France’s Rise in Infections Due to Increased Testing

The rise in infections in France hasn’t been accompanied by any rise in deaths

Yesterday the Government removed France from the “Green List” of countries you can travel to without having to quarantine on return, along with the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba. From 4am on Saturday, anyone returning from France will have to self-isolate for 14 days. The reason? Rising case numbers. There have been an additional 11,633 positive test results in France in the past week, with approximately 600,000 tests being done, the highest number of tests to date. (On July 25th, the French Government introduced free PCR testing without the need to get a prescription from a doctor.) But in every department the percentage of infected people is still below the 50/100,000 threshold that in France would trigger a local lockdown. In addition, there’s been no corresponding rise in hospitalisations or deaths (see above). That suggests the rise in cases is an artefact of increased testing and not due to an increase in the percentage of the population that’s infected.

Also worth bearing in mind that, according to Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson, the standard PCR test is an unreliable diagnostic tool because of false positives. When the number of tests climbs above a certain threshold, the data becomes very noisy. (See this article by the Bulgarian Pathology Association for a robust denunciation of the PCR test.)

And, to add to the overall picture of incoherence, the Government hasn’t removed Gibraltar from the “Green List” even though the number of infected people per 100,000 is higher in Gib than in France.

I wonder what the Government would do if holidaymakers returning from France just refused to self-isolate en masse? There are approximately half a million Britons currently in France. How many random spot checks can the Government realistically do?

Meanwhile, just to make it crystal clear that Boris doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing, he also announced yesterday that the easing of lockdown restrictions that were delayed 10 days ago will now go ahead, with weddings, sporting events and indoor performances being permitted from tomorrow. Although he also announced that the maximum fine for those breaking the rules would increase to £3,200. No but, yeah but…

As I said about Boris in the Telegraph 10 days ago:

When I think of his handling of the coronavirus crisis I picture a child behind the wheel of a racing car. He’s overwhelmed by the data constantly popping up on his dashboard, has no idea what any of it means, so just randomly presses different levers and pedals, spins the wheel as fast as he can, and hopes for the best.

Government Finally Removes Wrong Data From Dashboard

Yesterday I pointed out that the Government’s coronavirus dashboard was still using the old, flawed method of calculating the daily Covid death count. Today it has finally stopped doing that – some 29 days after Carl Heneghan and Yoon Loke pointed out the statistical flaw in the way that PHE compiles the data and 28 days after Matt Hancock announced an “urgent review” of the anomaly. Instead of the wrong data, the dashboard now says the deaths page is being “redeveloped”.