Care home deaths: BBC Scotland reveals its agenda again

BBC Scotland yesterday headlining as yet unconfirmed statistics after making an editorial decision to foreground them. This is not accidental. Consider this list of ways in which BBC Scotland has made different editorial choices from BBC UK or BBC England and sometimes from BBC Wales and Northern Ireland too:

  • Only BBC Scotland places photos of politicians [SNP} beside stories of coronavirus deaths;
  • Only BBC Scotland has headlined over several days a senior figure who has broken the social distancing rules [Where is Ruth Davidson?];
  • BBC England and UK almost never headline the huge infection and death statistics there while BBC Scotland, Wales and N Ireland nearly always do, the figures there;
  • Only BBC Scotland has headlined unreliable reports from one GP [connected to the Labour Party] with dramatic images of home-made protective clothing;
  • Only BBC Scotland has headlined over several days hysterical predictions from another ‘connected’ medic predicting deaths in Scotland on the scale of Italy and Spain;
  • Now, only BBC Scotland is headlining deaths in care homes though comparable reports are being made in the ‘English’ press.

Here’s BBC England and UK yesterday:

Here are some of the media reports in the last 24 hours of care home deaths not being chosen by BBC editorial staff there as they stand with the PM in the ‘Spirit of Dunkirk’:

Independent 10.4.20
Guardian 10.4.20
Business Insider 10.4.20
Daily Mirror 9.4.20

Evidence for all of the claims listed above are in the archives here. Try searching for them if you need to.

7 thoughts on “Care home deaths: BBC Scotland reveals its agenda again

  1. I suspect that the true death toll in care homes will be many times greater than the 1,000 figure being bandied about recently. Though I also suspect that there will be a huge effort put into suppressing the true toll and any investigations into it as “inappropriate at this time”, and “lets focus on beating the virus first (and then forget about the numbers)” in other words brush it under the carpet and hope people forget about it in time.

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  2. I’m not a statistician so cannot vouch for the figure below but it appears that the deaths listed so sarin care home is likely to be the tip of an iceberg.
    Just read that C19 is suspected in half of Scottish care homes (whose total is listed as 36,000 beds. If 10% of clients die that is 1,800. Across England the total of care home beds is approx 400,000… so a similar infection/death rate could produce 20,000 deaths… a sobering thought.

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  3. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes the total number of deaths registered in England and Wales in a week, by age, sex and region. These ONS figures now also show the number of deaths involving COVID-19, based on ANY MENTION of COVID-19 on death certificates.

    Additionally, the ONS has begun to provide weekly figures for deaths registered where COVID-19 was mentioned, by PLACE OF OCCURRENCE (e.g. at home, in hospital, in care home etc), again for England and Wales. (I don’t believe ‘place of occurrence’ data are yet available for Scotland.)

    Importantly, to allow time for registration and processing, the ONS figures are published 11 days after the week being reported ends.

    Source: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/weeklyprovisionalfiguresondeathsregisteredinenglandandwales

    For context: in the week ending 27 March (published by ONS on 7 April) there were:

    11,141 deaths in England and Wales (the average for the same week over the past five years is 10,131)

    1,534 of the deaths were registered as having the underlying cause ‘respiratory disease’ (coding: ICD-10 J00-J99)

    539 of the deaths were registered with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate (ICD-10 U07.1 and U07.2) – noting the similarity in coding, I’m not sure how the 539 figure relates, if at all, to the 1,534 figure immediately above!

    2,489 of all deaths occurred in care homes

    20 of the deaths occurring in care homes had COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate.

    The impact of the lag effect in ONS reporting will prove especially significant for the last statistic.

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    1. Always learning!

      To correct my post above, ICD-10 is the abbreviation for the ‘International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision’. The subsequent codes I noted for deaths due respiratory disease and COVID-19 are therefore distinct – not similar or related as I suggested they might be. Apologies.

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