Early afternoon saw publication of columnist Sherelle Jacobs’ intensive slap-down – expose even! – of our government’s incompetence over the Covid-19 pandemic. Her report Second Wave Hysteria is Smokescreen for No 10’s Abysmal Failure starts after this strap-line ‘Perish the thought that Downing St Machiavellians prefer it that way‘ (emphases mine) :
‘Prime Minister slamming the brakes on lockdown easing. The highest number of daily cases in a month. Restrictions reimposed in the North of England. A ‘major incident’ declared in Manchester as cases surge. Scientists who previously advocated herd immunity now warning pubs may have to shut. You’d be forgiven for thinking the second wave was upon us.
‘But probe a little further, and you realise the public is being bombarded with potentially meaningless – if not outright misleading – numbers. We are being routinely deprived of the one basic figure that would give us a much clearer picture of the state of play: the number of Covid cases being picked up, adjusted for the number of tests done over time. As such a figure takes into account the increase in the testing being conducted across the country (Leicester has ramped up testing dramatically in a short space of time for example), it would give us a much better idea of whether Covid transmission is indeed spiralling out of control.
‘But as Prof Carl Heneghan wrote for Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine on Sunday, when you adjust the rise in people testing positive for changes in testing over time, it appears that the rate of cases in healthcare settings is dropping and the rate of cases in the community is flatlining rather than rising, as widely assumed. Even this may be an exaggerated picture, he claims, as false positives risk inflating case figures.
‘Underlying this academic confusion is an outrageous scandal. Let’s pause and take it in for a moment: more than half a year into this crisis, No 10 (and the media) is still allowing incomplete, poorly interpreted and potentially inaccurate data to be widely circulated, fuelling public hysteria…’ (click to continue reading).
By the way:
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