As the government is set to announce details of a second limited lockdown in England later today, some measurements by and signals from government beg questioning, asking if the data has been interpreted correctly.
The first question is has the way in which data was and is now measured changed, and if so, has any adjustment been applied to allow for changes.
Apples and Pears
During the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic the UK was only largely testing people reporting to hospitals. This limited testing segment, primarily due to a lack of resources overlooked infections in the wider general community. With testing now fairly comprehensive across communities, timeline comparisons seem flawed. It would seem reasonable to assume now that the peak in confirmed cases during April were reported being much lower than they were in reality, making current number comparisons look higher.
The testing process is also open to question as it targets areas of concern, where resources are being applied to hot spots.
Volumes of testing have also increased significantly, as have laboratories to process results. If the testing and processing of results has increased in volume and speed an adjustment would need to be made to the data outputs.
Hospital admissions have not risen in line with infections, which is a good thing. The infections are being reported as mostly with young people who ‘seem’ less prone to serious impact from the virus than older people. This does of course lead to an expectation that young people could pass the virus to older people, which may form part of the reaction from government.
The questions we pose doubtless are accounted for by the army of health and data professionals working alongside government.
The question then could be, does the government need to communicate more transparently and not leave public information so open to speculation.
Depending on how you interpret the data, and from where it is presented to you, will perhaps lead to another question, has Boris read the signals right or has he pressed the alarm bell early. His statement later today will hopefully shed some light. The hospitality industry needs it.
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