Coronavirus scare-mongering from the Herald

In an admittedly courageous attempt to read academic research, the Herald tries to panic its citizens with the suggestion that ‘Glasgow has been placed next to Manchester and London as one of the cities tentatively predicted to be at risk for COVID-19 in the coming weeks.’ Here’s the data they base the claim on:

This is the kind of narrow research some researchers love to do and, of course, which journalists and politicians in pursuit of simple explanations, leap on.

It’s guff.

Leaving aside the fact that Glasgow is not placed ‘next’ to London and Manchester but is, in fact, 7 places behind them in terms of its match with Milan, and not much like Wuhan at all, this ‘research’ fails to take account of critical factors such as the quality and universality of health service provision. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, I feel sure, performs at a level way beyond many of the others in this list.

Also, NHSGGC does have 57 cases out of the total of 227, or 25% of the total, but its catchment population of 1.2 million is 22% of the total Scottish population, so pretty average?

Here are some reminders as to why hospitals in and around London will be unable to prevent that city becoming the kind of coronavirus hub the researchers predict long before Glasgow ever does:

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BBC England accused of pro-Tory bias as infected patients not segregated from other patients by untrained Essex hospital staff!

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Damning report into ‘unsafe’ English hospital where A&E target is missed by nearly 40% ignored by BBC

6 thoughts on “Coronavirus scare-mongering from the Herald

  1. Very in depth and technical explanation of shit journalism “guff” I never knew you were aware of such in depth technical terminology prof. Brilliant piece showing that rag “the bog roll Herald: for what it is, sub standard shit roll that no one wants to bulk buy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Why, why did I allow my curiosity to read this scientific paper? (Message to self – get a hobby!)

    The authors of the paper work hard to keep your interest: “Using weather modeling, it may be possible to predict the regions most likely to be at higher risk of significant community spread of COVID-19 in the upcoming weeks, allowing for concentration of public health efforts on surveillance and containment.”

    I guess journalists at The Herald, so used to the benefits of ‘click bait’, were drawn in easily and couldn’t resist!

    But the authors do eventually get to the essence of things:

    “The above factors, climate variables not considered or analyzed (cloud cover, maximum temperature, etc.), human factors not considered or analyzed (impact of public health interventions, concentrated outbreaks like cruise ships, travel, etc.), viral factors not considered or analyzed (mutation rate, pathogenesis, etc.), mean that although the current correlations with latitude, temperature, and humidity seem strong, a direct causation has not been proven and predictions in the near term have to be considered with extreme caution.”

    Did someone miss something significant?

    Liked by 2 people

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