Deep dive: COVID-19 related inequalities

Making basic comparisons between the numbers of COVID-19 positive tests or deaths across different geographic regions using raw figures may seem straightforward. But coming to conclusions about the significance of differences is fraught with difficulty, given differences in population structures (particularly age).

This explainer builds on our outline article and looks at the wealth of data and the charts behind recent reports from the Department of Health (DoH) and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Those organisations present a standardised analysis of COVID-19 infections (positive test results), hospital admissions and deaths, to assess the different health outcomes across regions of Northern Ireland, with a particular focus on areas of least and most deprivation. Continue reading Deep dive: COVID-19 related inequalities

COVID-19 and health inequalities in Northern Ireland

This article explains data published by the Department of Health as well as the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, about COVID-19 related health inequalities in Northern Ireland.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information that will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.] Continue reading COVID-19 and health inequalities in Northern Ireland

Are 1 in 4 NI adults ‘now at risk of hunger and malnutrition’?

CLAIM: “One in four NI adults ‘now at risk of hunger and malnutrition’”

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The research behind the News Letter headline was conducted across the UK and the results were not broken down by region, so this UK finding cannot be applied to Northern Ireland without further area-specific evidence.

Continue reading Are 1 in 4 NI adults ‘now at risk of hunger and malnutrition’?

What are shielding letters?

This article explains what the shielding letters are; who should have received them; and who sends them.

[This article is part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project — a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. Its aim is to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which will increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions. FactCheckNI have also produced a live Q&A article on shielding letters. It will be updated as and when new information becomes available – you can find it here.]

Summary

    • A ‘shielding letter’ is to inform those that they should comply with stricter stay at home restrictions in order to protect themselves from COVID-19.
    • GP Practices were provided with a search tool by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to aid them in identifying those patients who were the “clinically extremely vulnerable”. GPs were also asked to use their clinical judgement as to who should receive a shielding letter based on the criteria listed. The guidance issued is advisory for the patient’s health, but the UK government advises that if you choose not to follow these regulations, to speak with your GP before reaching the decision.
    • The Department of Health is working closely with Community Pharmacists and Community Health Development Network to ensure that those who are in need of medicines and are ‘shielding’ can avail of pharmacy deliveries.
    • Guidance on shielding for people at potentially higher risk from COVID-19 is being actively reviewed.

Continue reading What are shielding letters?

Did 62 more people contract COVID-19 in care homes, before dying in hospital?

CLAIM: Of the 353 COVID-19 deaths in hospitals in Northern Ireland, 62 people contracted the virus in a care home and were transferred to a hospital before dying.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The death certificates of 62 people who died in hospital mention COVID-19 and give a normal residence address of a care home. However, there is no data to indicate where or when they contracted COVID-19.
Continue reading Did 62 more people contract COVID-19 in care homes, before dying in hospital?

Was Northern Ireland COVID-19 testing at a rate 10 times Scotland’s?

UPDATE: On 19 May 2020, the following claim was revised by Guido Fawkes. We have published an addendum to our article.

CLAIM: Northern Ireland was testing for COVID-19 at a rate 10 times that of Scotland, reported on 9 May 2020.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. Northern Ireland’s test rate for the day of 8 May 2020 was about three-quarters (80%) that of Scotland.

On 11 May 2020, the blog website Guido Fawkes published an article, “How the four nations compare on Covid”, in which it claimed: “Using data from the regional public health authorities published on May 9, it would seem that Northern Ireland is way ahead of the other regions, it was testing at 10 times the rate of Scotland, which is testing at the lowest rate.”

Continue reading Was Northern Ireland COVID-19 testing at a rate 10 times Scotland’s?