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.
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:
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:
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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