This item, by Andrew Isherwood, a structural engineer living and working in the north of England, brings into sharp focus one man’s impressions of the BBC’s mis-reporting of the facts about Covid-19. He wrote in submitting the article: ‘I am not a scientist but the direction and decisions being made within government seem at odds to the information that seems to be in the public domain and then not having the information factually represented in the media seems wrong.’
At the present time the BBC News seems to be reinforcing the government’s message, reporting death statistics and infection rates that misrepresent the data, together with the trends of the diseases. As an example, the death rates being quoted are the reported daily deaths, which are not when an individual died. This paints a skewed picture of the actual daily death rate, with the apparent death rate significantly exceeding the actual trend – the date of reported death suggests a pattern of rapidly increasing deaths when the data includes deaths that occurred, in some cases, months in the past. Using the date of recorded death shows a trend that is level and not increasing at the rates experienced in March. – ref NHS link :-
Reference to the work completed by Professor Heneghan at the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, at Oxford University, shows the progression of the virus has resulted in marginal increases in the death rate, since the end the first wave, when compared to recorded respiratory deaths from flu infections over previous years – none of their work has been reported in the mainstream news by the BBC. It’s also worth noting that the current death rate from COVID being less than that of flu deaths in the 1990’s prior to introduction of flu vaccine in 2000.
The data presented in daily BBC bulletins captures the positive COVID test rates as a measure of the progression of the disease. Reference to CEBM’s data suggests that a more representative measure of virus transmission trends should be based upon the specimen test date i.e. recorded date of test, not the reported test date, to attain a better understanding of progression of the virus. This method of reporting takes better account of when the test was taken to manage fluctuation in reporting date.
Reporting the daily reported cases in the current manner is misrepresentative and alarmist, perpetrating an aire of panic in the population – The piece of work completed by CEBM demonstrates, through the use of the available data, that the predicted exponential growth of the infection, defined by the Chief Science Officer, is not being realised, for the ‘second wave’. The specimen recorded rates of infection show a slow increase in infection rates, In lieu of the current data of the reported positive test infection rates.
What has never been reported, is the poor accuracy of the PCR test employed by the government to test for COVID…..with the relatively low concentration of COVID in the population, the nature of the test results in a significant false positive rate, again skewing the actual trends of the disease. Together with the fact that the test can record strains of other coronavirus DNA, dead COVID cells, asymptomatic COVID etc.
The Oxford team have also highlighted the poor accuracy rate of the PCR test, which changed some aspects of the testing approach by government, but the not the fundamental flaws in the accuracy of the test – none of their work has been presented in the mainstream news by the BBC – refer to the CEBM website for details.
It’s apparent that hospital admissions are increasing, but again the information stated in bulletins does not represent the information published on the NHS website. BBC reports currently suggest around 500 hospital admissions in to the NHS but what isn’t being addressed is that there are approx 200 daily discharge of patients ie there is an approx circa 300 net increase. The news reports present the picture that the number of admissions are overwhelming hospitals with new admissions, when the net impact of hospital admissions is around 300, with around 5% patients being treated in the NHS being tested positive for COVID. See link below. Also In a normal winter cycle the NHS expect around a 1000 daily admissions for respiratory illness – Not widely reported but buried in a BBC web article.
The impact of the continued lockdown on the economy, impact on mental health, deaths from treatable and chronic diseases are being massively overlooked when compared to the impact of COVID on a relative small percentage of the population. Daily deaths from cancer and the lack of treatment of these, and chronic patients, whose treatment is not being addressed by the NHS, because of the continued focus on COVID, will far outstrip the deaths from COVID. Again, this impact is not being reported or addressed in a balanced way.
The BBC should be reporting all the facts and bringing balance to the debate. It’s apparent that the continued damaging lockdown approach by the UK Government, based on theIr version of the science, is focused on the worst case infection / death scenario. Comparison of the data from other countries, who we are told we are following closely, shows the impact to be less onerous than the current predicted patterns of the disease mortality predicted by the Government Scientists
Whilst I appreciate the impact of COVID on families across the country and the pain resulting from the losses, it’s important that the decisions made by our government, that are impacting the lives of millions of the population now and for years to come, should be based on a balanced view of the science, which from the attached research from CEBM shows this not to be the case.
The BBC have a duty to present all the facts and information, to promote debate, to challenge the science and subsequent decisions that will have a profound effect on the population, economy and health now, and in the future.