Analysis comment

Watch: Tories try to con UK by showing care-home deaths as another COUNTRY – and that’s not the biggest con

Language framing mortality chart also deeply misleading – to make UK look like norm by dismissing countries that responded properly as ‘outliers’

One of the telling passages in an appalling daily press briefing this evening was, for a change, not in the Tories’ inability to answer even innocuous questions honestly, but in the main presentation – which showed a government so desperate to hide the scale of its guilt that it effectively showed the UK’s elderly as a separate country in its mortality chart.

Two UKs

Rather than show a single, cumulative line on the chart for UK deaths – a line that would put this country well ahead of the supposedly worst-hit European countries Spain and Italy – the Tories are now showing two UKs.

One shows hospital-only deaths – which allows the Tories to claim the UK is roughly on the same trajectory as Spain and Italy. And a new line – when every other line on the chart is a separate country – shows the ‘other’ UK: miles behind the ‘main’ line.

But significantly above the path of Spain and Italy:

Two UK’s make for a misleading chart


And that’s not the only – nor even the most – misleading part of the presentation. As usual, the countries that have seen few deaths are described as ‘outliers’ – while the UK, Spain, Italy and France, which have seen huge death tolls are ‘the middle of the pack’.

But an ‘outlier’ must be less numerous than the ‘main body’ of results:

If it’s not less numerous, it’s not an outlier – and on the government’s chart, there are four countries with low deaths and four countries in the supposed ‘middle’.

The low-death countries are not ‘outliers’ – they are the countries that responded properly and followed the World Health Organisation plan from the beginning.

Versus the countries that did not.

The UK had at least 2 weeks’ warning of the scale of the threat that Spain and Italy did not. Two weeks to prepare even if no preparations had been made in the two months when the virus was coming toward us.

But the UK is not in ‘the middle of the pack’. It is one of the countries that completely mishandled its response – just not quite as badly as Trump:

Shocking reality

And the shocking reality is that the UK is far above Italy, France and Spain. The minimum number of care home deaths as of today is thought to be around 7,500-8,000. If those deaths were included on the government’s chart, here’s where the UK would be:

But those countries that do properly measure their care-home deaths – including France, Spain, Italy and Belgium – all find that deaths in hospital are roughly equal to deaths in care homes.

In other words, if the UK is on a par with every other country that measures – and if there’s any difference, the arrogance and slowness of the Tories mean it will only be worse – then the UK’s total of around 16,500 deaths is only half of the real death toll.

And that puts the UK far above any other country apart from the US:

Boris Johnson’s slack, malignant response to a crisis everyone else knew was coming has cost many thousands of lives – and will cost many more.

‘Slightly less appalling than Trump’ is cold comfort to the families of the bereaved – and now we hear that Johnson and Trump plan to ‘coordinate’ their excuse for a response to the pandemic.

God help us all.

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  1. Deaths per thousand or per million of population should be quoted when comparing one country with another.
    The US has five times our population and only 2 1/2 times our deaths.
    That means BloJob isn’t even as competent as Trunt.

    1. The comparison of the USA and UK is distorted somewhat by the US being 37 times the size of the UK. This means that the population is generally less dense — except in the big cities, of course, where the death toll has been huge. New York is tightly packed and high rise, whereas L.A. is more spread out and generally low-rise — hence more deaths in the former city. It would take something like huge numbers of tightly packed army barracks, all over the US, to give an equivalent death rate to that of the UK. Notably, this did happen, during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, when 670,000 Americans died. You’re right, of course, that The Fat Boy has screwed up, probably more so than his orange friend (who hasn’t gone into hiding).

    2. Population density is one of many known factors that require consideration and planning appropriate to each individual country, region, city, town, village and rural area.
      A small rural dormitory community with only one bus a day, one pub and a post office might be as vulnerable as a big city with a metro – and if it’s in the travel-to-work area of one or more conurbations it might even be a superspreader.
      There are many knowable differences that can be compensated for, but only if the system of government values preparedness for maximum survival over profit.

  2. People including present and retired medical & nursing staff are ALL being kept out of NHS hospitals. Care & Nursing Home residents & patients are being kept out of NHS hospitals. Someone directly or indirectly has SET and INSISTED on the criteria for admissions leading to the above. 🌹🌹🌹

  3. Yet despite the underlying callous herd immunity strategy, the duplicitousness, the gross incompetence, and most of all the massive fatalities (indeed, far worse than any other European country and having had more time to prepare), there is no challenge, not from the MSM, not from Labour. Just a little bemusement here and there, but hey…no BLAME! It’s truly bizarre. On the radio tonight I heard Andy Burnham saying that Hancock was trying hard and should be cut a bit of slack. I could hardly believe my ears. Have the Tories pumped large amounts of sedative into the water supply?

    1. Did not hear Andy Burnham, but i would have believed my ears. Did they cut Jeremy any slack? The government briefings farce are intended to mislead. One needs only listen to the responses re failing to test, screen and trace arrivals. 🌹🌹🌹

      1. Signpostwindchimes…Andy Burnham is not a bad man lacking in humanity.Hes just a typical product of new Labour completely out of his depth and unable to compute what is obvious to any observer.He probably can’t believe how far hes got for a lost lad from Lancashire.

  4. Surly there must be a legal case against the Government if not several . fake accounts . deliberately misleading the people on a daily basis if not one for the NHS victims that have been little mire than cannon fodder for this criminally inept at best government ,,, cant someone crowd fund to find a barrister to represent their families ?

    1. Terry Alderman, to think that this is what the MSM enabled by their gross crime of failing to hold TEN + years of Tory governments to account. Instead the spent intense time and energy trawling through who Jeremy greeted with his usual politeness, or 12 year old reprints of books‼️

      The Boris Johnson Tory MYTHS of competence are exposed for even the determinedly blind can see‼️ Figure out this example. Don’t sunbathe in your garden. Oh no. Waltz in from any bat cave rife with Covid-19, straight through Heathrow. Not a temperature check. Nothing, No details taken. No questions asked. No quarantine. But don’t you dare sunbathe in your own garden or sit on a park bench. They are having a callous laugh‼️

    2. Terry the government do not need get out of jail cards.They
      are not stupid and have planned well ahead with the disposal and removal of the economically non viable population.You are correct when you point to criminal non government and answering to the courts.We can only rely on the outlier press like the squawk box to show the way Analysis and fake incompetence did not get the fascist Nazis anywhere other than hanging for crimes against humanity in Nuremberg.

  5. More patients turned away than treated at NHS Nightingale due to nurse shortage

    London’s NHS Nightingale Hospital has been forced to reject dozens of coronavirus patient transfers due to a shortage of staff. Despite being built to include around 4,000 bed capacity, the temporary facility set-up to combat the Covid-19 pandemic had only provided care for 41 people up until Monday. About 50 patients in need of ‘life and death’ treatment have been turned away. Plans to transfer more than 30 seriously ill patients from other hospitals in the capital collapsed due to ‘staffing issues’, according to NHS documents seen by the Guardian. A member of staff at the site in the ExCel centre said there are plenty of doctors and other staff but not enough critical care nurses, who are already being ‘run ragged’ in hospitals across the capital.

    Read more:

  6. Totally unpredictable nurse shortage makes white elephant of amazing Tory showpiece hospital – wow, nobody could have anticipated that.
    Poor Boris is having a run of bad luck, like his Garden Bridge project.
    All his brilliant ideas keep being undermined by shortsighted, shiftless underlings like Hancock.

  7. In fact that chart has a Western European bias. Internationally, the UK is an outlier in that it is one of the worst hit countries for Covid19, either in absolute or on a per-capita basis. Ex communist, tropical and southern hemisphere countries are not badly affected in general. Vietnam hasn’t a single death associated with Covid19 despite a population approaching 90 million. Whilst there may be questions regarding reliability of data in some of those cases, this isn’t the case for Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Australasia or the Scandinavian countries non of which are included in the chart.

  8. Well isnt it not suprising that the Torys have resorted to the anciant trick of de..humaniising and separating a section of the population they wish to be rid of..So the germans did it to the jews and the British did it to the Irish and English Catholics(Papist)and now the aged,vunerable are outsiders,or outliers..So very typical because its the standard trick of the fascist to isolate demean and foster hatred.The conservative and unionist party broadcasts for all fellow fanatics in solidarity with the Nu Labour and the knight led laughably described as THE OPPOSITION “..I do think that one day they must answer the charges in the international courts.Murder is murder even State sanctioned,we learnt that many years ago and the jackboots are alive and well sheltering in the establishment.partys and that includes The nu Labour .and its leadership.

  9. There are 195 countries in the world. It’s quite telling that the 5 worse in terms of deaths are the one they used for the graph…

    In official deaths, we are the 5th worse affected. This means 190 countries in the world are doing better.

  10. The FT has come out with a 40k-ish estimate of total deaths in the UK now. Can’t get much more mainstream then that – when will the BBC catch up:

    “already caused as many as 41,000 deaths in the UK, according to a Financial Times analysis of the latest data from the Office for National Statistics. … more than double the official figure of 17,337 released by ministers on Tuesday

    David Spiegelhalter, the Winton professor of public understanding of risk at Cambridge university, said it [ONS data] was “the only unbiased comparison” given the problems measuring deaths and their causes.”

    This article is not behind the FT paywall so free to read:

    1. I’m not sure how the FT comes up with that figure. But, there again, journalists aren’t great at proper investigation these days.

      As a rough calculation, using ONS data, up until 10th April, there were some 16,000 cumulative deaths above the average for the previous three ‘normal’ years (i.e excluding the high mortality of 2018) in which there was no coronavirus. That would be the maximum excess that could be reasonably attributed to the virus above and beyond the usual factors – not so far off the official figure.

      Including 2018, would, of course lower that difference – but you would come up with much the same figure for the above-average ‘flu deaths of 2018 when 2020 was excluded from a mean calculation.

      Not all exaggeration is by official sources.

      1. They say they have extrapolated forward from the latest ONS data for April 10 to April 21 mirroring more recent NHS data changes onto the care home and home deaths:

        “The FT’s analysis has extrapolated these figures using the latest trends in the daily hospital deaths assuming the relationship between these and total excess deaths remained stable, as it has so far over the course of the pandemic.

        Using this calculation, a conservative estimate of UK excess deaths by April 21 was 41,102.”

        Simple forward extrapolation seems a reasonable simple approach for the 11 days. You’d expect care home and home deaths to roughly mirror hospital – in fact as they are generally older people without the benefit of treatment learning (improvements) in the NHS you might expect more growth there.

      2. rwendland – Thanks for that. I think you’ve identified the reasons for such an unlikely figure :

        1. They’ve used the partial data of hospital deaths
        2. They’ve used assumptions about Coronovirus attribution
        3. They’ve projected forward – which isn’t at all simple – it depends upon assumptions about future trends, and if you start with flawed data, the margins of error become rapidly wider and wider.

        To put it in perspective – if I projected forward even the best available data at Week 15, I would come up with a horrendous increase in mortality. If I used Week 13, the reverse would be the case – a totally unexceptional figure.

        When I first tried a statistical exercise focusing on predicting a future trend, I was amazed at how rapidly upper and lower error margins diverged.

      3. I don’t know – I’m not going to run the numbers. If fact I don’t think the FT article gives enough base numbers to check their extrapolation. Plus I think they have both England&Wales numbers and UK numbers in the mix, so it needs some careful number work. (I think they map E&W pre-April 10 ONS/NHS rations onto UK numbers.)

        But they include a graph with the pre Apr 10 firm numbers showing NHS/carehome/home split and their extrapolation beyond to Apr 21, and visually it looks pretty plausible.

  11. The Covid-19 outbreak has proved fertile ground for crap data and statistics, which are used selectively to bolster particular arguments. Long spoons are needed. For clarity :

    The only reasonable overall gauge of what is happening is ‘all cause’ mortality, since the role of the virus in causing death is unclear, and the virus is known to discriminate on grounds of age, class and ethnicity (even though the government’s public ‘information’ trails portray it dishonestly as an indiscriminate killer across the board). The figure for hospital deaths (let alone individual cases) and infection rates are far from reliable indicators of the whole picture.

    Problems : reliable data has a time lag. Comparisons between countries are confused by a welter of variables; the age gradient of mortality (and thus the effect on different populations is massively significant; lack of adequate tests makes it impossible to define with certainty the extent of infection … and this is just a start.

    So, falling back on the only reasonably (if indirect) accurate measure of what is happening, the situation is (given the time lag in collecting data):

    1 As at Week 15 (WE 10 April), England has a comparative high mortality rate, along with several other countries, whilst some countries show no notable excess. There is no clear explanation for the differences as yet – only speculation.

    2. In terms of previous recent years, England and Wales showed no notable excess cumulative mortality until Week 14 (WE 3 April).

    3. Week 14 and Week 15 have both shown a notable rise in mortality, so that the cumulative figure is now above that for 2017, but still below that for the bad ‘flu year of 2018 – when there were no headlines.

    4. Recent concern (not only in the UK) has focused around the surge of deaths in Care Homes, which have contributed significantly to the mortality figures. But one aspect of this has been the concern about factors other than the virus.

    5. How this will pan out is unknown. If the recent rise in mortality continues, it will exceed that of the 2018 ‘flu outbreak, but if the effect has been to kill people who are vulnerable earlier in the year, then the cumulative figure might not be above that reference line.

    6. There is a massive amount of theorising about aspects of this pandemic, a lot of which directly conflicts with governmen.. Particularly, there are a growing number of serious observers who are flagging up the question of the negative effects of the current remedies in operation over a sustained time period.The questions arise both from an medical, epidemiological and political perspectives. There has been, in particular, considerable controversy over the relationship between ‘lockdown’ scenarios and the track of the disease.

    1. Test! Test! Test!……..if you don’t test you don’t know. Is ignorance Bliss?
      Keep the public in the dark in a game of statistics & conjecture entered into by a hard line gov’t & a compliant MSM.

      Test & trace! That means actively identifying those infected & isolating, not indulge in laissez faire politics risking people’s lives.Herd Immunity is a pretext to do nothing as 15K unchecked, untested ‘new arrivals’ daily spread the virus. Death kills people not statistics. Why bother with a lockdown if you don’t isolate; test & trace?

      We need to know everything we can about how this virus spreads, but this gov’t washes its hands. Meanwhile, the virus is left to do its business by killing the elderly & vulnerable; but we already knew it would do that & still ‘DO NOTHING’ is best. The illusion of leadership & efficiently organised government is provided by MSM. Such contempt for people.

      Showing deaths in Care Homes as though from another country is symptomatic of a callous gov’t & MSM. Unable to be part of NHS, the elderly have always been a burden & ‘the outsiders’, not from a different country, but a different planet. Care from ‘Cradle to grave’ be damned!

      1. Many would agree with the idea of more systematic testing, but the idea of comprehensive contact tracing just isn’t practical in a country like this.

        But statistical analysis isn’t ‘a game’ – although people do try to game it with misleading data. What is desperately needed is better sampling by the use of better tests in order to determine rates of infection and immunity.

      2. RH – Why is the idea of comprehensive contact tracing just not practical in a country like this?

      3. Steve – thinking it through :

        1. You have to identify all those infected

        2. Having done that, you have to trace all contacts. In close-knit situations, that may be possible. But imagine trying to trace possible incidental contacts.

        Any testing regime will have to be targeted and selective, and that has been true even in South Korea that has its act together on tests. I believe that even there, the policy is reaching its feasible limits.

        None of that is to dismiss better testing : just the concept that it is a solution.

        … then there is the issue of what measures you have to enact in order to enforce testing.

      4. RH – Those all sound like Tory excuses and I also think you will find that there is already adequate provision to enforce compulsary testing if that was ever required. Although I very much doubt that there are many who would refuse testing.

      5. Leaving aside the testing issue, it would certainly be relatively straightforward to track *significant* contacts, especially given the reduced opportunities to infect a crowd.

        Example: as I haven’t been able to do much more than go to work (key worker), have a walk (where I keep my distance from passers-by), go to the supermarket (time and date from the card payment, CCTV to identify the till) and stay at home, most of the people I’ve spent time within coughing distance can be relatively easy to identify.

        If the pub was still open (and oh, how I wish it was, as I’m working for the first time in a year and finally have money to spend!), or the mighty Tranmere Rovers were still playing, I’d have been able to cough on many people, harder to identify. But with the lockdown in force, it wouldn’t be beyond the wit of man to trace significant contacts.

  12. Care home deaths represented as another country?

    What’s it called? The republic of Darby & Joan?

  13. Test; trace & isolate as they are doing in other countries such as Ireland (not China). People can be trained to do ‘the leg work’ in conjunction with the military within a week. Even simple temperature tests are ignored as more people arrive from Covid 19 hotspots as part of the Tory Herd Immunity plan.

    Do nothing is the ‘cunning plan’, as mobile ‘phone technology will provide the answer, but only (perhaps) for a younger generation. An off the shelf solution to tell us what?

    Test; trace & isolate is the only solution, which has been left too late to make it easy………everything left too late as they sit on their hands.

    1. Steve Richards, while it’s true that test, trace & isolate can’t be as effective near peak as in the earlier stages because of the far greater numbers involved – it should begin now anyway so that experience can be gained, glitches can be ironed out and a system can hopefully be optimised in time to suppress or perhaps even prevent the next peak.
      The effort should have been made in February for the same reasons.

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