I experienced a fairly rare event today – a story on the BBC News web site about Coronavirus in Scotland that was positive, measured and offered sensible perspective.
Mind you it is overwhelmed in terms of page prominence by two headlines that manage to report Cofid-19 deaths in Scotland in two different ways!! This rare article is prominent only in the Edinburgh, Fife & East page.
Headline: “Coronavirus: Edinburgh hospital ‘calm, controlled and ready’”
It reports a consultant stating: ‘there were not the “apocalyptic” scenes that people might be imagining.’ And he says it was important to “keep things in perspective” as
“Many more people have died in recent weeks of heart disease, strokes, dementia and other illnesses than from Covid-19,”
Without wishing to downplay the seriousness of this public health crisis, I was prompted by that last sentence to seek out relevant statistics for perspective. The time series data from the following sources are fascinating (well they are to me!) – data I have never had the need or interest in examining before.
1) Office of National Statistics (ONS): Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales (since 2010)
2) National Records of Scotland (NRS): Weekly data on birth and death registrations in Scotland (since 2004)
Note: in both cases these statistics are for ‘registrations’ which will lag behind day-to- day government/NHS announcements of Cofid-19 fatalities.
(Longstanding followers of the TUSC will recall the host’s analysis of the causes of death listed in a death certificate. I suspect the status accorded Cofid-19 in death certificates will further influence the statistical analysis of the overall impact of the virus in the coming months.)