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?

Can a medicinal tea ‘help with’ COVID-19?

CLAIM: Online articles continue to circulate with claims of the curing properties of tea. Basile ‘G-Star’ Sery told a newspaper reporter that “Coronavirus is mucus blocking the oxygen supply and [his] tea can flush out the mucus” and “help with coronavirus”.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. There is no evidence of tea curing or alleviating the symptoms of COVID-19. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, there are no medicines that have yet been shown to prevent or cure COVID-19.  Continue reading Can a medicinal tea ‘help with’ COVID-19?

What is Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery plan?

This explainer article details the Northern Ireland Executive’s COVID-19 recovery plan. Last changed on Thursday 15 October 2020, this article is no longer being updated. Please refer to the NI Direct website for information about the latest restrictions.

[This article was originally part of the COVID-19 Information Dissemination (COVID-19 ID) Project—a partnership between Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and FactCheckNI. The project’s aim was to improve people’s health literacy about COVID-19 by providing accurate and up-to-date information which would increase knowledge, understanding and confidence and enable people to make good health decisions.]

What is the Northern Ireland circuit breaker?

On 14 October 2020, The Executive Office published an update to the list of regulatory (enforceable) measures as well as additional health guidance.

For a period of four weeks, starting at 6pm on Friday 16 October, the following will be in effect:

    • Support bubbles are limited to 10 people from two households
    • No overnight stays in a private home unless in a bubble
    • Hospitality sector to close (except for takeaway/delivery)
    • Fast food to close nightly at 11pm
    • No sale of alcohol (in off-licences and supermarkets) after 8pm
    • Retail remains open with emphasis on mitigations
    • No mass events involving more than 15 people
    • No close-contact services, including hairdressers and beauticians (health needs excluded)
    • No indoor sport; no organised outdoor sport involving mixing of households (exception for elite athletes)
    • Gyms open for individual training only
    • Churches remain open (face masks mandatory on entering/leaving)
    • Funerals limited to 25 people with no gatherings before or afterwards
    • Weddings limited to 25 people (from Monday 19 October)
    • Advised not to travel unnecessarily
    • Advised to work from home
    • Universities and further education advised to deliver distance learning as much as possible

In addition, the school half term holiday will be extended, beginning on Monday 19 October and reopening on Monday 2 November.

Continue reading What is Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 recovery plan?

Can you generate a positive result for COVID-19 from an RT-PCR test?

CLAIMS:

    1. A high number of amplification cycles used in an RT-PCR test will lead to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19
    2. Kary Mullis, inventor of the PCR technique, said that the RT-PCR “can not be used to diagnose infectious diseases at all”
    3. Kary Mullis was opposed to RT-PCR testing being used to test for COVID-19 before his death

CONCLUSION: All of these claims are INACCURATE. Continue reading Can you generate a positive result for COVID-19 from an RT-PCR test?

Is there 90% compliance with wearing face coverings in retail settings in Northern Ireland?

CLAIM: At a Northern Ireland Policing Board meeting, the PSNI’s Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said that there was 90% compliance with people wearing face coverings in retail settings.

CONCLUSION: UNSUBSTANTIATED. Constable Alan Todd has clarified that this figure was an estimate.

Continue reading Is there 90% compliance with wearing face coverings in retail settings in Northern Ireland?