Britain suspends announcement of daily death toll over statistical flaw

by Muizat Hameed

The British government has suspended the announcement of daily death toll over concerns that the deaths might not be totally from coronavirus.

This decision was made by the Department of Health and Social Care after a review of the figures on Friday July 17, 2020..

This was disclosed in a statement published on the government’s website

“The secretary of state has today, 17 July, asked PHE to urgently review their estimation of daily death statistics,” the statement reads

“Currently the daily deaths measure counts all people who have tested positive for coronavirus and since died, with no cut-off between time of testing and date of death,” it adds.

It continued that there had been claims that the lack of cut-off might distort the current daily deaths number.

The suspension of UK-wide statistics is related to observed differences in data reported in England and the other countries of the UK.

Professor Yoon K Loke, of the University of East Anglia, and Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care, noted that a “statistical flaw” in the way Public Health England compiles data on deaths had created a disparity in figures published by the different UK nations.

They wrote that “It seems that PHE regularly looks for people on the NHS database who have ever tested positive, and simply checks to see if they are still alive or not.”

“PHE does not appear to consider how long ago the Covid test result was, nor whether the person has been successfully treated in hospital and discharged to the community,” they added.

They further stated that “Anyone who has tested Covid-positive but subsequently died at a later date of any cause will be included on the PHE Covid death figures.”

The two experts said the issue specifically relates to England because Scotland and Northern Ireland use a 28-day cut-off.

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