Newspapers state death toll less than a quarter of reality as ONS age-breaks mean top-line numbers massively understate real cost. Media’s claim today would mean nine staff who died tragically up to June last year had come back to life
The so-called ‘mainstream’ media have massively understated the number of teachers and other education staff who have been killed by COVID-19 during the government’s wilful determination to keep schools open in the pandemic.
Media number would mean nine staff who died up to June came back to life
A variety of media reported that 139 education staff have died of the virus – which would mean nine staff coming back to life compared to the death toll of 148 in June last year. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data are split into the bizarre age brackets of 18-64 and over-64 – and the ONS ‘top-line’ data said 139 staff 64 or under have died. This figure allowed the media to claim that education settings carry no higher risk than elsewhere.
But the real number of education staff killed by the virus is at least 570:
2311 Higher education teaching professionals 39 deaths
2312 Further education teaching professionals 48 deaths
2314 Secondary education teaching professionals 148 deaths
2315 Primary and nursery education teaching professionals 85 deaths
2316 Special needs education teaching professionals 14 deaths
2317 Senior professionals of educational establishments 40 deaths
2318 Education advisers and school inspectors 9 deaths
2319 Teaching and other educational professionals n.e.c. 35 deaths
6121 Nursery nurses and assistants 20 deaths
6122 Childminders and related occupations 36 deaths
6123 Playworkers 4 deaths
6125 Teaching assistants 74 death
6126 Educational support assistants 18 deaths
And even without counting the over-64s, 217 have died.
Despite this, the media have continued to claim the lower figure. But TES has published the real figure, quoting the @ToryFibs analysis of the ONS data that revealed the real cost:
The ONS – which was slammed just last week by the UK Statistics Authority for its presentation of data misused by the Tories to claim schools are safe, even before this latest data batch – also claimed today on social media that the death rate among education staff is no worse than the general population. But the National Education Union (NEU) revealed that Department for Education data showed that rates of infection among education staff is between twice as high and seven times as high as in the wider population.
And every time data is poorly or misleadingly presented, the media are all over it to give the Tories a free pass or even – as with this week’s spate of front pages demanding that school reopen – pushing the government into actions that would allow schools again to drive the pandemic up and put teachers and the rest of us in grave and avoidable danger.
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