UnNews:Urgent review ordered for Covid death recording

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17 July 2020

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LONDON, United Kingdom -- Health Secretary Matt Hancock has ordered an urgent review into how daily COVID-19 death figures are calculated, after investigating a “statistical flaw” creating disparity in figures published in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The root cause of the flaw is the inclusion of people that die, or not die, after testing positive for coronavirus, or not testing positive for coronavirus.

Investigators Professor Yoon K. Loke, of the University of East Anglia and Carl Heneghan, professor at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care, found that: “Public Health England (PHE) does not appear to consider how long ago the COVID test result was, or whether the person had been admitted to hospital because of COVID 19, chronic obesity or a sprained wrist. Anyone who has tested COVID positive, but subsequently died of boredom, will be included in the PHE COVID death figures.”

“The results appear to be based on taking the list of infected people, and deciding whether they are dead, might be dead, should be dead or it’s better all around if they were dead,” they wrote.

The experts conclude this is the reason why PHE figures “vary substantially from day to day.” To fix the flaw, they recommend the PHE define community coronavirus-related deaths as “those that die of coronavirus.”

However, Dr Susan Hopkins, incident director for PHE, defended their position: “There has been no WHO-agreed method of counting deaths from COVID, because they are in bed with the Chinese. In England, we count all those that have died who had a positive COVID-19 test, to ensure our data is as grievous as possible.”

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The Government death statistics website acknowledges the issue, stating: “Deaths are counted, where there's an attached lab report, and the weight of evidence leans towards the assumption that the patient is no longer alive.

"This means that not all deaths reported could be described as caused by coronavirus. In fact, many are probably not, and if probably not, then one might argue, definitely not.”

Mr Loke and Mr Heneghan also said in their report that: “In Scotland, a patient who has tested positive, but was successfully treated and discharged from hospital, will be counted as a COVID death if they voted to remain part of the United Kingdom in 2014.

“In Northern Ireland, anyone even using the hospital car park is counted as a coronavirus death, to keep the Brexit border issue alive; and in Wales, everyone who died since records began in 1837 is counted, giving the impression of a sufficiently large population to justify the Welsh Assembly.”