UK health and statistics authorities allegedly used 14 inconsistent ways to define fatalities.
Many who died early in the pandemic were never actually tested for the virus while others may have died from something else entirely, according to experts.
…The Oxford study, from 800 freedom of information requests, found some deaths were attributed to Covid just because a care home provider said so and coronavirus was rife.
The report stated: “At the beginning of the pandemic, Public Health England linked data on positive cases to the NHS central register of patients who died.
“This definition meant that a patient who tested positive would be counted as a Covid death even if they were run over by a bus several months later.”
Did official figures overestimate Britain’s grim Covid death toll?
It’s a question that has been asked persistently by medics and members of the public alike almost since the start of the pandemic.
…Last week, in the first of a series of special reports probing the science that has underpinned our pandemic response, The Mail on Sunday set about tackling the ongoing concerns that tests used to diagnose Covid were picking up people who were not actually infected.
The conclusion of some scientists was, yes, they did. And there were those who maintained that despite shortcomings, PCR swabs – used by millions – were accurate enough.
It has been one of the most enduring Covid conspiracy theories: that the ‘gold standard’ PCR tests used to diagnose the virus were picking up people who weren’t actually infected.
Some even suggested the swabs, which have been carried out more than 200 million times in the UK alone, may mistake common colds and flu for corona.
If either, or both, were true, it would mean many of these cases should never have been counted in the daily tally – that the ominous and all-too-familiar figure, which was used to inform decisions on lockdowns and other pandemic measures, was an over-count.
And many of those who were ‘pinged’ and forced to isolate as a contact of someone who tested positive – causing a huge strain on the economy – did so unnecessarily.
Such statements, it must be said, have been roundly dismissed by top experts. And those scientists willing to give credence such concerns have been shouted down on social media, accused of being ‘Covid-deniers’, and even sidelined by colleagues.
But could they have been right all along?
Up to a third of people who tested positive for coronavirus by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests were not contagious and did not need to self-isolate, a new study suggests.
Research led by academics from the University of Oxford found that many laboratories are setting the positivity bar very low, meaning they are picking up people who are “a danger to no one”.
…However, Freedom of Information requests made by members of the public and compiled by the University of Oxford show that NHS trusts are using vastly different cut-off thresholds, with little regulation from the Government. Some are as low as 25, while others are as high as 45.
The figures also show that between 23 and 37 per cent of people who were told they were positive had a cycle threshold value above 30. For one in 20, it was higher than 40.