Dundee is NOT the 4th most infected area in the UK because English authorities are not counting all the test results

As Leicester locks down again, you look at that table and think:

Where’s Leicester?

Wait, Dundee is 4th?

Wales is more infected than England?

WalesOnline has done a thorough job on these figures, for obvious reasons:

Throughout the outbreak it has never made sense because, as terrible a loss of life as they have seen, none of those councils have had the most deaths of people with Covid-19 in the UK as shown in the ONS weekly stats. In recent days, it has not made sense that local authorities in Wales appear to have had the biggest rise in coronavirus cases while England has been locking down Leicester again.

Yet an investigation by the Financial Times has revealed this is largely because England has been publishing the wrong data. Its reporters have shown that the figures being published for the English council areas “contain only a fraction of the real total in those areas“. England is only including the results of one type of test in the data it is publishing for local authorities – the number of positive tests recorded in hospitals.

In https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/coronavirus-wrexham-cases-spike-north-18513005.amp?__twitter_impression=true

Dundee does not get a mention but the arguments are the same.

14 thoughts on “Dundee is NOT the 4th most infected area in the UK because English authorities are not counting all the test results”

  1. I’m not surprised that WalesOnline has investigated, if you look closely 8 out of the 10 are Welsh and the other 2 Scottish. I don’t know who published/produced the table but surely whoever it was must have thought ‘Hold on a minute …. this doesn’t seem right. I need to investigate’.

    Along with yesterday’s GMB and Medicines stories it smacks of either lazy journalism (just regurgitating what they are fed) or ‘evidence’ of a conspiracy theory of English exceptionalism and/or devolution bad.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If you check the TravellingTabby Coronavirus site, you will find that Dundee has had high testing rates from square 1.

    If you check back you will find that the first recorded infection in Scotland was in the Tayside Health Trust which includes Dundee. That was an individual who had been on a ski trip in Italy. Also there is a lab right in Dundee on Cleppington Road which I would suggest assists them in achieving high rates of testing.

    I would suggest that their rate of infection is more in keeping with reality. I also would not be surprised to find that Scotgov is ensuring that rate is kept up for scientific research purposes – i.e. to get a handle on how much infection is really out there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Reality is England as hiding the scale of their infections. Herd immunity was and still is their policy. But look there’s a bar open, mentality of the English sats it all about them.


  3. One of the reasons, perhaps the main reason, the English results are so low is that they do not contain the so-called ‘pillar 2’ results. The pillar 2 tests are carried out by commercial labs and labs such as the Lighthouse labs set up by the UK Gov. These labs test the samples taken at drive thru centres and samples taken by people at home.

    The labs have not been passing the results to the relevant local authorities such as Leicester until recently. The situation is similar in Scotland where results of tests done in the Lighthouse lab were not being passed on. That changed on 15th June and now the Scottish authorities get the results.

    This situation, non-communication between NHS and non-NHS labs was highlighted some weeks ago by the President of the Institute of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences.

    If Leicester had been getting all of the results in real time then they would have seen the beginnings of the rise in numbers and acted sooner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Pillar Two tests were not being reported..


      “NEW testing data reveals York has had almost TWICE as many positive coronavirus cases as previously reported.

      Public Health England only publishes test results from swab tests in labs, tests in NHS hospitals and health and care worker test results – known as Pillar 1 data.

      But tests performed at Poppleton Bar Park&Ride – and other swab tests on the general population – also known as Pillar 2 test results, are NOT included in the published data.

      City of York Council has now revealed that as of June 27 there were 424 positive coronavirus tests confirmed through the Pillar 2 testing programme.

      It means the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in York is nearly DOUBLE the figure published by Public Health England.”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The Independent has a story on it.


    “They [three national leaders in pathology] said privatised labs were often taking 72 hours from the time they received tests to determine a result – by which point the results were of no use for wider strategy or policy. By contrast, they said local labs could give results in six hours from the point the test is taken. Our investigation also found that:

    Rather than being able to identify and contain outbreaks using test information, local public health directors say they have been “sidelined” with access only to minimal aggregate data until the start of this month, by which point the UK death toll stood at more than 42,000;
    A legal challenge claims that more than 1,000 tests a week from the labs are false negatives because of issues with the system’s accuracy;
    Experts including Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel laureate and director of the Francis Crick Institute in London, have branded the decision to commission the laboratories – funnelling millions to private companies – a tactical mistake that was made too late, without consultation and remains shrouded in mystery;
    NHS staff have reported waiting for as long as seven days for test results;
    Staff working in labs believe standards varied hugely between sites, with significant proportions of some batches of tests discarded;
    With a feared second wave of Covid-19 possibly months away, patient-level test results are still not being passed to local health officials. ”

    There is a BBC report by Lisa Summers on Scotland’s Lighthouse lab in Glasgow University.


    “The lab has only been open for two days and head scientist Dr Stuart McElroy says they have the capacity of “many hundreds” tests a day.

    The aim is to expand that to “many thousands” over the next few weeks.

    Dr McElroy says being part of the network of superlabs allows the teams to create standard processes and quality control as well as learning from each other. They can also distribute samples efficiently across the three sites.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Was it not the case that 50,000 test samples were flown to America for testing because of problems in those labs?


      NHS labs have to go through a very strict process to gain accreditation – yearly inspections with full inspections every 3 years and possible unannounced inspections.. Without that they cannot do any NHS related work.

      Nothing remotely like that is in place for these commercial/Lighthouse labs.


      1. Yes. Here is the link to the BBC report.


        “The Department of Health said sending swabs abroad is among the contingencies to deal with “teething problems”.

        The samples were airlifted to the US in chartered flights from Stansted Airport, the Sunday Telegraph said.

        Results will be validated in the UK and sent to patients as soon as possible.”


  5. Contracts for those likely to support them and the means of suppressing data. What’s not to like, Mad Hat Mancock?


  6. Manchester.


    “Public health officials have finally received crucial local testing figures from government after nearly two months of pleading – and they reveal the number of cases here in the past week has been as six times higher than their own data suggested.

    Since the start of May officials here have been begging government to release ‘pillar two’ testing data, the results of swabs carried out at drive-through stations and other facilities operated here by the private sector on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.

    Without it, they only had access to ‘pillar one’ test numbers, those carried out directly by Greater Manchester councils and hospitals and processed in Public Health England labs.

    That had left public health directors flying blind, unable to accurately gauge the virus’s spread in the community.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tories fudging the figures to make themselves look good who’d have thunk it?
    Oh……. wait…… Everyone!! 🤬🤬


  8. They don’t suppress the data entirely. ONS publishes it but not at Council level so GPs, Council leaders and public health officials have no idea what is going on at local level.


  9. Brenda Steele’s conclusion is correct, Tayside Health (trust me it’s not a Trust) went above and beyond on testing across all Scotland as well as the UK. This fed into SG’s analysis, no smudging of figures or “it’s in the post” etc nonsense, simply building on the honest hard graft of Regional employees determination to do the work.

    Yet instead of being rightfully applauded for what they’ve achieved by such exemplary performance, it is used in yet another “oranges and pears” comparative by politicians of southerly persuasion in a crass exercise of covering their previous cooking of the books.

    There is no earthly reason Dundee was more susceptible than other cities to this pandemic, NONE.
    Yet that is where your “England has been publishing the wrong data” is simultaneously right and wrong. There is no political interference in the method of collecting data for this pandemic in Scotland, but that is very evident for England as Leicester falls and others will surely follow. It is not the publication which is wrong but the political interference.

    If the Dundee figures tell us anything, it is the extent to which UK infection levels are grossly understated. Leicester is but the start of the lie unravelling across all England, and it will be beyond being “spun”
    As before, the public in England have been comprehensively lied to as cover what is happening in Scotland, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the the train to which it is attached is not stopping…
    Hell mend them…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is from the UK government website. Has new, or rather old, data just been unearthed?


    1 July notes
    To ensure consistent reporting across all pillars we have paused reporting the number of people tested due to an issue with the data for pillar 2. There are a small percentage of cases in pillar 2 where a person has been tested more than once or tested positive for coronavirus more than once. Any incorrect figures identified will be corrected.

    The total number of tests has been revised since yesterday’s total after the following changes to the historical data:

    23 tests removed from the pillar 1 cumulative total
    229 tests added to the pillar 2 cumulative total
    73 tests added to the pillar 3 cumulative total
    8,743 tests added to the pillar 4 cumulative total
    The daily tests reported today have been added to this revised total rather than the total reported yesterday, so the cumulative total today is 2,022 higher than if you added the daily tests to yesterday’s total.

    For pillar 2, the cumulative number of in-person tests today is 114 lower than if you added the daily tests to yesterday’s total, and the cumulative number of delivery route tests is 343 higher.

    Pillar 1 Pillar 2 Pillar 3 Pillar 4 Total
    People tested 22,572 Unavailable – – Unavailable
    Tests 47,474 146,624 26,622 5,678 226,398
    Positive 214 615 – – 829

    Pillar 1 Pillar 2 Pillar 3 Pillar 4 Total
    People tested 1,896,609 Unavailable – – Unavailable
    Tests 2,897,765 4,961,632 1,036,898 765,756 9,662,051
    Positive 197,246 116,237 – – 313,483

    Pillar 2 breakdown of test types
    In-person (tests processed) Delivery (tests sent out) Total tests
    Daily 46,381 100,243 146,624
    Cumulative 2,101,149 2,860,483 4,961,632


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