If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I have talked mainly about #Covid19 testing for the last 5 weeks.
Since Covid19 hit the UK, I have been tracking the statistics as best as I can. I do not work for the NHS, and dont have any other skill that people seemed to need, so I decided to help by reverting back to journalism and helping people gain clarity on the current situation. Its been a struggle, but there is not really much else I can do.
I decided as noone else was doing it, and I have a background which includes working in a world of spreadsheets, that I would start tracking the statistics which were released by Government every day. At the start, things were pretty mundane, every day, when the Department of Health released the data, I would get it and input it into my spreadsheet. Sure, I did not believe the stats I was seeing but still, I went and got the information every day, and humbly reported it to my twitter account.
At this point, everything was nice and easy, every day the Department of Health would release the statistics for “total positive cases”, “Deaths” and “people tested”, overwriting whatever data was on the page the previous day! (Wayback Machine is a godsend here!). The image below shows a grab of the published stats, showing the format which the statistics from the 5th April. I have also included the Department of Healths tweet from that day which announces the statistics.
(Government / Department of Health reported the statistics, daily, in this exact way, since the 27th February.)
April 6th – Coronavirus reporting changes
On the 2nd April, Health Minister Matt Hancock announced that he wanted to achieve 100,000 tests for Coronavirus every day.
On the 6th of April, without warning or explanation, the way Government reported and presented the daily Coronavirus statistics changed!
(I have highlighted the key parts).
The misdirection begins
The first thing which I hope anyone reading notices is the change in the wording of the report. Without explanation, the Department of Health pivoted from reporting the amount of “people tested” in one day (without explanation) to the much higher “tests” statistic.
In the first paragraph, we are told that as of 9 am on the 6th April 252958 “tests” have “concluded”, and that 13069 of “tests” carried out.
In the second paragraph, we are told that 208837 people have been tested and that from the 208837 people tested, a total of 51608 have now tested positive for Coronavirus.
This was the first day where the department of health had provided the numbers of positive cases, people tested and deaths for the last 24 hour period.
When compare the people tested statistics from the 5th and 6th of April, the first thing which is apparent is that the 13069 number provided by Government is not correct. When I entered the data into the spreadsheet, it showed that the Department of Health should have reported 13313 people were tested on that day, not 13069.
This was the first day where the department’s statistics for the people tested for Coronavirus, stopped reconciling with the previous day’s figures, and where the apparent deception of the Governments COVID19 testing statistics begun.
Let’s talk about “tests”. As I have mentioned already, on the 6th of April the Department of Health began to report on “tests” in the place of the highly scrutinised “people tested” metric. IN the past, the term “tests” has been used, with “tests” being reported as far back as the 20th March.
March 20th Department of Health tweet and report from Government website.
At this point, my assumption was that the term “tests” was a case of a different member of staff composing the tweet without any real guidance on how it should be worded.
If we look historically at the daily COVID19 stats tweets from the Department of Health (which started on the 25th January), we can observe that the wording of the tweets had in fact changed many times although with no consistency.
What is important here is that we can observe the consistency use of the “people tested” statistic whether it was described as “tests”, “been tested”, “tests done” or “people tested”, it was always used to represent the number of people who had been tested in the last 24 hour period.
From this, we can see that on the 20th of March, the UK had tested 66976 people, which represented the number of people tested and can demonstrate that “tests” was historically used by the Department of Health to report the amounts of “people tested”.
It was not until the 6th of April where we were presented with a second statistics with the name “tests”. Below we have a screengrab of the most recent statistics tweet from the Department of Health (22nd April). We can see how by this point and with no explanation, the “tests” statistic which until the 6th of April (when used) was always identical to the “people tested” statistic, has inexplicably ballooned to 559935 “tests” concluded, while at the same time, confusingly reporting that a much lower number has actually been tested.
Over the weeks since the Department of Health introduced “tests” as its own statistic, Matt Hancock, Government and its many ‘PR Gurus’ have done their best to brief the British public broadcasters on the higher test numbers, doing their best to conflate the daily amount of “people tested” with the amplified test statistic, a tactic which can be observed in all the tweets which have been composed by the Department of Health on this issue since the 6th April. In short, when Government talk about people tested every day, they will tell us the number of people tested, and then present this alongside the unrelated “tests” number, in what can only be described as a deliberate conflation of 2 unrelated statistics.
In conclusion on the topic of “tests” and what it might mean, Government / Department of Health has never given any explanation or clarification on this. ABZ Media has contacted the Department of Health directly multiple times over the last few weeks but as of yet have been given no explanation, or been a reply.
The closest thing to an explanation as to what “tests” actually means, came to me from a twitter user, with the assertion that “tests” in fact refers to the same person being tested multiple times. I gave this proposition a lot of thought but the more I thought, the more the logic of the claim fell apart as this would mean that there were people who were being tested multiple times for COVID19 in the same 24 hour period, which is a stretch.
At the moment, the UK Governments advice on receiving test results is that they take 2 days or more, only yesterday the Daily Express website wrote “Test results could return within the same working day, but the government’s goal is to have them back in one to two days.” and that “People have allegedly waited double the expected amount of time” , with growing concerns over how long these tests can take, with people reporting waiting more than 4 days to receive results, so the logic that anyone would be tested multiple time in the same day, verges on impossibility.
So, exactly what does “tests” refer to? People tested? The amount of tests Government have bought, or does this simply refer to the testing capacity.
Dominic Raab – Mistakes were made
On the 22nd of April, Dominic Raab was in charge of the daily Downing Street briefing.
It was here where we got some solid evidence of the conflation in action, with good old Dominic slipping up and physically demonstrating the behaviour I have spoken extensively about.
Oh, Dominic! You read the wrong stat!
Here is some cast-iron evidence that proves what I have been saying about the misleading amplification of test stats.
— Stevie Smith#ABZ 🎥📱📺 (Media guy) (@StevieCABZ) April 22, 2020
As we can hear in the video, deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab very clearly states that “559935 people have now been tested for the virus” and of that number “4495* had tested positive”.
This statement, whether deliberate or a slip of the tongue, is extremely misleading. The claim that 559935 people have been tested for Coronavirus, as we can confirm by looking at the statistics released by the Department of Health. The statistics released by the Department of Health clearly state that 411192 people have been tested for Coronavirus.
It would be fine if these instances were a one-off, accidental conflation of the statistics, but as we can see from the evidence presented in this page, this is not a one-off occurrence and the Department of Health have in fact been seeking to conflate the “tests” stat, with the “people tested” statistic with the sole intention of artificially boosting the numbers of people being tested for Coronavirus in the UK!
In closing, the British news media world seems to be catching on to what is happening with the Testing statistics. Government ministers this morning (Brandon Lewis) attempted to frame stats as reporting the capacity as opposed to the actual amount of people who are being tested for Coronaviru! This is just one part of a much larger project of deception which seems to be run by the Department of Health, with every stat produced and released by the Department coming with a caveat…
On Death reporting – We only count the hospital Deaths, on reporting how many people have Coronavirus in the UK – we just dont test and to make it look like the UK Government is doing more COVID19 testing than before, the department just rigs the numbers!
Its no wonder Kier Starmer couldn’t get his facts right for his first-ever Prime Ministers Question time question.