From stewartb:

In a BBC News online article published on 12 May with the ‘Reality Check’ label we learn this:

“From the end of April, the government started including care homes in its daily death statistics, but there could be SLIGHT UNDER-REPORTING in these numbers, as they only include deaths where someone tested positive for coronavirus.” (my emphasis)


It had an embedded link from the phrase ‘but there could be SLIGHT under-reporting’ taking the reader to a Public Health England (PHE) report published on 29 April.


Curious, I visited the linked source – searched for ‘slight’, searched for ‘under-reported’ and variants, and had a quick scan of the text. Candidly, I find it hard to see the justification for the BBC’s use of the term ‘SLIGHT’! However I did find this in the PHE report’s Q&A which hardly backs up the BBC’s contention::

“5. Does this represent everyone in the country who has died from COVID-19?

This dataset includes all deaths in people who had a positive COVID-19 test in Public Health and NHS laboratories in England. Combining deaths from multiple sources reduces the risk of underreporting compared to the current data series.

However, this data series does not include deaths in people who had suspected COVID-19 but were never tested, for example those linked to an outbreak or had COVID-19 symptoms at the time of death. These deaths will be identified over time through ONS death registrations.”

If I had the energy and motivation – BBC ‘fails’ are becoming just so boring – I’d read the document and if appropriate formally complain. But to what purpose? Prior experience tells me not to bother – but don’t let me put others off!!!