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?

Pregnancies and abortion in Northern Ireland

In 2019, available figures estimate that 4.4% of pregnancies of Northern Ireland residents ended in abortion. This compares to an estimated 24% of pregnancies in England and Wales in 2018 ending in abortion. Globally, an estimated average of 29% of pregnancies from 2015–2019 ended in abortion. This explainer article examines the accuracy and completeness of these figures, particularly for Northern Ireland. Continue reading Pregnancies and abortion in Northern Ireland

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?

Is the PSNI rolling out a Snapchat scheme to monitor social mitigation compliance?

CLAIM: The PSNI are to pilot a Snapchat social media platform initiative to monitor social mitigation compliance in Northern Ireland.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The PSNI have no plans to introduce any monitoring scheme on any social media platform. Complaints about social mitigation compliance can be registered on the PSNI website. Continue reading Is the PSNI rolling out a Snapchat scheme to monitor social mitigation compliance?

Are Northern Ireland retailers covering up non-essential items from sale?

CLAIM: Social media posts are circulating showing supermarket shelves that have been covered over or taped off to prevent customers purchasing certain items. Reference is made to this happening in Belfast and Northern Ireland.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. At the time of writing, Wales is the only part of the UK that has restricted the sale of non-essential items in supermarkets. There is no indication that this model of restriction will be introduced in Northern Ireland. Continue reading Are Northern Ireland retailers covering up non-essential items from sale?