Government statistics and Lockdown “Cases”

On Thursday 17th September Baroness Dido Harding provided a vital scrap of information : That 50% of the current Covid 19 testing capacity is allocated to NHS Patients, Care Home Staff and Patients, and to NHS Staff. Why, you may wonder is this important? The answer lies in Mr Hancock MP’s dire warnings of “accelerating” Covid.

At first sight, you might wonder whether a simple increase in testing might account for the increase. Closer examination though reveals that whatever the explanation is, it’s not simple, but I’ll work through the numbers. As a form of shorthand, and because the government seems to be promoting the idea, I’ll equate a positive test result as a “case”, whatever that may actually mean. 

On 17th September there were 285,296 tests and 3395 “cases.”  The test numbers vary from day to day, and 288,000 seems to be the current plateau. And, thanks to Baroness Dido Harding, we know that 144,000 tests are prioritised for the NHS. Not too long ago, just prior to 2/9/2020, tests were averaging 183,000 per day, and 1183 “cases”. 

Here I have to make an assumption, that prior to 2/9/2020, the NHS etc got priority in the testing, and were allocated 144,000 tests per day; and that all of these tests ought to have been positive, except for the one in 5000 false positives as stated by the SAGE in reply to a question from Jeremy Hunt. Hence those tests provide 288 (false) positive “cases”. That leaves 39,000 tests in the general public and 895 Positive “cases” (1183 -288). A rate of 2.29%.

So, how many “cases” might be expected from 288,000 tests?

144,000 divided by 5000 = 288

144,000 multiplied by 2.29% = 3305

Total “cases” estimated = 3593

The numbers were taken from and from

I find it hard to believe that Mr Hancock is mistaken in his calculations, but until he provides enough data to explain why this obvious calculation is wrong, I’d suggest he shouln’t be locking down swathes of the country on dubious data. These numbers suggest that far from accelerating, the increase in “cases” ie “Covid” is due to the increase in testing.