Are death rates no higher this year than in a bad flu season?

CLAIM: The death rate in Northern Ireland is no higher in 2020 than in previous years.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. The imprecision of “death rates” and “a bad flu season” makes it difficult to prove or disprove. However, the overall number of deaths registered in the second quarter of 2020 (4,684) is the highest of any second quarter figures recorded in the last ten years. Excess deaths in Northern Ireland have been higher in 2020 than in any of the previous ten years. Continue reading Are death rates no higher this year than in a bad flu season?

Was COVID-19 downgraded from being a high-consequence infectious disease?

CLAIM: The UK Government downgraded COVID-19 from being classified as a high-consequence infectious disease (HCID).

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. COVID-19 was downgraded by the UK Government on 19 March 2020 because it was deemed to be better understood, testing was available, and clinical awareness had risen. Continue reading Was COVID-19 downgraded from being a high-consequence infectious disease?

Is there a greater chance of dying by being hit by a bus than by COVID-19?

CLAIM: There is a greater chance of dying in a bus collision than by COVID-19.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The probability of a randomly selected resident of Great Britain dying from January to October 2020, with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate, was over 3,000 times higher than the average probability of dying as a pedestrian in an accident involving a bus or a coach in the same period. Continue reading Is there a greater chance of dying by being hit by a bus than by COVID-19?

The accuracy of COVID-19 death statistics

In summary:

    • Three sets of figures regarding numbers of deaths attributed to COVID-19 are collated which crucially vary in their timeliness. 
    • We now know that COVID-19 was not the cause of death for one in 10 people who had symptoms of the virus mentioned on their death certificate.
    • Conversely, 90% of people whose death certificate mentions COVID-19 were killed by it.

Continue reading The accuracy of COVID-19 death statistics

What is group screening for COVID-19?

Summary 

Group screening takes samples from multiple people, mixes them together, and tests them as one. People within a group that test positive are individually retested, or an algorithm is used to identify positive individuals.

Pros: Fewer tests to process; more people tested; lower cost; detection of asymptomatic cases.

Cons: It is not efficient when the infection rate is high. Continue reading What is group screening for COVID-19?