up in the US, and slavishly followed by the Right here, then the consequences are predictable, Margaret.

      These appalling figures, which contrast starkly with most other developed countries, are testament to the correctness of its critics.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        Geez what a lot of ‘smart’ sounding claptrap….

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

          What’s wrong with its substance, Fred?

          Where is the UK’s Civil Protection Authority – or its equivalent – for instance?

          • Edward2
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

            What relevance does that have to your first post?

    • APL
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Margaret Howard quoting the Daily Mail: “Britain records Europe’s highest single-day death toll: Number of victims jumps by 980 to 8,958 – surpassing Italy and Spain’s worst days – as 5,706 more patients test positive”

      Eight thousand nine hundred and fifty eight deaths, in total.

      The Daily Mail incorrectly cites the daily death rate as 980. That’s the deaths as of yesterday. Which is not a constant and may go down or up.

      And, to put that in perspective ( assuming UK population is 60m ) that would be 0.0001% of the population who have died and where their death has had covid-19 as the principle or a contributory cause.

      The snapshot (980) figure that Margaret quotea are meaningless, unless looked at in light of the trend.

      According to the ONS mortality rates in the UK are about 951/100,000 last year. This year will be broadly unchanged.

      But the BBC wouldn’t broadcast that, because there is nothing scary about it.

      • rose
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Population is nearer 70 million.

    • Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      What are the total infections and deaths in ‘pesky’ Europe Margaret? A few more than in ‘dratted Trumps USA?’ Shall we add the death rates together to have a proper pesky comparator? And of course ‘Europe’ is a lot smaller, even in total. But we will soon enjoy ‘Pesky Europes’ 50% youth unemployment rates and bankruptcy, so keep on trucking Margaret, you will be happy yet.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Margaret you are comparing the whole of the USA with one EU member? Why?
      Why didn’t you add all 27 member state figures together to compare with the USA?

      The UK figures weren’t just one day either, we were told the figure you quoted was made up from a backlog of figures from previous days which as John said need reformatting.

    • Le Libertarian
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Maggie

      New York and London have populations larger than a lot of European countries

      Deaths per million of population

      Spain 300.6
      Italy 283.4
      Belgium 178.16
      France 154.8
      Netherlands 121.9
      UK 92.63
      USA 39.39

      Not really very bright are you Margaret ?

      • Edward2
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        It is sad she wants to use this time of national crisis to make cheap political points.

        • bill brown
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

          Edward2

          did is just what you did , you are really loosing it

          • Edward2
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            Try again bill
            That post above made no such political point.

      • bill brown
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 5:36 am | Permalink

        Libertarian

        The lecturer style is back please spare us , it makes the sensible things you say less convincing

        • Edward2
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

          Bill
          Normally you criticise posts for not being factual, now here you criticise Lib for being too factual.

          How about a perfect post from you instead?

          • bill brown
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

            Edward2

            Here is one stop being such a busy body

          • Edward2
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            No that is just another of your useless one sentence posts.
            Nowhere near a proper post.
            But as usual you lefty pro EU types want to shut up any discussion dissent or criticism

        • Le Libertarian
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          Billy hans

          Thanks for your usual worthless and uninformative post

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Of course, we would ALL have been better off had China not lied about the nature of this disease and isolated herself at the earliest instead of taking doctors into police stations.

      You’re as bad as someone bashing a crime victim for repairing their window the wrong way.

    • Christine
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      The population of the USA is similar to the whole of Europe put together. So to compare you need to total up all the deaths across all European countries. A better gauge is the number of deaths per 1 million of population. As of yesterday the USA was 15th in the world with 57 deaths per million. Italy, Spain and France were 312, 344 and 202 respectively. Don’t let your hatred of Trump and Boris get in the way of the truth. If you want to direct it somewhere point the finger at China and the WHO where misinformation has been rife.

  15. Everhopeful
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    According to an advisor to Italy’s Health Minister, Italy’s Death certification
    does not differentiate between those who simply have the virus in their body and those who are actually killed by it.
    Let’s hope the UK is not doing that!

    • ed2
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      oes not differentiate between those who simply have the virus in their body and those who are actually killed by it.

      >
      Exactly, and we all have millions of viruses in our bodies.
      How long can they pull these tricks off for? Another 18 months?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      We can’t always know cause of death with certainty.
      Including infected cases regardless is as good a method as any. It’s consistent and will rise and fall with the general infection rate..

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      I tend to thing the Italian way is best here, at least we know the position that way. If they leave it to the doctors the figure will be rather subjective and open to political and other manipulation.

    • Margaret Howard
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Everhopeful

      “Le’s hope the UK is not doing that!”

      According to Channel 4 last night our own figures are totally unreliable. They only register people who die in hospitals not those at home, in old folks homes or any other place. They suggest figures could be as much as 80% higher than officially counted.

    • Mark
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      The ONS are trying to make the distinction, but the daily figures you see are just those dying “with” the virus. What will really matter in the end is the overall excess mortality. We will have to wait another couple of weeks to begin to get much clarity from the ONS figures, which are somewhat in arrears.

  16. Iain Gill
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Even in a perfect world things are more complex than that, for a number of reasons.
    None of the tests are 100% accurate, some of the tests are more accurate than others, but none are absolutely 100%. Accuracy of tests also varys at different parts of the timeline of the illness, from originally picking it up it goes through a curve of symptoms, a different curve of infectiousness, and the accuracy of the tests vary at different parts of the curve. People with suspected CV are not being autopsied, partly due to the volume, and partly because its an unnecessary infection risk for any staff asked to do the autopsy, so this means the normal level of accuracy of cause of death is mostly missing. Deaths outside hospital are often not being tested at all, and for many we will never know whether they were CV or severe pneumonia of the non CV kind, partly because we don’t want to use precious test kits when it would have no impact on the patients outcome.
    The factors influencing the deaths rather than being seen as simple black and white definites, are better visualised as a big venn diagram of different issues each with a statistical distribution curve of probabilities behind it rather than simple yes/no.
    You do not need to have the illness to be capable of passing it on, you simply need to have it on your clothes or something you carry, as it is passed on by touch as well as in small droplets in the air you exhale.
    Part of the reason to have one patient per room, with negative air pressure per room, is its important to reduce cross infection between patients. NHS is not doing this, so will have far higher cross infection rates than USA. USA equivalents of Nightingale hospitals are either requisitioned hotels with one room per patient and equipment to give each room negative air pressure, or in the big halls each bed unit is within a small tent. We are making a mistake in the UK not taking such measures to reduce cross contamination. Its important for a lot of reasons but most obviously patients with non CV pneumonia are going to end up on the CV ward by mistake and end up catching CV, and this will be a significant driver of extra deaths. Also virus load will go up with extra virus in different parts of the infection curve being mixed and delivered to all the other patients (and staff).
    The whole “the patient would probably have died without the virus anyway” thought process needs to be done with a lot of care. Sure CV deaths disproportionately have co morbidities, but mostly these people would have lived happily for years longer if it were not for CV. The numbers who would have genuinely died in the next month or two in the absence of CV are going to be a small proportion.
    The other numbers we should be worried about at the other deaths caused by other follow on impacts, by the system turning other patients away to cope with CV etc. The YouTube video “Doctor Highlights The Hidden Victims of COVID-19” by “Medlife Crisis” is well worth a watch.
    So, the “decision makers” need to get their heads around these issues.

  17. majorfrustration
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Start the Royal Commission now

  18. Thomas E
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    We also need the antibody tests really urgently for the purpose of understanding this epidemic.

    This research could have a huge impact on how we choose to tackle the epidemic. For example a recent German study found from antibody research in one village ( admittedly an epicenter in Germany) showed that they were underestimating cases by a factor of 3. It brought the case fatality rate down from over 1% to 0.37%.

    • Ed M
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      ‘It brought the case fatality rate down from over 1% to 0.37%.’

      – Well said. This could be potentially huge. We need similar, more detailed studies like this to get a better picture asap.

  19. Sakara Gold
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    There are lies. damned lies and statistics. The figures on those who have tested positive in hospital and who sadly failed to make it are almost certainly an underestimate of the total number of deaths due to the Chinese plague virus, the question is by how much?

    Like much else about the government’s handling of the crisis, the shambolic and macabre counting of the “death toll” is being spun by civil servants and quangocrats who clearly have their own agenda – mainly to avoid the blame for the catastrophe now afflicting the nation.

    Possibly of more significance is the fact that the location of the deceased are being witheld, Priti Patel and her spooks have decided that data on the “hotspots” is a secret and so the public is prevented from knowing where the hotspots are and hence can avoid them.

    Currently it appears that the hospitals themselves and their immediate environs are centres of infection, this is undoubtedly because Public Health England have repeatedly failed to provide sufficient suitable PPE to our front line doctors, consultants and nurses. There are numerous reports in the press of nurses adapting bin-bags, plastic sheets, snorkelling masks etc in an attempt to adapt infection control procedures, once this is over there must be consequences for those who have let our front-line medics down in this shamefull manner.

    Now is not a good time to break a leg or suffer any other problem that requires a visit to A&E – there are numerous reports of people who went into hospital for a treatable problem, contracted the virus and passed away.

    One is reminded of the phrase “too many chiefs and not enough (workers ed)” when considering the way we have meen muddling through the crisis. Managing our response using committees of civil servants, quangocrats and scientists who do not agree with each other is highly inefficient and is clearly resulting in more deaths than would otherwise be the case.

  20. Everhopeful
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Did the govt instil too much fear?
    Too many people were happy to stop working? ( Ha! More than govt even DREAMED!).
    After all these years of nannying the govt honestly thought the UK had maintained its stiff upper lip and would keep on working?
    Not to mention the version of control the police have invented.
    Good luck with ever going back to normal.
    Good luck with casual and service employment!
    The collateral damage of plunging the economy into a self induced Depression is incalculable.
    Still, none of us ordinary folk is paid to worry about that! We just suffer.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Ha!
      Govt expected 75% compliance and they got 90%!! Too much to handle!
      When will they stop using models and engage brain.
      You can’t spend decades knocking the stuffing out of population and then expect them to act rationally!!
      The country is cowering in terror…how will it be coaxed out again??

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Well you get 80% take of the tax and NI you would pay on the extra 20%, travel costs, lunches …. why bother to work 37 hours for say £15 extra? (Unless you do not like you wife/family/husband much). Why on earth did the Treasury imagine the take up would be low?

    • Norman
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Even before Covid-19, Government had committed us, over our heads, to a more protracted form of lock-down – the abrupt phasing out of fossil fuels, with all its expensive ramifications. What is going on?

      • Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. This lockdown forever! Even before the car people had horses for transport. You can’t introduce horses now to a population unused to big animals, so for the first time since the Stone Age – shanks pony.
        And they do mean that citing in official reports ‘walking from London to Edinburgh’.

    • TooleyStu
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Everhopeful.
      What an excellent name in these circumstances.

      I do not see us ever going back to normal.
      This may be the new normal.

      Tooley Stu

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely spot on Everhopeful. Especially the last line.
      The Police showed they VERY eagerly want a police state. Everyone else has to be 2M apart – – yet they drive around two in a vehicle – of course they might all be married to each other. When going to an accident – several turn up and chat merrily. Have they been immunised from it??? Can’t they catch it because they are in a police uniform?
      The govt want everyone obeying like sheep.
      The radio allow any fanatic on phone-ins screaming about a neighbour “put things in his bin . . . TWICE this week – should be arrested and shot – he’s effectively murdering us”.

      Meanwhile – our Border Farce keep ferrying in foreign criminals. Are we being told to stay indoors so we don’t see coach or even planeloads being brought in? (Couple of years ago flights from Libya to Italy were shown bringing them in – during the night of course).

  21. Ian Wragg
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    1600 people die on average daily in the UK. We are not being told if there is any upsurge in numbers.
    The experts have got to say that the lockdown is working so as to save face.
    The cure is becoming infinitely worse than the virus.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      So what do you think of New Zealand’s approach, Ian?

      Do you think that it would have been better, if the UK had also followed the scientific consensus advice in timely manner now?

      I see that many of the British evacuated from Wuhan now wish that they had stayed. Life is returning to normal there.

    • ed2
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      1600 people die on average daily in the UK. We are not being told if there is any upsurge in numbers

      >
      There is no upsurge as yet, figures from across Europe show death rates BELOW average.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        So, if you wish to live longer do not go into hospital.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Indeed it would be sensible to publish all the daily death figures both corona virus ones and other causes perhaps they do somewhere?

    • TooleyStu
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Ian,
      Excellent summary.

      Look to Sweden, 86 deaths / million.. and Govt decided a lockdown was not justified.
      The benefit to mental health and general health was not compromised by the needs of 0.001% that may be badly effected.

      Tooley Stu

      • anon
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        Sweden less density of population, think social disatancing . Ro may be a lot less because of it.

        We need testing in place to make decisions on good data.
        The data may or may exist in the UK. I suspect they wont collect data particularly if they think they may not want to divulge it later.

        HIgh density living is undesirable and does not help public health needs. Nor inadequate public transport overcrowding.

        Going forward. The interim policy should be to stop all illegal and legal immigration into the UK.

        Testing , tracking and isolation as needed asap.

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Very important comment, IW. I suspect average daily death rates may not be much lower than what we are experiencing at the moment.

      • Stred
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        The ONS figure for deaths in the 13 weeks before the epidemic got going is about 1700 per day. Covid death’s were very few. The Imperial estimate for deaths if the lockdown was implemented, as it now is, was 20,000. We are half way there already. The figure of 510,000 was an estimate of the deaths if nothing was done. Imperial have not had to alter this figure because the government took their advice and clamped down. This misunderstanding is widespread with claims that the figure was wrong. In fact now we don’t need computer models as we have a live one in Italy and Spain, where similar measures are being used

  22. agricola
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    You cannot base death rates on hospital figuresl alone because people die before they get there. It is therefore crucial that the figures that govern decisions are as accurate as possible. Better be a week late in lifting the lockdown than triggering a resurgence of the disease. Can we see weekly death rate figures for this year 2020 alongside figures for 2018 and 2019, irrespective of cause.

    I have detected amongst some comment a denigration of the NHS. Be clear, the NHS is the front line medical service, the NHS administration, and government setting the priorities and financial constraints that ultimately control how the NHS functions. Personal experience suggests to me that there is little wrong with the frontline service, it only fails when it is not supported by administration and government.

    last night I was asked why aircraft still appeared to be flying. I checked the situation yesterday evening on Flight Radar 24. I found that the volume of traffic was markedly down. What there was comprised a lot of freight traffic, some high end general aviation flights, plus a few surprises. Among the latter was a flight from Iceland to Dublin but the real surprise over the north Sea was a Pakistani Air International (PAI) from Islamabad to Heathrow . I asked myself the questions, why are we still allowing such flights from a source whose medical statistics are at least dubious, and what health checks are we applying to everyone on such a flight before they are let loose in the most Coronavirus infected area in the UK. If I am prevented from flying to the UK first on 24/4 (cancelled), then on 2/5 (cancelled) and now not until after 16/6 (if lucky), what are we doing accepting flights from Pakistan.

    • agricola
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Long overdue for moderation.

    • Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      The managers and Government are not responsible for the successful insurance claims against the ‘Frontline NHS’ circa £600,000,000 pa.

  23. Richard1
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I suggest we also see on a daily basis: the total number of hospital beds available and occupied; the total number of ICUs available and occupied; the total number of ventilators available and in current use. Ministers keep saying they want to level with the public so let’s see the basic critical facts on NHS capacity. The Swedish authorities trust their population with these data so why not us too?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Indeed all this information is available in Italy too. Hancock assures is the NHS has sufficient capacity and ventilators and indeed of PPE. So be open about it. Also let us see what the “pandemic planners” did, who they are and to see the reports into the 2016 exercises. Who was it who decided to bury the results. What planning did they do to ensure PPE, ventilators and other such medical equipment needed could be made quickly and locally if needed for such a pandemic? If none why not?

    • Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Because it would reveal what a bunch of panicked plonkers are making the decisions.

    • Mark
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Look at the daily charts from the No 10 newsbriefings. They show the number of ICU beds occupied per region by virus patients, and the number of hospital beds likewise. It appears that these are well below capacity for now.

  24. Cuibono
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    The absence of any coherent exit strategy is extremely worrying. It we come out of this with anything resembling normality and a functioning economy, there will need to serious questions asked about the competence of various public institutions, not least the police. Comments from across the country have made the same point – “where on earth have all these police officers suddenly come from? We hadn’t seen one for years”. Manpower is clearly not a problem, so we have to ask why the police have proved incapable of getting on top of knife crime, county lines drugs gangs and grooming gangs, not to mention investigating burglaries and dealing with the scourge of anti-social behaviour.

    • ed2
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      o ask why the police have proved incapable of getting on top of knife crime

      >
      Fear has been a weapon to control us.
      We liked these people, but like war of the worlds they have been drawing their plans against us.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Social distancing has thrown them out of their offices into action.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      I agree with the general point about police, but when I tried to take.my half hour of exercise along my inner city canal tow path yesterday evening it was jammed with slavic speaking anglers and groups of young chilling/romancing Romanians. I am against the economic lockdown, but I do wonder whether my neighbourhood, more heavily fly tipped than usual, canal is not as appealing to the police as parks, beaches and moors. More importantly, I also wonder whether the distancing advice has reached all communities because in my one small sampling it doesn’t look like it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Indeed the police even announced that they would do nothing about shoplifting up to £100 so as to encourage the shoplifting ones assumes. You can do quite a few £100’s in a day I imagine.

    • sok
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Seems to me the police have different approaches depending on which community they are dealing with. We notice this and it will change the way we view them forever which is a sad thing.

  25. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The death rate is exactly as the scientific world predicted it would be when the first few cases arrived in this country, and it failed to implement the rigorous testing, tracing, and quarantine schedule that the Government were implored to do by WHO, and by nations already more severely affected.

    So a continuation of stringent distancing measures is now unavoidable.

    From what I have read, the issuing of face masks to the entire public would permit more freedom however, along with a law requiring their use in public spaces.

    And can we please, finally, ban runners and sports cyclists, who pass us in a cloud of panting, spluttering, gasping droplets? Every time I venture out I am plagued by them.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Where I live in London cyclists and joggers have been banned from the Thames path. Quite rightly.

    • Stred
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Matty admitted yesterday that the public is discouraged from buying face masks in order for the NHS to be able to buy those that are available. I noticed that the type of mask that I bought before the crisis, which has a filter and is intended for builders, was being worn by ITU staff.

      • anon
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        Why could they not just ask the population to not purchase them or donate them to the “frontline”?

        Compare the “panic buying” distraction. Inconvenient somewhat but not deadly for most.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Authoritarianism at is finest Marty.

      The politburo always did want to be isolated from the masses.

    • Chris Dark
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Face masks would be discarded all over the place. Yesterday afternoon we found several pairs of vinyl gloves thrown away in a small country footpath. Such items need to be properly disposed of and I don’t mean simply throwing away in the non-recyclable rubbish every week. Laboratory procedures for discarding infected or potentially infected material is strict…I used to do it in my working-life when dealing with pathogens. I don’t want to see millions of people chucking around potentially-contaminated face-masks.

      • Stred
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 5:17 am | Permalink

        I give my mask a spray of water and then microwave it until it steams. This sterilises any bugs. Don’t tell PHE
        about this.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      DON’T ‘venture’ out?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Martin in Cardiff,

      “Exactly”? We know nothing about the death rate because no background prevalence has been measured (released), and no adjustment of data (as it is) for comorbidities carried out. The predictions in the scientific world were and remain wide ranging.

      Moreover the death rate in itself is just that, the effect of a new disease for which we have no / limited immumity. Its use should be to inform the strategy to save most lives/most years of life/most QALYs (net of the costs due to intervention) whichever is decided as the target.

    • Libertarian
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Martin

      Please do me a favour and research before you post your total cobblers, theres a good lad

      That would be the WHO that told us in January that Coronavirus was NOT transmitted human to human would it ?

      Our government followed WHO guidelines only for WHO to totally change their minds later .

      WHO told us face masks didn’t work

      WHO now tells us we should all have face masks

      Its as if Martin you are totally brainwashed by incompetent centralised public authorities , maybe start to think for yourself? If you want to wear a facemark , wear one you dont need to be told by an Ethiopian bureaucrat

      Any comment on this?

      Damning analysis of EU by
      @yanisvaroufakis on BBCr4 Today
      – the rescue package the EU just agreed is only worth 0.22% of EU GDP and is in form of loans. Italy has
      130%+ GDP as debt already. The Euro means either unification (the aim) or disintegration (the likelihood).

      The UK’s decision to Brexit was the right choice ( for the wrong reasons) says Varoufarkis

      • rose
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        YV also said the package was a dereliction of duty.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Excellent post.

      • bill brown
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 5:34 am | Permalink

        Libertarian,

        I think you are right about Andy on this one, but that ha also applied to you th past few days, do the research before you write about EU packages

        • Edward2
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

          He has.

          • bill brown
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            no he actually got the package form the Eu wrong the night it was agreed

          • Edward2
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            It hasn’t been agreed
            Italy Portugal and Spain hates it.
            They say it is useless.
            Holland and Germany are complaining about the cost.

          • Le Libertarian
            Posted April 13, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

            Bill Iverson ( i dont know my own name ) Brown

            You are burbling rubbish, none of the above post of mine is actually my research or opinions, all Ive done is posted what others have said

            Its not difficult, you make yourself look silly in your haste to criticise anything I say , whatever it is

          • Le libertarian
            Posted April 13, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

            Report from the Guardian

            France and the Netherlands have openly clashed over the meaning of a messy compromise struck by finance ministers which has unlocked a €500bn (£438bn) pandemic rescue package for European economies but left major issues unresolved.

      • Margaret Howard
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        Libby

        You tell us to ignore the advice given by the head of the WHO who you describe as an ‘Ethiopian bureaucrat’ but then ask us to take seriously the opinions of Yanis Varoufakis, the (failed) Greek politician.

        Could you tell us which countries you approve of?

        • Le Libertarian
          Posted April 13, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

          Maggie

          Nope because unlike you I can read

          I didn’t say I agreed with Varoufarkis , I just posted his opinion

          I didn’t say I disagreed with the head of the WHO I just told Matin that if he believes that he should have stayed indoors and worn a mask sooner, he could have done that with waiting to be told

          I also pointed out that the WHO got their initial advice wrong, evidenced by the fact they changed it

          Do try and think before posting

      • bill brown
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        Libertarian,

        Lots of guess work with a few debt figures, where lots of nations will be including our own , when this is done. Not very impressive you can do better

        • Edward2
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          The headmaster speaks.

        • Le libertarian
          Posted April 13, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          billy

          You really do have trouble reading dont you

          All I did is quoted someone, you can tell because his name is on the quote .

          Get a grip 1/10 must do better

    • sok
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      The WHO flip flopped from the start. Perhaps a bit of research would not go amiss before posting ;-just sayin)

    • Ed M
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      ‘From what I have read, the issuing of face masks to the entire public would permit more freedom however, along with a law requiring their use in public spaces.’

      – Face masks certainly have their advantages – and disadvantages. They can make people complacent about washing hands etc. The masks can carry the disease on the outside and then people drop the mask near someone contaminating them. I think we’ll need to look at wearing facemasks in close quarters – like people working close together in offices. But I have qualms about outside. The virus doesn’t seem highly infectious outside with people in parks and keeping their distance on the streets. Also we want to keep a semblance of normality to reduce panic and to keep people working and buying and selling etc

      • rose
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        They can’t be a bad idea in a shop.

        • Ed M
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          I agree. I don’t know really. But I am concerned about the psychological effect of ‘panic’ the face masks produces. Certainly, they are essential in certain situations.

          • Ed M
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

            Panic / hysteria is also an enemy! But I also accept important to balance with prudence as well which is a friend.

        • a-tracy
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          3 days ago the media shared information on how coronavirus could spread from a single cough in a supermarket…a mask would stop that.

          The closest I’ve come to anybody other than my husband in the last three weeks was when a jogger ran right up behind us panting and didn’t distance himself from us and then a cyclist who cycled right past then spat in the road near another walker – some people have this attitude they’re the only one who should be allowed out.

    • steve
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      MiC

      “…failed to implement the rigorous testing, tracing, and quarantine schedule that the Government were implored to do by WHO”

      Difficult considering the worlds supply of PPE & materials of prime importance come from China, which confiscated stocks for themselves. (and fiddled the statistics etc)

      The lessons here are not to get caught with one’s pants down, and that it’s naive to think it’s possible to turn a communist regime into capitalists without expecting serious corruption and cheating.

      Still, the US is now talking of moving manufacturing from China to Mexico.

      I hope you are coping with things Martin, and like I’d say to anyone else; stick with the government’s instructions, best of luck and good health to you and your family.

    • ed2
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Martin….go live in North Korea.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        You mean Australia, and New Zealand, which are doing exactly as science advises, along with Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, S. Korea, Taiwan, etc. etc.

        And it is working.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Locking people down is going to:

      – cause people to put on weight

      – cause people lose out on vitamin D3

      Both of these things can make people more vulnerable to COVID-19

      The government needs to get the message to black people that they should be taking Vitamin D3 supplements (and providing them free) as they are less able to produce it naturally in a northern climate.

      Perhaps running should be banned in cities but where I live there is plenty of space and social distancing. A general ban would be damaging.

    • Mark
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      I see that the US forecaster (IHME) that boldly predicted the UK would end up with 66,000 deaths just a couple of days ago has radically slashed its forecast today to 37,000. Reality is that forecasts were mostly far more alarmist than the outcome so far.

  26. BJC
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Oh, Sir John, how many more times will you feel compelled to intervene over a grinding machine that fails to provide meaningful, up to date and accurate data on which broader policy decisions can be based? You’d think they were counting widgets not dealing with matters of life and death and despite the boasts about our modelling, the rule of rubbish in, rubbish out, still applies. Surely, it’s now time to brush aside protectionist sensitivities and use the very best outside resources so that the data collated is wholly accurate and trusted and an integral part of the support mechanism needed to get on top of this thing, not simply an exercise comparable to shuffling paper.

    • Margaret Howard
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      BJC

      Sir John:

      “Surely, it’s now time to brush aside protectionist sensitivities and use the very best outside resources so that the data collated is wholly accurate and trusted…”

      Only if they come from America.

      • Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Well the pesky EU is on its knees Margaret, only a heartless sod would ask them for anything when many southern states have had sod all medication for almost a decade. So only the rich can give. Remember that – socialists can only give what they have already stolen, you need a capitalist to create wealth for us all to consume. Thank God, therefore, for Trump!

        • Margaret Howard
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

          Lynn

          I would imagine that the differences in wealth between citizens of say, Alabama and those of New Hampshire are wider than between some northern/southern EU states

          I wonder who Trump cares more about. I don’t think he can teach us anything because, alas all his presidency tells us so far is that he has great difficulties knowing truth from fable.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            You lefties really hate Trump but you all kept silent from any criticism of Obama when those inequalities were still there.
            Trump has got millions back to work especially BAME communities.

  27. Alan Jutson
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Aware the system and people are under pressure, but certainly you would have thought by now that a system would be in place for recording deaths correctly with regards to the correct day and date.

    Perhaps like the growth figures, perhaps we need corrective figures to be issued after a short delay.

    Always concerned about the cause of death sometimes entered on a death certificate in normal times, let alone at present.

    No figures are ever going to be 100% accurate, but the system certainly needs to work better than it seems at present.

    Hospital admissions is strange way to measure infection rates, when you are only admitted if your need is desperate.!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      And if there is a limit to admissions, there is a limit to figure given, regardless of number of new cases.

      Consistency in method is the main need here. Giving figures which reach a natural capacity or limit gives a false reading.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Your use of the passive voice lets those responsible off the hook.

      Systems do not spontaneously arise. They are put in place by those whose job it is to do so. In this case that is government, the Ministry Of Health, or the Department Of Health and Social Care as it is now called.

      The recording of deaths has a legal dimension, so it cannot be delegated to functionaries to devise that framework for whatever system.

  28. Caterpillar
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Agreed much more transparency/statistical competence is needed

    1. The death data needs to be cleaned up and republished.
    2. A cleaned timeseries on deaths for those with no underlying conditions should be given.
    3. The CV19 admissions time series needs to be cleaned and accessible in same place.
    4. Capacity and utilisation data should be given for each potential bottleneck, also as function of time.

    I would add (again and always) the Govt should be giving estimates (and methodology) for life years saved by lockdown and life years lost (due to present delays and future effect on economy – no evidence for the cure being worth the cost has been given). This needs to be back dated to beginning of lockdown and maintained current. I recognise that some of the downside risks of the lockdown in terms of total economic collapse, total GBP collapse are too.large to build into the cost-benefit above and must be considered separately, any however small an indication of either of these would warrant an immediate change in strategy.

    The Govt also needs to publish all Porton Down antibody test results.

    At a personal level I have stopped trying to fit/interpret the UK data as it is so unreliable. I still look at the behaviour of doubling time in other countries’ data. I also look at France, Spain, Sweden, Italy and U.K. In terms of reported CV19 deaths per million per day with a simple 5-day smooth, but I just look at it, I don’t do anything with it.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      I also plot Netherlands (deaths per million per day 5 day centred moving average) and when I say look at them I plot against time axis and move time origin for each manually to compare curves. Anyone feeling locked in with nothing to do, this is moderately interesting.

  29. Irene
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Yes, the figures are a depressing mess. Like many people, I watch the daily briefings, and nearly 10,000 deaths (as far as we know) to date in the UK because of Covid19 is horrifying. When I heard one of those present at the briefing say that they can’t give the exact number of a certain category because of ‘confidentiality’ and ‘family consent’ needing to be sought, I scratch my head wondering how a death stat comes within the realms of confidentiality. Be honest with your words, otherwise trust disappears. If the systems need a revamp, get on with it. Or just tell us that you don’t know how to deal.

    Care home residents and staff are the latest to be neglected. Nothing new in that, I know, but it is far from decent now. Neglect is never decent but corporate neglect is criminal. Same with domiciliary care staff and the recipients of their care. It’s not as though these 58,000 care providers are an unknown entity, one that has suddenly appeared out of the mists. They’ve been around for decades, as have the
    Hedge Fund managers controlling care home finances, and suddenly raking in the millions from the pandemic.

    There is one thing I would like to flatten at the moment – the use of platitudes. Just listened to Hancock squirm trying to rationalise the sordid state of PPE delivery, incapable of answering the questions posed by Donna Kinnair of the RCN. What a mess. He used wasted an opportunity to deliver. It is disgusting to watch him suggest that PPE is being used improperly – but that is what he said yesterday.

    Individuals may recover from this pandemic. This current government may not.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      They are indeed hugely evasive endless platitudes and no answers.

      Each of these deaths is a tragedy ……. yes yes we know all that Hancock.

      How many NHS front line workers have died so far? – We cannot say as the families have not yet all been informed! – what appalling evasive tosh, it is just a number dear either you know it or you do not know it or you know it but refuse to tell us?

    • Andy
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Let’s hope it doesn’t. A competent and decent government would have struggled with this outbreak. I am pleased that, each day, more of you are now recognising that this government is neither competent nor decent.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Ridiculous post from you andy.
        Do you think Labour or Lib Dems or the solitary Green MP would have managed it perfectly ?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

          There is a very long scale between “perfect” and “hopeless”.

          It’s not a binary choice, but to the infantile absolutist everything is.

          What do you think would have happened if, say, Labour had ignored the 2016 rehearsal?

          • Edward2
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            More lefty nonsense from you desperate to try to get a political advantage from a unique medical crisis.

        • bill brown
          Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          Edward 2

          I do not think any party could have done it better, but as a nation we took too long to close down as oppose to some other countries in northern Europe and that has costs lives, so it does not matter what party is in power. Just look at Mr. Trump and the mess he has left the US in

          • Edward2
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            Yet some EU nations didn’t close down as fast as us.
            Look at per million figures and the UK and USA have done well.
            But I realise you are biased against both nations.

          • Le Libertarian
            Posted April 12, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

            Bill

            Maybe if you paid attention to the Scientific advisors and thought about it for a moment or two . Night after night they were on TV saying, the lockdown will come but WE HAVE TO TIME IT RIGHT . If they went too early their models showed that many people would have started to flout the lockdown just as it approached peak infection and THAT would really have been catastrophic

            The fact is that London is the most populous and cosmopolitan city in Europe , it was always going to have a high rate of infection.

            France locked down on 17th March we locked down a week later . Their numbers are similar to ours , they peaked before we will because they had cases before us, the first recorded person to die in Europe of CV19 on 15th February

            Maybe we need to keep an eye on Sweden, who still haven’t locked down

    • ukretired123
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      A district nurse complained she used 9 pairs of gloves and 3 masks to visit 1 person at home to avoid cross-contamination. Surely this is nonsensical!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Yes I was impressed by Ruth May until that “confidentiality” BS. It’s important to know for her own staff the risks they are running. It’s important in for us all to know the split between infections contracted in and out of the care home/hospital environment. This is at the root of the decision as to how and when to lift the restrictions.

      And indeed, why not be honest and say extra PPE wasn’t in the risk profile (a planning mistake going way back), they were a bit slow in hindsight to lock down and push for production of more PPE/Ventilators (an honest mistake).

      Looking to the future, they have to get this data more consistent. It’s predictable that he will be trying to excuse the lack of data clarity in a few weeks time.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      From someone with a background in designing and manufacturing PPE, albeit some time ago, I can assure you that it IS being used improperly, which is partly why demand is outstripping supply. Once again the problem is caused by the media showing uninformed hysteria and the government feeling they have to be seen to be acting on that hysteria.

    • Robert mcdonald
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Of course the Minister on stage will struggle to answer all the guileful media queries comfortably – he is guided by the professionals with regards to all progress and actions. Yet the media keep asking the same question in a multitude of ways – as they need to pretend their questions are new and inciteful and previously unanswered.

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      I suspect this government is going to take a real hit, and if Starmer gets his act together there is a very real chance that the Cons will be out at the next election. Time goes quickly (although it doesn’t seem like it in lockdown).

    • herumm
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps the crematoriums or funeral homes have a more concise record or the registry offices? How does it work now that we are not out and about to visit these places?
      Thankyou Sir John for getting me through another crisis for this Country.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      There are ranks and ranks of managers in the NHS , it’s not for Hancock or the Government to be order and delivering PPE kit, neither is it for the army, though they have been roped in to do what people on fat salaries have been employed to within the NHS. Making it an issue of the Government hides the failure of NHS’s managerial class.

      • Original Chris
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear, IM. They are the curse of the NHS.

    • Le Libertarian
      Posted April 12, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Irene

      If you had the first clue ( you dont ) about PPE you would know how absurd your post is

      If anyone wants a reasonable analysis then follow journalist Faisal Islam of the BBC who has written up a very concise account of the 761 MILLION plus items of PPE the types of PPE, the plan for its use and distribution and the fact that most of it is single use and disposable He explains what and how it was stockpiled , how it was distributed, why it was found that some PPE wasn’t the right type in the right place and had to be replaced . etc etc. He also found that China is the worlds major supplier of PPE equipment, they quadrupled their prices at the start of the outbreak in Europe. Various EU countries banned the export of PPE equipment and cancelled deliveries The USA estimate they need 3.5 billion N95 masks for pandemic flu… Drs were reporting dozens of respirators used per Covid patient day in ICU…

      Yes PPE is being used improperly because there isn’t a lot of choice , a lot of it is out of its sell by date and doesn’t fit everybody or isn’t exactly the right type of kit for the circumstances, but its better than nothing

      All you armchair experts just talk nonsense to try to prove political points , do some proper research before posting your opinions

  30. Norman
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    A excellent analysis, that needs to be applied immediately. Churchill was right about statistics!

    • Margaret Howard
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Irene

      I second that. Splendid evaluation. Your observation that hedge funds have been allowed by governments to take over our care homes is a scandal that should have been exposed years ago.

      Not just former privately run old folks homes but those managed by local authorities have been taken over by these greedy operators.

      Everything is up for sale including end of life care for a vulnerable section of society. Shameful!

      • Edward2
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        Yet there have been many problems in state owned and local authority care homes.
        Your belief that privately owned care homes are automatically worse than state owned ones is not correct.

      • Le Libertarian
        Posted April 14, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        Maggie

        Yet another dumb post

        The care home groups SAVED by venture capital companies were all going bust and threatening to close

        The largest care home group with 120 homes was SAVED from administration by a healthcare venture capital company

        I guess you would have preferred them all to shut such is your hatred of Americans

  31. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Deaths are indeed the headline figure but without more widespread testing to confirm the prevalence of the disease in the community surely it is hospital admissions with confirmed cases which show how much this virus is being transmitted.

    After three weeks of lockdown with older and vulnerable people isolated I would expect hospitalisations to be dropping dramatically. But to date this is not the case so there is a narrative there.

  32. Sharon Jagger
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I’ve stopped looking at the figures. I’m really not convinced of their accuracy or of being up to date. But these figures are terrifying some people. Someone I know is comparing hospital deaths locally and is relieved when her closest one is lower than others.

    I do think that with MSM talking 24/7 about little else apart from Covid 19, they are fanning the flames of fear! I know that this is a very serious situation, but fear is our greatest fear!

    And why did we not close down society in 1918 and 1958 when millions of people died of influenza? Is it this time, because Wuhan did, the implication being that this virus is SO bad that China have taken extreme measures…in which case we all decided to follow suit?

    So how come most of the rest of China is virus free….but it’s rife elsewhere in the world? I’m puzzled. Something doesn’t quite add up.

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Hysteria porn is the order of the day, and I wonder why the government has allowed the media to hype things up, 24/7.

      Someone is giving the media the info, plus “the nod”, and I am quite sure that if the government were concerned by this constant fearmongering they would have done something about it. They haven’t.

      Leadership requires boldness, adopting radical solutions (hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, for example) reassurances, and evidence of competence. None of this has happened, and it is nothing to do with Boris being ill. The framework to enable competent governance is just not there, and instead we have the media (D Mail referring to 3 factions in government: one for opening up the economy step by step, another for clamping down harder and requiring permits for any journeys out from the home, and then the dreaded image conscious group who feel that public opinion should dictate policy – “public opinion got us into lockdown, so we will know when to get out, when the public tell us so”. What idiots (the last group). We deserve far better government than this. Sir John, I wish you could bang some heads together.

    • rose
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      2So how come most of the rest of China is virus free….but it’s rife elsewhere in the world? I’m puzzled. Something doesn’t quite add up.”

      Isn’t it because the CCP sealed off Wuhan from the rest of the country but still allowed flights to the rest of the world?

  33. DOMINIC
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Data accuracy is not important during this private sector crisis. No crisis for public sector, State dependents of course. What is important is preventing yourself from being conditioned and exposed to viral propaganda from the State, this government, Labour and their allies. They are using this event for maximum political profit

    Our job, we are told, as a good citizen is to clap like a NK lackeys then expire to protect the NHS. We must sacrifice ourselves to protect the NHS. Can you see what they’ve done? They’ve made us feel subservient, dependent and put us under an obligation to a supposed greater good. It’s socialism in all but name.

    We are being exposed to emotional blackmail. Refuse to clap? Then you’re evil and want to see people die. That’s the official message. It’s the most disgusting form of politics I have ever witnessed other than progressive-identarian fascism

    Labour’s lovin’ it. The Tories are clueless, as ever, and the NHS has now become sanctified. The bottomless pit has become ever more bottomless. Expect more cover-ups when things go wrong with politicians now terrified of even referencing the NHS in critical terms

    It would be very different if people HAD TO PAY for it from their bank accounts each month. The financing of the rancid BBC is performed this way so why not the NHS? Then we can see how loyal people are to the NHS

    Challenging the NHS and their political strategy is not criticising NHS employees. The two are very different

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Dominic. I agree with much of what you have written. The Danny Boyle tribute for the Olympics made me feel sick, having recently experienced appalling “care” for an immediate member of my family. The suffering inflicted on my father was horrendous, the callousness and, yes, cruelty was shocking. Drinking water from the flower vases had nothing on what he went through. Needless to say he died as a result.

      A complete overhaul is required, with managers and bureaucrats removed from decision making, and those with clinical skills and expertise put back in charge.

  34. Martin R
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    As I understand it Public Health England (PHE) forbids doctors from prescribing drugs that haven’t been through a formal clinical trial for a particular disease, even though such drugs may have been proven safe* and effective for decades in other applications. That is a cautious if inflexible doctrine which may make sense under normal circumstances. However is it not time to ask whether we live in normal circumstances when people are dying at the rate of a thousand a day from a virus which was never even heard of a few months previously? By any common sense criteria this disease has spiralled out of control already. The death rate from COVD-19 may get even worse than it is now. There is no knowing if it will. Is it not time for PHE to consider whether a modicum of flexibility may be more appropriate to this dire situation?

    Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has been in use for seven decades now. It is taken orally in tablet form. Although primarily an anti-malarial it is also used to treat a variety of other unrelated conditions such as arthritis, lupus, etc. It is eminently safe provided the usual prescribing guidelines are adhered to in relation to the small number of patients it is not suitable for (like any drug). As an anti-malarial it can be taken for weeks or months as required when abroad. When used to treat arthritis some patients have taken it for years or even decades. It happens also to be inexpensive as it is long out of patent, although perhaps this may be proving more a demerit than a virtue.

    Now, abroad in America and France, HCQ is being tried in conjunction with an antibiotic, to treat another unrelated disease, COVID-19. As many as a thousand patients have been treated successfully in one case. The treatment lasts six days or less. Afterwards patients are asymptomatic and also appear not to be infectious as well. This is in contrast to patients elsewhere who have recovered without treatment who may still be infectious for a week or more afterwards. The alternative to this treatment is no treatment at all (other than the palliative paracetomol used merely to relieve the symptoms). That is the NHS policy, not to attempt to treat the underlying illness itself in the belief that no remedy is available.

    Is it not time then that in the context of a pandemic situation where a disease is literally out of control that either the PHE, or the government itself, has a rethink and allows the safe* HCQ treatment to go ahead in Britain? And if they are still not prepared when people are dying at the rate of a thousand a day to give patients the opportunity to be treated, how about at least permitting treatment for the doctors and nurses who are risking their lives every day (and dying) and don’t in many cases even have proper protective clothing? Dressing nurses in bin bags is itself another disgrace.

    ‘Safe’ in the sense that all drugs have some side effects which are taken into account in their use.

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Martin R.

      Interesting that the medical profession in the UK apparently deems it safe enough to have 40,000 health care workers, including doctors, take hydroxychloroquine prophylactically:
      https://www.trialsitenews.com/univ-of-oxford-led-copcov-the-largest-international-covid-19-clinical-trial-assesses-use-of-hydroxychloroquine-on-40k-frontline-healthcare-staff/

      Univ. of Oxford-led COPCOV the Largest International COVID-19 Clinical Trial Assesses use of Hydroxychloroquine on 40K Frontline Healthcare Staff
      Mar 31, 2020 | Coronavirus, COVID-19, Hydroxychloroquine, Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit,

      The University of Oxford plans a large-scale clinical trial to test the use of Hydroxychloroquine on up to 40,000 healthcare participants at between 50 to 100 sites. Hydroxychloroquine has been touted by, among others, U.S. President Donald Trump as a ‘game changer,’ and the prestigious UK institution now will assess the evidence based on a randomized controlled trial. Does Hydroxychloroquine help treat SARS-CoV-2? This University of Oxford-based team aims to find out.

      Background

      The “COPCOV” study will be led by scientists from the University of Oxford while funding originates from the Wellcome Trust. The study will pool resources of international experts across multiple continents. COPCOV represents the largest interventional COVID-19 trial in the world involving up to 40,000 frontline healthcare workers.

      They are also running a second series of trials, called the RECOVERY project, treating COVID patients with hydroxychloroquine.

    • Mark
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      I would like to hear a lot more about how the various drug trials are progressing around the world – and also that the NHS is keeping up to date with them rather than waiting for its inevitably slow double blind randomised trials. At the moment the case load is still well within NHS capacity, so there is little incentive to be able to shorten treatment. Many of those who end up in ICU are suffering other conditions that have the potential to end their lives, so it becomes a question of which bullet is deemed to have killed the patient.

  35. ed2
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    They are only testing people at deaths door, that is why high death rate.
    In Germany it is 0.5% officially and probably more like 0.1% in reality.

  36. Peter van LEEUWEN
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    On the plus side:
    This morning, a bunch of flowers were delivered to each of the (8000?) houses in our Dutch village, a gift from cooperating churches. Lilies for Easter, a kind thought.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Well they couldn’t sell them, so why not?

  37. Data Please
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    “we were told the higher number included deaths from earlier days”

    I assume that the plank responsible for simply dumping deaths with known dates onto the latest date has been fired for negligence likely to induce public panic and mislead Govt.

    Garbage In, Garbage Out.

    No wonder the recent death rates didn’t appear to be following the new cases trend (accounting for crude lag).

    It didn’t make sense.

    At least I can postpone digging the bunker in the garage floor for a while.
    (BTW: The Govt owes me a pick axe)

    We have enough problems with the weird fluctuations in the Scottish data, (due to reported issues), without another avenue being added to that type of farce.

    Normally a fair amount of effort is put into data cleansing before it gets anywhere near interpretation.

    Senior Execs get a bit uppy if they’re given unreliable data and interpretation.

    From a relatively recent NHS patient perspective, I noticed a fair degree of paperwork being used, which surprised me at the time, considering I can track parcels on my phone thesedays.

    If I had any criticism of the frontline treatment process it did appear to have communication issues.

    Patients get spooked when someone walks in and says “Have you had your “Big Long Latin Word” injection this morning ?”

    I wonder if the Data problems that are leaking out is due to such as:

    – Digital Systems being updated from Paper Documentation, with all the inherent transcribing issues
    – NHS legacy systems not communicating with each other
    – Paper rather than Digital Reporting structures (maybe even via Messenger bikes, Post etc)

    Could one of the issues be, that Digital Acquisition, Interpretation and Reporting, puts Admin Management tiers at risk ? (Asking for a friend)

    I fear theres a lot of Chickens Coming Home to Roost due to this crisis.

    Disclaimer:
    Anyone taking the interpretations of the data and the opinion above, as anything other than the ramblings of an idiot, is a fool.

  38. concerned
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    We went in to lock down on the basis of figures of 500.000 deaths, which was revised down by the same people to 20.000 and now 5.300, parelling normal flu season deaths. So why, Sir John, are we still on lockdown and why has parliament not been recalled?

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      …because they don’t know what to do?

      This is what comes of being in the EU for all those years and not having to take major decisions nor take responsibility for them, but merely to enact what was dictated from above. Noone seems to display any leadership, boldness, or charisma, nor does anyone seem to have the wit to distinguish the genuine scientific experts from the others. Too much in awe of statistics bandied around, and apparently unable to apply common sense to the problem.

      If you shutdown the economy as the government has, the effects are going to be catastrophic. Where was the cost benefit analysis of adopting this policy? Where was the rigorous scrutiny of the modellers’ projections? Nowhere, apparently. Our government apparently succumbed to the shock and awe tactics of the modellers, and with devastating consequences which are swiftly becoming apparent.

  39. Faked Again
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    The politicians need to come clean and tell us what they want?

    No more small business? No gatherings of people? Ban alcohol and tobacco? We have to ask permission to be let out? Communist and collectivist thinking?

    Two thirds of the world remain free. We are no longer in the free world.

  40. formula57
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Providing for relevant, accurate, timely, complete data that yields information upon which management decisions can be made during a pandemic ought to have been part of the planning preparations surely? Has Public Health England (doubtless joined by others) failed again?

  41. Ian @Barkham
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I am also an avid viewer on the daily briefing.

    However, have come to realize the UK Cobra briefing is aired completely on TV by the BBC by a wee Scots Lassie that has been given the full outcome ahead of the rest of in the UK.

    This suddenly makes the you Government going on air pointless. Presumably the only people needing to catch up are those on an ego trip asking dumb unanswerable questions

  42. Everhopeful
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Is this a strangely balanced article by the BBC?
    Or is it a huge back-pedal?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51979654

  43. Ian @Barkham
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    These televised briefings don’t inform or enlighten as to the true situation.

    Reporting on the last 24 hours isn’t the last 24 hours. Some of it is, yet some of it is from the previous 11 days or so. Then the figures are muddied further by deaths’ of those with Corvid and deaths of that because of Corvid – there is a massive difference in the meaning between the 2.

    The Government keeps repeating the mantra they will be guided by the science. Yet there is no real/true science behind their prophesies. Modeling things that are unknown is not a science it is just guessing with figures crossed. If this happens then maybe that’s the outcome, guesswork, maybe an educated guess, but still a guess – science is verifiable.

    This Government is slipping into the trap of being seen to be inept from which there is no escape accept guaranteeing Starmer gets elected.

  44. DOMINIC
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    It’s now to the detriment of the UK that politicians are unable to tell it as it is, warts and all. And so they must think before expressing themselves to make sure they haven’t offended any special interest group or challenged the prevailing orthodoxy

    What a sad state of affairs when those we elect choose to impose silence upon the people and upon themselves

    The UK died in 1997 and now the British people have once more voted for more intervention in the shape of a party that’s been aping rancid Labour since 2010.

  45. cynic
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    From your analysis, it would seem that we have imperfect factual information about the extent of Covid-19 and its effects. On the other hand we can be more certain of the effects that the lockdown is having on the economy and peoples’ well being.

  46. The Prangwizard
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    It is pointless watching the press briefings. The three robots, particularly the middle one are always insufferable. We are forced to endure their repetition of mantra, their refusal to treat their audience and questioners with any respect, or the holding of intelligence. They look as if they have taken some mind altering drug which subdues their humanity before they come on. They look like robots and talk like them.

    The civil service mindset is that people like us, the ordinary ones cannot handle the truth and must not be allowed access to it.

  47. clive
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Good morning .
    This Government is like any other , in so much as it will release figures or data that it feels will meet the expectation of the populous . At the moment to keep us at home the figures will in my view, be manipulated to carry off the justification . The fear factor has to be maintained.
    Therefore the data has to fit the criteria of the day.Needless to say any deaths related figures due to this C19 outbreak are awful large ,or small .
    So in short we will never know the true figures from the data . We must all try an glean what is, and is not, accurate ,or probable, just as we do regarding the figures for migration , housing, rough sleeping, budgets, etc, etc . Remember us mere mortals are nothing more than mushrooms , growing better if left in the dark and fed on , well you know . Happy Easter .

  48. a-tracy
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    As you say John, if our news channels are commenting on the statistics they must be accurate. Reported deaths aren’t the same as actual daily deaths. I’d like to know how many other people died yesterday, we don’t know these figures on a daily basis, how does this number compare with an average over the previous three to five years?

    PPE, wouldn’t this be better reported regionally, have some deliveries gone to regions that don’t need them yet who could wait for the next fresh stocks to arrive? It’s not difficult if re-deliveries are required to be collected and re-delivered. How much ppe is each hospital using each day presently for what number of staff/patients – what is enough?

    How many people are in each hospital today being treated for cv19?
    How many are on ventilators out of how many ventilators that hospital has to utilise?
    How many died today?
    How many doctors nurses carers are on front line duty today treating these patients?
    How much ppe did they use today?

    Ps also why did Kenny Dalgleish get tested if he has no underlying symptoms for cv19?

  49. Everhopeful
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Apparently kids are now terrified of going to school!
    Govt. laid the terror on too thickly…with a b***great trowel?
    What are they going to do about THAT??
    Was their model and response based entirely on “La Peste”?

  50. Peter Wood
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    PLEASE ask the home secretary to reign-in (at least give them better guidance) these overbearing police that unnecessarily limit our freedoms. Send them home and stop wasting time harassing decent citizens taking a walk or sitting in the sun.

    It’ll soon be ‘papieren bitter!’

  51. Fred H
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    My comments echoed about PHE in the DT today…..

  52. Ed M
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Great article, thank you

  53. peter soakel
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    In this present time of instant mobile communications where everyone has a handheld computer it is surprising that data cannot be collected, assessed and disseminated with total transparency. By the way, we are still waiting to see Prof. Ferguson’s c code upon which his models were based and in turn H.M. Gov. based all the decisions on.{WHICH WE HAVE PAID A PRETTY PENNY FOR ALREADY}

    • Zorro
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      An interesting lack of inquisitiveness by the government, wouldn’t you agree?

      Zorro

    • Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      I would LOVE to see the Great Professors C code. I used to be a C programmer, before I became a systems analyst. I bet someone has added in the telephone number somewhere just for fun! Only explanation really…

  54. Anonymous
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Why were the BBC blaming Britain for migrants suffering in France ?

  55. Lester Beedell
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I’m scarcely able to believe the breath Breathtaking of Robert Jenrick, I cannot see Newark voting Tory again, apparently his mansion isn’t his primary residence but It’s his £2 million town house in Westminster, is he totally devoid of common sense?

    What a gift for labour, at a difficult time like this Ministers should not only be extra careful but be seen to be careful, he should get the sack immediately and made an example of

    • Lester Beedell
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Arrogance!

    • MWB
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Why is Jenrick still in post RAAB ?
      Can’t you sack him ?
      If you can’t, then get Johnson to do it.

  56. TooleyStu
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    CONGRATULATIONS Fellow Inmates.
    *
    If you are reading this you are one of the 99.987% who didn’t wake up dead from cv 19.
    *
    (calcs below from http://www.worldmeters.info)
    uk = 132/mill fatalities =
    132/1000000 = 0.000132 x 100 = 0.132 -100 = 99.987 % not dead

    Tooley Stu

    • APL
      Posted April 12, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      TooleyStu: “99.987 % not dead”

      Of which, 100% are under house arrest.

  57. Original Chris
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Your last para is the crux of the matter: accurate data of deaths actually from COVID-19, and not from other conditions.

    Furthermore, the need for accuracy couldn’t have been more clearly demonstrated by the wild predictions from some of the modellers. Apparently the Imperial College modellers admitted in an interview that they did not account for the expected deaths in a normal year among the elderly from flu and preexisting conditions. Thus the figures that came out of the models represented the gross figure for deaths, and included in with the Corona deaths those of the elderly who would have died anyway from flu and preexisting conditions. No wonder they came up with such inflated, and thus grossly inaccurate, figures, and no wonder they revised them downwards very swiftly after this admission during a television interview.

    The problem is that the government apparently based its CV disease control strategy on these inflated figures from Imperial College, and the media used them to generate hysteria porn and frighten the living daylights among many elderly people, particularly those living on their own.

    Dr Birx, who is on the White House task force, commented on these modellers:
    “The predictions of the models don’t match the reality on the ground in either China, South Korea, or Italy. We’re about 5x the size of Italy. If we were Italy, and you did those divisions, Italy should have close to 400k deaths. They’re not close to achieving that.”

    She also indicated her incredulity at how the modellers could seriously predict 500,000 deaths in the UK, and suddenly reduce it to 20,000. She tactfully put it like this:
    “If you remember that was the report that said there would be 500K deaths in the UK And 2.2M deaths in the US. They adjusted that number in the UK to 20K. Half a million to 20,000. We are looking into this in great details to understand that adjustment.” – Dr. Birx

    Yes, Sir John, it is vital that accurate data is obtained, and there has to be rigorous scrutiny of the accuracy (or otherwise) of data used in modelling, otherwise “Garbage in, garbage out” applies.

  58. MikeP
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Toby Young has tweeted today some charts that show a not dissimilar spike in deaths around this time of year, every year, suggesting just what you say that a large majority of deaths are replacements for deaths that would have occurred anyway. We need comparative stats for deaths for flu, cancer, heart and lung conditions for prior years.

  59. forthurst
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    “Coronavirus (COVID-19): scaling up our testing programmes”

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-scaling-up-testing-programmes/coronavirus-covid-19-scaling-up-our-testing-programmes

    “Public Health England (PHE) has already done world-beating work on testing, working with key international partners to design and deliver the first UK COVID-19 diagnostic test, rolling it out faster than any other novel UK test in recent history. We are ahead of most European countries for testing at this point, and we have undertaken one of the highest number of tests in Europe, after Italy, Spain and Germany.”

    Nowhere in this document is there a plan to use testing to contain this epidemic by following up positive tests in the population with contact tracing. What does testing achieve of itself apart from that of NHS workers whose treatment by the DHSC so far has been a disgrace? Is the compilation of more accurate statistics the be-all and end-all of the government’s farcical response to this epidemic? What is the point of the lockdown if it is not coupled with a plan to bring this epidemic under control after the lockdown has been lifted?

    Compare the lack of a plan from the government with the sophisticated and comprehensive response by South Korea on containment:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_coronavirus_pandemic_in_South_Korea

    • Fred H
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      and the PHE claim is unsubstantiated nonsense. Head in the sand ‘how could anybody challenge our ability, we are PHE’.

      • glen cullen
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        Three cheers for the PHE

        Give them all a pay rise

  60. steve
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Cant speak for others, but I for one am getting sick and tired of biased journalists incessantly trying to do government down with attempts to discredit those doing a pretty good job under the circumstances.

    Now is not the time for questioning authority, let Dominic Raab et al get on with things.

    I watch the daily briefings to be informed by my government, I’m not interested in what the journalists have to say.

    • Andy
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Now is precisely the time to question people in authority. People have literally died because Johnson / Cummings failed. And on a daily basis more die and more lose their jobs while the incompetent elected by less than half of voters fail in their duties.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        It was surely the incompetent pandemic planners that failed – under the dire Hunt, May & Hammond!

  61. Iain Moore
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I find it odd for the Government to put out these misleading figures, when, like Matt Hancock this morning on the BBC’s Today programme , he got verbally beaten up by Mishal Husain for yesterday’s record announcement of deaths the previous day.

    The CEBM Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine does seek to properly apportion CV deaths to the correct day

    https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/covid-19-death-data-in-england-update-9th-april/

    Why do it? Why mislead us? I just don’t understand it, to put it crudely, are they saving up deaths to be used to scare us, to keep us abiding by the lockdown rules on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend? I also find it very odd that the MSM are happily going along with it. They seem to have had an inquisitiveness bypass.

    The whole information, and the use of information technology is a complete utter mess. The Government hasn’t seen fit to keep us informed about CV hotspots so we can take preventative measures, its more a case of being fobbed of with general and incorrect information, when information technology could be such a powerful tool to help us beat the virus. If we are ever going to come out of this we are going to need information technology to help us keep the virus at bay.

    Guys and St Thomas’s Hospitals are trying to track the spread of the virus with an app

    http://www.guysandstthomasbrc.nihr.ac.uk/2020/03/25/c-19-app-launched-to-track-the-symptoms-of-coronavirus/

    Its a small effort with currently 2.2 million people involved, but it could be so much more useful if a national scheme was launched.

  62. John Probert
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    The Government needs to be brave and show leadership
    We are at about peak over the next few days

    We need a phased release in 3 weeks for those that are low risk

    The lockdown is not sustainable and brings no longterm solutions

    • ed2
      Posted April 12, 2020 at 1:36 am | Permalink

      Posted April 11, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
      The Government needs to be brave and show leadership
      We are at about peak over the next few days

      >
      What, just like we peaked this time in 2019, 2018, 2017 infact every year? All at roughly the same level? Come on, read Hitchens articles before you post on here,

  63. outsider
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John,
    You are right. The reaction to the virus has followed the textbook response of acute hospitals, police, fire and ambulances to any big emergency, including natural disasters, accidents and bombs that cause many casualties, supplemented in the case of disease by epoidemic modelling.
    That is right and proper but when an epidemic has prolonged economic or social consequences, it is up to politicians to take a wider view: hence the massive financial support measures. It should now be widened much further.
    I would like to see one of the flanking desks at daily press conferences filled by the National Statistician , who needs to have an input and responsibility for an area where the NHS and PHE are evidently weak. Yesterday the Chief Nurse gave the same irrelevant excuse over deaths of health workers as the NHS had initially given on overall death figures. We also need some high-grade risk analysis.
    In a standard emergency, the proper job of everyone else is to keep out of the professionals’way and not make things worse. But this led, for instance, to neglect of the care sector.
    We now need more focus on how to equip ordinary folk to alleviate prolonged disruption to their lives. Ministers should not, for instance hide behind the mantra “we are following the science” when the relevant scientists say “there is no evidence that …” , which means there is no science.

    • Mark
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      I note that 1.4 million people work in the NHS. That’s about 2% of the population. Approximately 15% of deaths are among those of working age. On that basis, you would expect (~10,000 x 2% x 15%) 30 deaths of people working for the NHS if they had similar risk profiles. There would be quite a margin of error around that estimate. If deaths were substantially larger than this there would be grounds for concern. The government reports 19 deaths so far. Several are people who generously came back to work long after they would have retired, into their 70s and at high risk.

      • anon
        Posted April 12, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        Certain vaccination (like for TB ) may give some protection against Covid-19.
        Do front line staff get any other vaccinations which would help to reduce the vulnerability.

        This may be a consideration with data comparisons across countries.

        Are they using HCQ to prevent reduce infection? or other unofficial methods as they are forbidden?

  64. Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    The herd immunity ploy is obviously the most efficient and, in the long run , arguably the most humane solution to combating coronavirus because the number of deaths and quantity of general misery, both physical and psychological, from the present course of action may be greater than those which would have occurred from the herd immunity ploy.

    With herd immunity the actuality might be very painful in the short term, but the experience of the likes of Sweden suggests it is no worse in terms of death and much better in terms of not subjecting the population to great privation and keeping the economy going.

    There is also no obvious exit point with the present policy. Suppose the situation has not changed after 12 weeks locked down, period that the government has suggested may be required. Does the government keep on with lockdown interminably to 16 weeks, 20 weeks and so on? (That probably could not happen because there is a limit to what even a country with a great borrowing record like the UK can actually borrow.)

    Does anyone honestly believe that it is practical politics to keep millions of people locked away for months on end ? As it is we are are asking many people at present to undergo a form of psychological torture. Imagine how extreme circumstances can be, for example, a family of 3 or four living in one room in a B and B. It is inhuman.
    There is also a serious question mark over the number of which deaths can be wholly or solely attributed to the coronavisrus, for example, there are suggestions that many of the deaths which are going into the daily count are not due to coronavirus being the primary cause but rather acting as the last straw which broke the camel’s back.

    To get a clear picture of what is happening we need answers to these questions for every claimed coronavisrus death:

    1. How old was the patient?

    2. What was the cause of death given on the death certificate?

    3. What other illnesses and disabilities did the patient have?

    4. What treatment did the patient receive in the 24 hours prior to their death?

    5. Where did they die, for example, in hospital or outside of hospital?

    6. Had the patient stated that they did not wish to be resuscitated?

    • SM
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      I agree with every sentence you have written. It seems to me that virtually the whole world has gone insane.

      Actions taken that are driven by panic are more than likely to cause long-term harm, and that is what we are likely to see across the world. I hope the MSM and every troublemaker on Twitter etc who have fanned the flames get burned themselves.

  65. Dunc.
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Do you understand that flattening the curve means more deaths not less?
    The virus lasts in the population for longer.
    Flattening the curve is only about limiting hospital admissions.
    Get a grip man.

  66. Yossarion
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Why are We still letting in International flights when We are advised to stay at home?

    • Mark
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Would you rather that urgent medical supplies travel by slow boat?

  67. glen cullen
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Daily covid-19 briefing 11th April -summary
    Home Office…we’re doing a great job don’t criticise us
    Police Service…we’ll enforce regulations don’t criticise us
    Public Health England… look at the graphs don’t criticise us
    MSM….we’ll ask the most irrelevant general questions don’t criticise us

    These briefings are becoming an embarrassment to watch

  68. Mark
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    NHS England provide figures for deaths attributed back to the day of death, rather than the day on which it was recorded and attributed here:

    https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/

    The daily updates are still showing occasional deaths from as far back as March 25th being newly included. The data tend to show only a small proportion from the immediately previous day. For deaths reported on 11th April they show

    Earlier 12
    1 Apr 9
    2 Apr 13
    3 Apr 17
    4 Apr 28
    5 Apr 32
    6 Apr 49
    7 Apr 61
    8 Apr 161
    9 Apr 325
    10 Apr 115
    Total reported 822

    Deaths of patients who have died in hospitals in England and had tested positive for Covid-19 at time of death. All deaths are recorded against the date of death rather than the day the deaths were announced.

    So we are looking backwards through a rear view mirror with the biggest focus on about two days previously. I doubt that we will manage to improve the clarity and timeliness significantly, and there are many factors that influence the timeliness of reports – at the moment the Easter weekend will inevitably mean fewer staff processing them, so we can expect some catch-up on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. However, I doubt that the passing of the peak is really all that crucial in terms of timing and the nature of release from lockdown. The medics and epidemiologists would have us stay cooped up until we are well on the downslope.

    It is my understanding that the lockdown became necessary because there was insufficient appreciation of the need for social distancing and isolation of those with symptoms and their contacts in order to be able to contain the spread. This was at its most obvious in London, where Mayor Khan encouraged packed tubes and buses instead of thinking radically about how to break possible chains of infection from myriad random encounters. Once the lockdown has been in effect for long enough that those who share the same household have had the chance to pass on any disease caught asymptomatically, and for the others to go through any disease they may have contracted from others in their household the lockdown will have broken the chains of infection, except among those who interact as key workers while going about their work, and any who are careless about maintaining adequate social distancing when shopping etc.

    Once we have achieved a high degree of islanding of infections it becomes possible to think about using tracing and quarantine to limit spread. The key here is to limit the number of contacts to make tracing easy, with rapid enforcement of quarantine of contacts once someone is identified as an infected case. We can do better by encouraging those who work together to shop together (arrange for particular workgroups to have a half day to go shopping during the week to avoid overcrowding in stores and to reduce risks of cross-infection into other groups; share the half-days across firms via e.g. a council run billboard website to ensure the load is spread across the week) and to commute together – a car share with the same co-worker is so much better than public transport for limiting spread. We could permit those who work in teams that require closer contact to do so, so long as they maintain the same small team doing so. I read that this can be a problem e.g. in abattoirs, where it may take a team of 3-4 in close proximity to deal with large carcasses. With most contacts identifiable before they even take place, because they occur in the workplace or the home, rapid notification of the need for quarantine can be achieved without the need for fancy technology based solutions that depend on everyone carry a working mobile phone, etc..

    Something else that emerges from the geographic data is that there is an enormous difference in the numbers of cases per million population – a statistic that NHS England/PHE really should be publishing at the UTLA level. NHS Wales has a nice table if you click on the Local Authorities tab here:

    https://public.tableau.com/profile/public.health.wales.health.protection#!/vizhome/RapidCOVID-19virology-Public/Headlinesummary

    It shows infection rates varying between 3,262 per million in Newport, and 329 per million in Anglesey – a factor of 10 different. Similar variations occur across England, with more crowded London boroughs leading the list, and the shires showing the effects of better social distancing and less random contact. Looking at the local data across time, it is also clear that some of the less infected areas are now showing few new cases as the lockdown has almost eliminated spread. This clearly demonstrates that we will need measures to be more restrictive in areas where the infection risk remains high, yet where there is little excuse for maintaining them elsewhere. It will still mean restriction on inter-regional travel – it is notable that Cumbria is a high infection region, doubtless from visitors from high infection areas. Flying family visits where contact is very limited originating in areas of low infection may become acceptable.

    The most difficult to accommodate are those whose jobs normally bring them into close contact with many members of the public – for example hairdressers and dentists. In areas where infection risk remains higher there may be a need for clients to isolate before being served. In other areas, it may be a matter for more discretion.

    It disappoints me that while the government think the public can follow tens or hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations, they seem to think that they are only capable of following a two word “stay home” directive. We are going to have be much more clever than that. But it need not be very complex. It just needs some rational thought.

  69. Zorro
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Of course, the current ongoing installation of 5G infrastructure will immensely help in the future mass surveillance effort to continuously protect public health by keeping a track on a ll our movements….

    Zorro

  70. Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Two things worry me which have not been discussed so far:
    1. Epidemiologists 30 years go predicted the decimation of the population of Africa because of Aids. It has doubled.
    2. I am concerned that the ‘vaccine’ produced to counter Covid 19 will be seriously detrimental to the health of normal people. If having it is a condition of being released from house arrest, I will be here some time!

  71. TooleyStu
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    SJR, Ladies, Gents, other non specific denominations.

    Yet again I am amazed at your depth of understanding of the crisis.
    There is more sense and balance in the above words than I have heard from anyone in the past month.

    To be applauded, and more importantly… listened to.

    Tooley Stu

  72. ed2
    Posted April 12, 2020 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    John, Peter Hitchens is still trying to be polite, to give Hancock, Gove and all the power crazy loonies a chance to save face and climb down before it ends in world wide revolution (as we all know it will).

    • APL
      Posted April 12, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Italy was held up as the ‘bogyman’ in the Covid-19 pandemic. But they’ve now reviewed their death certs and of those that were classified as CoD Covid-19, 88% have been reclassified as another cause of death.

      Prof. Riccardi told The Telegraph.

      “The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus,”

      “On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 percent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 percent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many had two or three,”

      — Prof. Riccardi, advisor to Italian ministry of Health.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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