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Opinion

Claim that “1 in 3 people who have the virus have no symptoms” is a massive exaggeration – Prof Fenton

Norman Fenton is Professor in Risk Information Management at Queen Mary University of London and also a Director of Agena, a company that specialises in risk management for critical systems.

One of the major messages currently being pushed everywhere by the UK Government about COVID-19 is the claim that “1 in 3 people who have the virus have no symptoms”. In fact, if we trust the Government’s own data, this claim is massively exaggerated. The true figure – as we explain below – is more like 1 in 38*. Moreover, using data from
an ongoing study at Cambridge University (in which only people without symptoms are tested) we conclude that 96% of such people who test positive do not have the virus (i.e. they are mostly false positives).

https://probabilityandlaw.blogspot.com/2021/02/claim-that-1-in-3-people-who-have-virus.html

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News

Data showing rising cases before second lockdown quietly revised down – Telegraph

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data – which showed soaring coronavirus cases before the second lockdown – has been quietly revised down and now suggests that cases were largely plateauing at the time, it has emerged.

Many experts have complained that the data presented by the Government ahead of the lockdown was “riddled with errors” and exaggerated the need for a second lockdown, while Greg Clark, the chairman of the Commons science and technology committee, said the belated admission of errors was “of great concern”.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201208165734/https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/12/08/data-showing-rising-cases-second-lockdown-quietly-revised/

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Opinion

Official data is ‘exaggerating’ the risk of Covid and talk of a second wave is ‘misleading’, 500 academics tell Boris Johnson in open letter attacking lockdown – Daily Mail

Official data is ‘exaggerating’ the risk of Covid-19 and talk of a second wave is ‘misleading’, nearly 500 academics told Boris Johnson in open letter attacking lockdown.

The doctors and scientists said the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has become ‘disproportionate’ and that mass testing has distorted the risk of the virus.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8925427/Official-data-exaggerating-risk-Covid-500-academics-tell-Boris-Johnson.html

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News

Regulator criticises data used to justify lockdown – BBC

The government has been criticised by the official statistics watchdog for the way it presented data to justify England’s second lockdown.

The UK Statistics Authority highlighted the use of modelling at Saturday’s TV briefing showing the possible death toll from Covid this winter.

It said there needed to be more transparency about data and how predictions were being made.

The projections were out of date and over-estimated deaths, it has emerged…

It is understood the graph was used by the two senior advisers in meetings last week where the decision to impose a nationwide lockdown in England was made.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54831334

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News

Death forecast used to justify national lockdown is based on old stats and may be four times too high, scientists say – The Sun

Death toll forecasts used by the government as grounds for another nationwide lockdown are out-of-date and could be four times too high, experts have said.

A Downing Street press conference led by Boris Johnson on Saturday included data suggesting that England could be seeing up to 4,000 deaths each day by early December.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/13082035/death-forecast-national-lockdown-four-times-too-high/

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Publications

COVID-19 death rate is higher in European countries with a low flu intensity – Dr. Chris Hope, University of Cambridge

The death rate from COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Europe appears to be linked to low-intensity flu seasons in the past two years as the same people are vulnerable, says a working paper by Dr Chris Hope, Emeritus Reader in Policy Modelling at Cambridge Judge Business School.

https://insight.jbs.cam.ac.uk/2020/flu-and-coronavirus/

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News

Under 40s ‘more likely to die from a road accident than coronavirus’ – Metro

People under 50 are more likely to die suddenly because of an accident or injury than from coronavirus, a leading risk expert has said. Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter said people under 25 are more likely to die from flu or pneumonia, while under 40s have a greater risk of being killed in a road accident. The Cambridge University professor looked at the average risk for different age groups dying after contracting Covid-19 and compared it with the most recent yearly data from 2018.

https://metro.co.uk/2020/06/23/40s-likely-die-road-accident-coronavirus-12893218/

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News

School age children more likely to be hit by lightning than die of coronavirus, analysis finds – The Telegraph

School children under the age of 15 are more likely to be hit by lightning than die from coronavirus, new figures suggest, amid mounting pressure for the government to get more to get pupils back into classrooms as quickly as possible.

Scientists from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford have called for “rational debate” based on the “tiny” risk to children and have suggested that if no vaccine is found in the future then it may be better for younger people to continue with their lives, while shielding the more vulnerable.

It comes as the government was accused of “losing the plot” after Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, scrapped the Government’s target of getting all primary school pupils back in the classroom before the summer holidays

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News Videos

The government’s daily briefings are “not trustworthy communication of statistics” – Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, BBC

The government’s daily briefings on #Covid_19 are “not trustworthy communication of statistics” says Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter from the University of Cambridge