Presenting whatever COVID-19 data suits your agenda

The Sottish Government have admitted that their reported new COVID-19 infection rates were wrong and have now cut the headline numbers in two. 

Following the widely covered reports concerning of the accuracy of COVID-19 tests and how testing results are reported (often as 'cases'), especially with regard to false positive rates, more examples and evidence of bad reporting methods keep coming to light. 

The misleading science, hyperbolic messaging and mixed mass media reporting that has plagued COVID-19 since the first Neil Ferguson prediction has seriously undermined public trust. The increasing mistrust of how data is being presented raises all sorts of questions into how healthcare information can be misrepresented to suit any particular agenda. In turn, this asks further fundamental questions such as - how can a so-called 'Track and Trace' system be even considered when you do not know what you are actually tracking and tracing?

Misleading infection rate figures

On the 19th Oct the Scottish Government decided to change the way in which they were reporting the COVID-19 test positivity rate (NB by way of a blog!). In their headline report what they don't mention is that they have also stopped using the word "cases" for 'test positives', which I guess is some recognition at least that the inappropriate and frankly wrong use of the word "case" in the context used was utterly misleading, affecting people's lives and livelihoods - and causing unnecessary fear. 

Double testing

It has been found that as testing has increased, the same people have been tested on multiple occasions, as a result the "new infection rates" being reported were more than double the size that should have been reported. The Scottish report explains, "For example on 19 October the old positivity rate based on newly tested individuals was 17.1%, and the new test positivity rate was 6.4%". Well, yes, if you double-count the positives, you get double the rate!! Graph comparing the two methods included - below.

High levels of scepticism of monitoring the progress of COVID-19 by PCR testing and counting positive results as "cases" seems pretty widespread amongst many doctors. The false positives and considerations around how people get a test, and how many they get - or need is just causing further trust issues in the reported data.

Reporting COVID 19 Cases

Ooops - it's just happened again - Covid: Government defends statistics after death projections revised

Invasion by organisms that may be harmful, for example bacteria or parasites. Full medical glossary
Polymerase chain reaction, a technique that involves the isolation and analysis of genetic material or DNA. Full medical glossary